Should Tennessee be No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings?

Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Volunteers. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Volunteers. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) /

The No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers had a dominant victory over the No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats. But did they do enough to take the No. 1 ranking?

Week 9 of the season was an important one for the top teams in the nation. Why is that? Well on Tuesday, Nov. 1, the College Football Playoff committee unveils its very first rankings for the season. That means all of the top-ranked teams entering Week 9 had a chance to make a statement to show they are worthy of the illustrious No. 1 ranking.

The Tennessee Volunteers have been the story of the 2022 season, as they have cruised to an undefeated season. They picked up their eighth win of the season on Saturday by handily defeating the No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats 44-6.

Hendon Hooker, one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, had an unreal performance, throwing for 245 yards and three touchdowns.

Not to mention that they forced Kentucky quarterback Will Levis to throw three interceptions in the game.

But was this performance enough to earn the No. 1 spot in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season?

Should Tennessee be No. 1 on the College Football Playoff rankings?

Tennessee was the third-ranked team entering Week 9, so let’s take a look at how the two teams ranked ahead of them performed.

The Georgia Bulldogs, the defending CFP national champions. They actually held a 28-3 lead over the Florida Gators at halftime, but watched as quarterback Anthony Richardson, running back Trevor Etienne, and kicker Adam Mihalek cut their lead to 28-20. However, the Bulldogs pulled away on touchdown runs by Daijun Edwards and Kenny McIntosh to get the 42-20 victory.

Then, there was Ohio State. The Buckeyes opened up the Saturday slate of games by visiting the No. 13 Penn State Nittany Lions. It was far from a perfect game for Ohio State, as they actually trailed 14-13 at halftime. The Buckeyes took a 16-14 lead late in the third quarter, then never looked back. They were relentless in the fourth quarter, scoring four touchdowns, and picked up the 44-31 win.

When looking at the schedules, Georgia faced off against one ranked team this season, and that was the Oregon Ducks in the first week of the season. Georgia won that game 49-3. Ohio State had two wins against ranked opponents, Penn State this week, and Notre Dame in the opening week.

Tennessee had five wins over ranked opponents. They are as followed:

  • at No. 17 Pittsburgh on Sept. 10
  • vs. No. 20 Florida on Sept. 24
  • at No. 25 LSU on Oct. 8
  • vs. No. 3 Alabama on Oct. 15
  • vs. No. 19 Kentucky on Oct. 29

There is a legitimate debate for Tennessee to be ranked as the top team in the first CFP rankings. Will the committee actually make the move? That remains to be seen.

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