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Texas completes the top four with Liberty ahead of SMU and Tulane

Entering championship weekend, the top eight teams in the College Football Playoff standings consisted of four undefeated teams and four with just one loss. Three of those one-loss teams fell to one of the other teams in the top eight. This is a very tight group of teams.

So when No. 8 beats No. 1, it’s less of a surprise than such an event might normally be. Alabama provided the only surprise of Championship Week among the top teams by beating Georgia, but that maybe it’s still not enough for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Remember, these rankings don’t work like a traditional 25 poll where, as long as a team keeps winning, they’re unlikely to be overtaken. Each set of CFP rankings is launched after its announcement, with teams re-evaluated from scratch each week.

Before we get into the predicted rankings themselves, here’s a refresher listing some of the key points committee members consider when deciding a team’s ranking beyond their on-field record:

  • Strength of schedule
  • Conference Championships (once decided)
  • Face-to-face
  • Results against common opponents
  • Results against ranked opponents

Fortunately, the committee’s definition of “ranked opponents” is different than what you’re used to seeing. The rankings they use are the CFP rankings from the previous week. They do not take into account the ranking of teams in the CFP, AP Top 25, etc. when matches are played. Using game time rankings is the most useless way to determine “ranked opponents”; in fact, the committee specifically prohibits the use of any poll with a starting point before the preseason.

Note that “game control” is not among the criteria. This was never considered despite the term (or similar concepts) coming out of the mouths of past committee chairs. (The CFP has no way of measuring “control of play” — I’ve seen the data the committee uses — but let’s not be under any illusions: they’re talking about it.) And really, it doesn’t matter how you achieve the goal. win while you can?

With all of that in mind, here’s what I think the CFP rankings will look like on Sunday. Remember: this is not necessarily how I would vote if I were on the committee. I’m just predicting what they’ll do on Selection Sunday.

Check Jerry Palm bowl projections before selection Sunday.

College Football Playoff Rankings Prediction

Check Jerry Palm bowl projections before selection Sunday.

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