Initial college football rankings reactions 

Wisconsin’s Braedyn Locke (18) throws during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

On Halloween night, as kids were out trick-or-treating, the College Football Playoff committee released their first set of rankings for the year. As is the case every year, the rankings left many fanbases upset, shocked and unhappy with the committee. Before we take a deep dive into what teams are in the best and worst shape, let’s look at the rankings:

1. Ohio State2. Georgia3. Michigan4. Florida State5. Washington
6. Oregon7. Texas8. Alabama9. Oklahoma10. Ole Miss
11. Penn State12. Missouri13. Louisville14. LSU15. Notre Dame
16. Oregon State17. Tenessee18. Utah19. UCLA20. USC
21. Kansas22. Oklahoma State23. Kansas State24. Tulane25. Air Force

The Top 4 

In what was a shock to many, Ohio State is now the top team in the country, despite being No. 3 in the AP poll.  When looking at their resume, it should come as no surprise, as they hold a victory over No. 15 Notre Dame on the road, along with a double-digit win over No. 11 Penn State at home. They face Rutgers this Saturday and their biggest test will come on Nov. 25 when they face their rival, No. 3 Michigan. 

Georgia, who was on top of the poll throughout all of last year and was ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, comes in at No. 2. After struggling early in the season to beat opponents like Auburn, the Bulldogs looked like every bit of their old selves when they throttled Florida last Saturday. Their resume is not very impressive, based on their weak strength of schedule, but they have a chance to change that this weekend when they host No. 12 Missouri.  The next three weeks will determine the season for Georgia as they play three teams inside the CFP top 20. 

Michigan comes in at No. 3 on the poll, mainly due to their remarkably easy schedule thus far. The program, which is currently riled with cheating allegations, will face a gauntlet down the stretch of the season. After hosting a bad Purdue team this week, they travel to Happy Valley next Saturday to take on Penn State and finish the season hosting rivals Ohio State.  The Wolverines not only have a good chance to make the playoffs, but can even jump to No. 1 if they win both those games. 

Florida State comes in at No. 4 and currently holds the final spot in the College Football Playoff.  This is the same spot they hold in the current AP Poll and is the least shocking of the rankings. They have impressive wins over No. 14 LSU and Duke and also knocked off Clemson on the road. They have to win out in order to keep this spot due to the ACC having a down year. They face Pittsburgh on the road this Saturday and their biggest test left is traveling to Gainesville to face longtime rival Florida. 

First four out 

Arizona running back Michael Wiley (6) lunges into the end zone late in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Oregon State Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Tucson, Ariz. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

Washington comes in at No. 5 and is the first team not to hold a playoff spot. The Huskies have an impressive resume so far beating No. 6 Oregon and taking care of business against other opponents. Washington has a chance to add to that resume as they face USC on the road this weekend. Much like Georgia, these next three weeks hold the most weight for Washington, as they play three teams in the CFP top 20. 

Oregon comes in at No. 6 and is the best one-loss team in the rankings. While they lost to Washington they have blown out nearly every other opponent, including Utah last weekend on the road. Oregon controls their own path to a Pac-12 title rematch with Washington if they win out. This contest could have serious implications for the CFP. 

Texas is No. 7 in the rankings, despite having the best win in college football this year, beating Alabama on the road. The Longhorns lost to Oklahoma and most likely need to win out just to have a shot at being one of the four teams in the playoff. This will be difficult though, due to the injury of star quarterback Quinn Ewers. Like Oregon, beating Oklahoma in the rematch for the Big 12 Championship is their best chance. 

Alabama is the No. 8 team and has their work cut out to make the playoff. After losing to Texas, Alabama followed it up by beating No. 10 Ole Miss and No. 17 Tennessee, bolstering their resume. They face one of their biggest tests of the season this week when they host LSU. This game will determine who wins the SEC West so it is a must-win for the Crimson Tide if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive. 

Games to Watch This Weekend 

Alabama vs. LSU 

Washington vs. USC 

Georgia vs. Missouri 

Texas vs. Kansas State 

Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State 

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