College Football Playoff Rankings prediction: Indiana jumps into top 10, Coastal Carolina rockets up

CBS Sports graphic

With the third College Football Playoff Rankings for the 2020 season set to be released Tuesday night, we do not want to wait that long to get a taste of how the CFP Selection Committee will be ranking the top 25 teams in the nation. This is a warm up act for the warm up act, which are all of the CFP Rankings releases before the final one after conference championship week on Dec. 19.

Normally, I would detail here some of the criteria the CFP Selection Committee uses to rank the top 25 teams and choose the top four. However, nothing about 2020 is normal, and that includes the information available to the committee.  Here is the entire list of criteria for 2020:

  • Eye test
  • Head-to-head record (if applicable)
  • Conference championship (if applicable)

That’s it. No strength of schedule or relative offense or any other analytic because four conferences have statistically distanced themselves from the rest of college football by playing only conference games. For example, mathematically speaking, there is no way to compare teams from the SEC to teams from the Big Ten or any other league for that matter.

Even some of the ancillary categories discussed — wins over teams above .500, wins over ranked teams — are not helpful.  The lack of nonconference games has some teams on either side of that .500 line would not normally be in those positions. The Big Ten and Pac-12 weren’t even eligible to be ranked in the AP Top 25 for much of the season, so some teams were in the bottom of those rankings that normally would not have been placed there, especially early on. Going by game-time rankings is illegitimate anyway.

Due to COVID-19, the committee will have more roster issues to consider with than ever before. How much that concerns them is yet to be determined. It will also have to factor in teams playing an unequal number of games. It is unchartered territory.

With all of that in mind, here is what I think the CFP Rankings will look like Tuesday night.

Note: Predictions in this story are based only on results to this point, so they do not reflect the final forecast for the playoff. My current playoff and bowl projections can be found here.

College Football Playoff Rankings prediction

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Written by Chekmagazine


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