The second edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings was released on Tuesday, and the top five remained intact. Ohio State sits at the No. 1 spot, followed by Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and Washington. Oregon, Texas, Alabama, Ole Miss and Penn State rounded out the top 10, setting up a tremendous race to the finish involving high-profile teams from across the country.
Ohio State is coming off of a 35-16 win over Rutgers that pushed its record to 9-0 as the Buckeyes remain in the Big Ten hunt. No. 2 Georgia earned a big 30-21 win over No. 14 Missouri, which was the first signature win for the Bulldogs this season. The defense tightened up in the second half, and quarterback Carson Beck continued his evolution into a star as he threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Michigan has been the talk of college football for a wide variety of reasons — most of which are centered off the field — but took care of business on the field in a resounding 41-13 win over Purdue.
Where did the committee get it right? Where did the committee miss the mark? Let’s dive deeper into the newest rankings and break down the most overrated and underrated teams.
Overrated: No. 1 Ohio State
The Buckeyes were far from crisp against Rutgers, and we know “game control” is a metric considered between those four walls of the committee room. It has to count for something. Rutgers is significantly better than in previous seasons but is far from a juggernaut. Ohio State trailed by two at the half, struggled to find an offensive flow and was saved by a tremendous performance from running back TreVeyon Henderson (128 yards rushing and a touchdown).
Part of the reason that Ohio State was ranked No. 1 to begin with was a resume that includes wins over No. 10 Penn State and No. 20 Notre Dame. That resume looked much better last week than it does this week after the Fighting Irish suffered their third loss of the season — this time to a remarkably average (and unranked) Clemson team. The fact that Notre Dame is still ranked No. 20 by the committee is clearly propping up an Ohio State team that is still a work-in-progress.
Underrated: No. 2 Georgia
What more does Georgia have to do in order to prove that it is the best team in the country? The lack of a signature win was the only real data point holding the Bulldogs back, but they checked that box last week in the win over No. 14 Missouri. This was a Tigers team that has a plethora of weapons, including star quarterback Brady Cook, and they couldn’t find a rhythm all afternoon. The committee clearly thinks highly of the Tigers since it still has them in the top 15, and a win like Georgia had Saturday should be enough to vault the Bulldogs into the top spot. The defense is an absolute force, the offense is cruising right along despite the loss of tight end Brock Bowers and Beck has handled the transition into QB1 with ease.
Overrated: No. 20 Notre Dame
As mentioned earlier, the committee clearly respects Notre Dame more than it should since the Fighting Irish only fell five spots after falling to a Clemson team that entered the contest in turmoil at 4-4 on the season. Quarterback Sam Hartman threw two interceptions against the Tigers as he’s tossed more picks (seven) than touchdowns (five) over the last four games. It seems like the committee values Notre Dame’s “good losses” to No. 1 Ohio State and No. 11 Louisville too much while failing to see the bigger picture. Several teams behind the Fighting Irish — especially No. 21 Arizona — deserve more love.
Underrated: No. 18 Utah
I have Utah No. 11 in my CBS Sports 133 rankings, but the committee clearly doesn’t respect the Utes as much as I do. Injuries are supposed to be considered, but apparently the fact that the Utes have navigated through their gauntlet and stayed in New Year’s Six bowl contention without star quarterback Cam Rising is very impressive. They just held Arizona State to 83 total yards in the 55-3 win last week. I don’t care how down-trodden Arizona State is; every FBS team should be able to at least break the century mark in total yards every game. The Sun Devils didn’t, which tells you just how elite Utah’s defense is. Utah’s good wins don’t look as good now that UCLA and USC have fallen out of the rankings, which is probably why the committee kept them out of the top 15. However, eye test is supposed to matter, and the Utes have proven that they can win in a variety of ways.