Ohio State proved last year that the first College Football Playoff Rankings of the season have little bearing on the four teams that get in to the playoff at season's end. Still, better to start at the top than have to work your way there.
The Buckeyes weren’t quit the top-ranked team in the first rankings released Nov. 3, but the Scarlet and Gray would make the playoffs if they started today, according to the first committee rankings. Ohio State checked in at No. 3, 13 spots ahead of the No. 16 ranking it opened the CFP rankings at last year, and behind No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 LSU. Alabama, the highest ranked one-loss team rounded out the top four.
"Ohio State is strong," committee chairman Jeff Long said. "Three wins over teams with .500-or-better record."
Michigan State was the second-highest ranked Big Ten team at No. 7 while Iowa was No. 9. Michigan checked in at No. 17 while fellow two-loss conference member Northwestern was 21st. Below are the complete first rankings:
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Michigan State
- Oklahoma State
- Florida State
- Ole Miss
- Texas A&M
- Mississippi State
Long said that Clemson's strength of victories, which includes a win over Notre Dame set them apart, and that Baylor and TCU were among the toughest teams to rank.
Last season the four teams that eventually made the playoffs – Florida State, Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State – were ranked Nos. 2, 5, 6 and 16 in the initial playoff rankings.