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College Football Playoff Rankings: Stage set for crucial weekend matchup

The first version of the College Football Playoff rankings have been revealed on Tuesday, setting the stage for what needs to be an thrilling again half of the 2022-23 season.

Tennessee, which boasts a win over Alabama this season, got here in at No. 1, adopted by Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson within the prime 4. Undefeated Michigan got here in simply outdoors a playoff spot at No. 5, adopted by Alabama, TCU and Oregon.

Tennessee is No. 1 within the CFP rankings for the primary time. Only one group that has been No. 1 within the committee’s preliminary rankings has not made the playoff, however solely about half the groups within the first prime 4 managed to complete there.

As is commonly the case, that is the time of yr through which the 2 greatest groups within the Southeastern Conference have been touted as among the many 4 greatest groups within the sport. 

But it has a brand new wrinkle this season, as a result of these two SEC groups — No. 1 Tennessee and No. 3 Georgia — each come from the SEC East, a primary for the reason that inception of the College Football Playoff in 2014. 

It additionally implies that the Vols’ recreation towards Georgia on Saturday will act as a de facto play-in recreation for the CFP semis as a result of any person’s “O” has obtained to go. That contest can be watched intently by different contenders hoping to reap the benefits of the state of affairs, notably undefeated groups simply outdoors the highest 4 like No. 5 Michigan and No. 7 TCU. 

Tennessee actually has carried out its half with the very best résumé within the sport — 5 AP-ranked wins and the very best win of the season thus far, a overcome beforehand undefeated Alabama for the primary time for the reason that invention of the iPhone.

The 2022 Volunteers are additionally conserving tempo with the very best offense of the final 20 years to win a nationwide title — 2019 LSU.

Tennessee each scores extra factors (49.4 to 48.4) and permits fewer factors (21 to 21.9) than that LSU squad, whereas gaining extra yards per play (7.9 to 7.4).

But the Vols haven’t but confronted a protection as proficient because the Dawgs, who permit simply 10.3 factors per recreation and haven’t surrendered greater than 22 in a single outing this season. The Bulldogs additionally are not any slouches offensively, averaging higher than 41 factors per recreation with their very own Heisman candidate at quarterback in Stetson Bennett.

The motive the CFP committee provides such credence to the SEC is not only as a result of the league itself is hard, however as a result of 12 of the final 15 nationwide champions have performed in it. With Georgia defending its title, the Volunteers wanting like a title contender for the primary time since Tee Martin’s 1998 squad, and the Tide nonetheless possessing a really actual highway to the semis, that’s proving true as soon as once more.

While Tennessee and Georgia aren’t 1-2 within the CFP rankings, they’re 1-2 within the AP Top 25. We haven’t seen a heavyweight matchup of that caliber in three years, and it is simply the twenty fifth time within the common season it is occurred for the reason that inception of the AP ballot in 1936. The final time the AP No. 1 and No. 2 groups performed within the common season, LSU stormed again from a 20-point, halftime deficit to beat Alabama and by no means seemed again.

As the SEC is anxious, when its two greatest are additionally the 2 greatest within the nation and play within the common season, that recreation produces the nationwide champion. Maybe it does simply imply extra.

Tuesday’s reveal was the primary of the CFP rankings bulletins, which can come out each Tuesday for the remainder of the season. The 4 CFP groups can be revealed when the ultimate rankings are launched on Sunday, Dec. 4.

Earlier, Bryan Fischer outlined the paths to the CFP for the top 12 contenders.

Here are the rankings, as they’re being revealed:

1. Tennessee (8-0)
2. Ohio State (8-0)
3. Georgia (8-0)
4. Clemson (8-0)
5. Michigan (8-0)
6. Alabama (7-1)
7. TCU (8-0)
8. Oregon (7-1)
9. USC (7-10
10. LSU (6-2)
11. Ole Miss (8-1)
12. UCLA (7-1)
13. Kansas State (6-2)
14. Utah (6-2)
15. Penn State (6-2)
16. Illinois (7-1)
17. North Carolina (7-1)
18. Oklahoma State (6-2)
19. Tulane (7-1)
20. Syracuse (6-2)
21. Wake Forest (6-2) 
22. NC State (6-2)
23. Oregon State (6-2)
24. Texas (5-3)
25. UCF (6-2)

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RJ Young is a nationwide school soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast “The Number One College Football Show.” Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.

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