College Football Playoff rankings: Who are the top four teams in first CFP poll of 2022?

college football playoff rankings: who are the top four teams

Expanding the college football playoffs is still a way out, but the first standings for the 2022 season are already providing plenty of ammunition for those who claim they should expand sooner.

Clemson’s surprise inclusion in the top 4 has left Michigan sidelined despite dominating their season up to this point. Michigan’s non-conference schedule was undoubtedly a determining factor in that decision. Meanwhile, the state of Ohio sits at #2, with #1 and #3 occupied by the SEC — Tennessee and Georgia, respectively.

Tennessee and Georgia already had a lot at stake in their matchup on Saturday, but now it’s going to be an even bigger game. Playing each other will make it tough for both of them to make the playoffs, but it seems Tennessee’s win over Alabama has given him a little more runway should the Volunteers stumble against the Bulldogs. Georgia won’t face any other top-25 team after Saturday’s showdown against Tennessee. A Bulldogs loss would leave Georgia outside the top-4 and have no chance to control its own destiny.

It’s still possible for one of the SEC and Big Ten teams to advance multiple teams to the playoffs, depending on the outcome of regular season and conference championship games. If that happens, it would be the SEC’s third time and the Big Ten’s first time.

Of course, many other teams like Michigan (8-0), Alabama (7-1), TCU (8-0), Ole Miss (8-1), and Oregon (7-1) have cases as playoff contenders. However, Ole Miss missed out on the top 10, spurned by 6-2 LSU. Each of the teams listed controls their destiny with just a month left of the season (except perhaps for the Ducks, who suffered a debilitating 49-3 loss to Georgia earlier in the season).

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There will certainly be plenty of intrigue as the season progresses. As every year, everything should take care of itself in the end. However, it doesn’t make it any less fun to tune in and watch.

With that, The Sporting News covers the front row of the college football playoff rankings, including the four teams and the top two teams:

College Football Playoff Rankings 2022

Who are the top four CFP teams in the first poll of 2022?

The top four teams in have their own surprises, with Clemson finishing behind wins over three ranked teams. They ousted Michigan. Ahead of Clemson, however, is the even more interesting No. 3 Georgia, who was dominant outside of a tight game against Missouri.

Additionally, Ohio State is ranked #2 with the second-best record strength. Tennessee is No. 1 with its impressive win over Alabama to date and a big game with Georgia on the horizon. The winner of this game could well find themselves at the top of the leaderboard, although Ohio State serves as an interesting buffer.

“If you look at the three teams — three really good teams that the committee really likes — the victories with Alabama and at LSU really sealed the day for Tennessee,” said CFP Selection Committee Chair Boo Corrigan.

As No. 2 For Ohio State, Corrigan cited the “explosive nature” of the Buckeyes’ offense.

This Top 4 will immediately cannibalize itself, and as if Tennessee-Georgia wasn’t compelling enough, there’s one more reason to watch Saturday.

rankingteamrecording
1Tennessee8-0
2State of Ohio8-0
3Georgia8-0
4Clemson8-0

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Who are the top two teams in the top four in the first CFP poll of 2022?

The third team is almost as convincing as the second in this case. TCU is undefeated this year but was spurned for 6th place by Alabama, whose only loss was three points to 1st-ranked Tennessee. Alabama, a playoff mainstay, will look to win starting with what is now a top 10 matchup against LSU on Saturday.

Michigan may have taken a double whammy at No. 5 given the Wolverines’ dominance this season, minus a nail biter against Maryland, but his absence from Colorado State, Hawaii and Connecticut has undoubtedly done him no favors.

rankingteamrecording
5Michigan8-0
6Alabama7-1

MORE: CFP Rankings release dates for 2022

Top 25 college football playoff rankings from the first CFP poll of 2022

With the top-25 in and out of the playoff teams and the top two out, it’s clear how the committee views these conferences. The Pac-12 sits 8th and 9th in the Oregon and USC top 10 respectively, while LSU rounds out the top 10 despite two losses. Penn State is in the top 15 with two losses to top five teams Ohio State and Michigan.

The ACC, excluding Clemson, is at the bottom of the rankings, with Syracuse, Wake Forest and NC State (Clemson’s three wins in the rankings, by the way) in 20th, 21st and 22nd respectively. North Carolina is just ahead of them at No. 17. Tulane is the highest-ranked non-Power Five team at No. 19, and UCF rounds out the rankings at No. 25.

Finally, there’s the Big 12, currently best represented by TCU at No. 7 behind Alabama with one loss. “Look at TCU and again we’re looking for a balanced team – offense and defense,” Corrigan said. “And they went behind in some of their games. They could come back and win those games.”

rankteamrecording
1Tennessee8-0
2State of Ohio8-0
3Georgia8-0
4Clemson8-0
5Michigan8-0
6Alabama7-1
7TCU8-0
8thOregon7-1
9U.S.C7-1
10LSU6-2
11Be miss8-1
12UCLA7-1
13State of Kansas6-2
14Utah6-2
fifteenPennsylvania6-2
16Illinois7-1
17North Carolina7-1
18State of Oklahoma6-2
19Tulane7-1
20Syracuse6-2
21guard forest6-2
22NC state6-2
23Oregon State6-2
24Texas5-3
25UCF6-2

What NY6 bowl games would look like

If the season ended today, the NY6 Bowl Games would be an interesting affair. TCU would face Alabama and Tulane would face USC as a team of the group of five. Oregon and Michigan would represent their conferences in the Rose Bowl, while the two premiere games – The Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl – would feature Tennessee vs. Clemson and Georgia vs. Ohio State.

This is how they would shake out:

  • Orange Bowl (Dec. 30): #10 LSU vs. #17 North Carolina
  • Sugar Bowl (Dec. 31): #6 Alabama vs. #7 TCU
  • Peach Bowl (Dec. 31): No. 1 Tennessee vs. No. 4 Clemson
  • Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 31): No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Georgia
  • Cotton Bowl (Jan. 2): #9 USC vs. #19 Tulane
  • Rose Bowl (January 2): No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 8 Oregon

Zac Al-Khateeb contributed to this report.

Dave Gallo

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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