The College Football Playoff committee released its top-25 teams this evening, and the Wolverines debut at No 3.
Defending national champion Alabama comes in at No. 1, while national runners up Clemson sit at No. 2.
Michigan (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) is currently rated No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches poll, so there was some surprise with their No. 3 ranking.
In fact, the Wolverines have defeated three teams in the CFP top-25, including No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 12 Penn State and No. 15 Colorado.
Kirby Hocutt, CFP Selection Committee Chairman, noted that strength of schedule played a huge factor in the decision of its initial rankings, with five more scheduled before the final rankings are released after conference championship weekend.
“As you know margins are razor thin, “ Hocutt said.
CFP’s top-three had little argument, but No. 4, the last spot of the playoff, was awarded to Texas A&M, not Washington, which is at No. 4 in both major polls. Though they are undefeated, the Huskies sit at No. 5, while U-M’s main rival Ohio State rounds out the top-six at No.6.
“The committee in our mind believes that Texas A&M has played a stronger schedule at this point and time of the season over Washington,” Hocutt said. “Texas A&M has four wins against teams with better records than .500 compared to Washington only two wins against teams with .500 (record) or better.”