The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released this week on Tuesday, Oct. 31, making the AP Top 25 irrelevant as we start to really get a picture of the postseason. No longer is it the AP voters that will determine the rankings but, rather, the CFP Selection Committee that will determine the Top 25 CFP rankings.
In past years, we have seen some deviation from where the AP poll has been when the College Football Playoff rankings come out. That’s likely to happen again, though we don’t totally know what that will entail. But it only makes sense that we’d get a bit of chaos on Saturday in Week 9 among Top 25 teams to make things even more difficult.
Oklahoma lost its first game of the season on the road at Kansas on Saturday in stunning fashion, but not nearly as stunning as North Carolina falling again to a sub-.500 team in Georgia Tech. We also saw Ohio State, Penn State, USC and many others struggle or get scared by relatively poor teams as well.
So what does this all mean for the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday? Let’s find out as we project the Top 25 that the committee will unveil on Halloween.
Projected Top 25 College Football Playoff rankings after Week 9: No. 25-21
25. USC Trojans
It feels dirty to think that the USC Trojans could still be a Top 25 team in the first CFP rankings after they nearly lost to a lowly Cal team on Saturday. But the committee will give the offense enough respect for that to happen, which is also largely due to a lack of other quality candidates. Given that USC has Washington and Oregon on deck, though, this ranking will be short-lived.
24. Kansas Jayhawks
We’re giving Kansas their due here after the upset victory over Oklahoma. With the likes of Duke and North Carolina likely not getting into the Top 25 CFP rankings given recent results, that makes way for a Jayhawks team with an impressive win over a Top 10 team to crack into the rankings. This team is flawed, but Lance Leipold has them playing smart and hard, which makes them dangerous, especially in a wide-open Big 12 race.
23. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Because of how odd the start of the year was for Mike Gundy’s team, you might not realize how well Oklahoma State has been playing of late (and that they are alive to play for the Big 12 title). Here they are, though, submitting their latest performance with a dominant 45-13 win over Cincinnati. The Pokes have beaten Kansas State, Kansas, West Virginia and now the Bearcats in their last four games and appear to be trending way up.
22. James Madison Dukes
When James Madison cracked the Top 25 last year, they immediately lost three straight games. The Dukes avoided that, but it was an uninspiring effort against Old Dominion as JMU’s vaunted defense let a lackluster Monarchs offense put up 27 points on them. A win is a win and Curt Cignetti’s team got the win to remain undefeated. But JMU definitely news to tighten up if they want to keep that up.
21. UCLA Bruins
It might only read as a 12-point victory on the scoreboard, but if not for some sloppy offense in the first half from the Bruins, it would’ve been much more heavily in favor of Chip Kelly’s team against Colorado. UCLA completely dominated the action and made life hell for Shedeur Sanders. It was in impressive defensive effort that should earn the Bruins a Top 25 ranking.