Alabama opens CFP rankings at No. 2

This initial ranking not only gives us some insight into what the committee values, but it also gives us a pretty good idea that IF Notre Dame were to win out, the Irish are nearly assuredly going to make the playoffs. The Tide should finally face some tougher competition with three of their final four games being against now ranked teams. Wake Forest is 5-3 and Navy is 5-2.

The Badgers are only No. 9 in the CFP rankings. That Notre Dame game is probably why Georgia is at No. 1 over Alabama. They beat the latter, 49-10, back in September. 2 and 3 seeds meeting in the other semifinal.

Notre Dame is not totally safe though.

Although Alabama has been dominant, it doesn't have a win over a team now ranked in the committee's Top 25.

Auburn enters a pivotal month of November with a trip to Texas A&M on Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN), followed by games against Georgia, ULM and Alabama.

Rounding out the top 10 are Penn State, TCU, Wisconsin and Miami (Fla.). Ohio State at #6 might actually be the least worrisome since they only have #24 Michigan State and then potentially Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship. The Wolverines are No. 38 in this week's Sagarin Ratings, but several ranked teams had higher strength-of-schedule ratings, including No. 24 Michigan State (16th), No. 20 North Carolina State (26th), No. 17 USC (7th) and No. 15 Iowa State (22nd).

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In the meantime, Notre Dame needs its quality wins to remain quality wins while continuing to win each weekend in order to maintain its #3 ranking.

IT MIGHT NOT BE JUST THE PAC-12 IN TROUBLE: The top four includes teams from only two of Power Five conferences, and if Georgia, Alabama and Notre Dame keep winning it very well could stay that way.

The top four teams in the final CFP rankings will advance to the College Football Playoff, with the top seed facing the No. 4 seed in one semifinal and the Nos.

At the top are two unbeaten SEC teams in Georgia and Alabama. The Crimson Tide, the only team who has made the College Football Playoff since the format's inception in 2014, is at No. 2.

Just when everyone thinks they know which way the rankings are going, they tend to have some surprises. Many people, including myself, believe there are two teams that are better. If that is not enough, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame travel to Miami the following week.

  • Tabitha Byrd