CFB Playoff: Where Alabama Football and other top teams should be ranked

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The first reveal of the 2023 CFB Playoff Rankings will be released on Tuesday night. Now that week nine games are complete, I offer for consideration how the top 10 teams should be ranked on Halloween Night.

There is an argument that in the first ranking being ranked below the top 10 leaves teams with a most difficult challenge to move up. CFB Playoff history mostly confirms the claim. Only two teams ranked lower than No. 9 in the first Selection Committee ranking have made the final four. They were Oklahoma at No. 15 in 2015 and Ohio State at No. 16 in 2014. Ohio State fans will quickly remind everyone that the Buckeyes became the 2014 National Champion.

Every team seeks a high early ranking, but 15 teams ranked in past first rankings, top four spots have failed to make the CFB Playoff.

So college football fans looking for clarity on Tuesday night have false hopes. That is even more true this season when even undefeated teams have looked vulnerable against weaker opposition.

What should be the first CFB Playoff Top 10

In the rankings below, no attempt was made to mirror what the Selection Committee will do. Instead, it is an attempt to rank the ten most worthy, potential CFB Playoff teams, through week nine of the season. Also, no attention was given to where teams are ranked in major polls.

Undefeated teams are given an advantage and are placed in the top five teams. Also included is each ranked team’s best win. No best wins are listed for teams whose wins are over teams with more than two losses.

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) after beating Wisconsin on Saturday 24-10. Through week eight the Buckeyes were No. 1 in Strength of Record (SOR) as calculated by ESPN. Ohio State’s best win was 20-12 versus Penn State.
  2. Washington Huskies (8-0) after beating Stanford Saturday night 42-33. Going into week nine the Huskies had an SOR of No. 4. Washington’s best win was 36-33 over the Oregon Ducks.
  3. Florida State Seminoles (8-0) after beating Wake Forest on Saturday. FSU had a No. 2 SRO before Saturday and their best win came against LSU, 45-24.
  4. Michigan Wolverines (8-0) after an open date on Saturday. Per ESPN, the Michigan SOR was No. 9 through week eight. Michigan’s best win is over 6-2 Rutgers.
  5. Georgia Bulldogs (8-0) after beating Florida on Saturday, 43-20. After week eight the SOR for Georgia was No. 8. The Bulldogs do not have a qualifying best win, only wins over three-loss teams, Florida and Kentucky.
  6. Texas Longhorns (7-1) after beating BYU 35-6 without starting quarterback Quinn Ewers. The Texas SOR was No. 6 and easily the best Texas win was their week two, 34-24 victory over Alabama.
  7. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1) after an open date in week nine. After week eight the SOR for the Tide was No. 5. The best Crimson Tide win has been over one-loss Ole Miss, 24-10.
  8. Oregon Ducks (7-1) after blowing out Utah on Saturday 35-6. The SOR for the Ducks was No. 16 before the win. The Utah victory is Oregon’s best win.
  9. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) after a 38-33 loss to Kansas on Saturday. The Oklahoma SOR was No. 2. The Sooners’ best win has been over Texas. For perspective, Kansas lost to Texas 40-14.
  10. Ole Miss Rebels (7-1) after a 33-7 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Ole Miss had a No. 7 SOR which will not be made better by beating the Commodores. The best Ole Miss win was 55-49 over LSU.

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For the record, do I think the four teams ranked above Georgia are better than the Bulldogs? I do not. But so far, Georgia does not have a resume to be ranked higher.