Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame top 1st CFP rankings

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams puts the pressure on Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey in the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Fayetteville, Ark. The guys who have to block Quinnen Williams in practice aren't the least bit surprised by his success on Alabama's defensive line. Williams has emerged as a dominant force for the top-ranked Crimson Tide at nose guard, doing in games what he has often done in practice. "I think we're honestly a little relieved as an (offensive) line that we're like, 'OK, no one else can block him either,'" Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams said. (AP Photo/Michael Woods, File)
No. 1 – Alabama FILE – In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams puts the pressure on Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey in the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Fayetteville, Ark. The guys who have to block Quinnen Williams in practice aren’t the least bit surprised by his success on Alabama’s defensive line. Williams has emerged as a dominant force for the top-ranked Crimson Tide at nose guard, doing in games what he has often done in practice. “I think we’re honestly a little relieved as an (offensive) line that we’re like, ‘OK, no one else can block him either,'” Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams said. (AP Photo/Michael Woods, File) (AP/Michael Woods)
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence takes a snap in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Oct.27, 2018. Clemson defeated Florida State 59-10. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
No. 2 – Clemson Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence takes a snap in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Oct.27, 2018. Clemson defeated Florida State 59-10. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser) (AP/Mark Wallheiser)
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, LSU cornerback Greedy Williams (29) celebrates his interception with safety Grant Delpit (9) and cornerback Kristian Fulton (22) in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southeastern Louisiana, in Baton Rouge, La. Williams was named to The Associated Press Midseason All-America team, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
No. 3 – LSU FILE – In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, LSU cornerback Greedy Williams (29) celebrates his interception with safety Grant Delpit (9) and cornerback Kristian Fulton (22) in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southeastern Louisiana, in Baton Rouge, La. Williams was named to The Associated Press Midseason All-America team, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (AP/Gerald Herbert)
Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin (81) makes the game winning touchdown catch against Pittsburgh defensive back Dane Jackson during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won 19-14. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
No. 4 – Notre Dame Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin (81) makes the game winning touchdown catch against Pittsburgh defensive back Dane Jackson during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won 19-14. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (AP/Darron Cummings)
FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2018, file photo, Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi, right, escapes from Purdue's Markus Bailey on a keeper during an NCAA college football game, in East Lansing, Mich. This isn't what Michigan State had in mind at the beginning of the season, but starting Rocky Lombardi at quarterback worked well enough last weekend in a win over Purdue. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
No. 5 – Michigan FILE – In this Oct. 27, 2018, file photo, Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi, right, escapes from Purdue’s Markus Bailey on a keeper during an NCAA college football game, in East Lansing, Mich. This isn’t what Michigan State had in mind at the beginning of the season, but starting Rocky Lombardi at quarterback worked well enough last weekend in a win over Purdue. (AP Photo/Al Goldis) (AP/Al Goldis)
Rodrigo Blankenship, Charlie Woerner
No. 6 – Georgia FILE – In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship (98) celebrates with Charlie Woerner (89) after kicking a 53-yard field goal during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, in Atlanta. While Blankenship goes with a much more subdued pair of wire-rimmed specs away from the field, he definitely needs those black, goggle-like sports glasses to see what he’s doing on game day. They’re not some sort of fashion statement or marketing gimmick. He’s unable to wear contacts, so that’s really his only option. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File) (AP/John Bazemore)
Kyler Murray, Bobby Evans, Creed Humphrey
No. 7 – Oklahoma Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws between offensive linemen Bobby Evans (71) and Creed Humphrey (56) in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas State in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) (AP/Sue Ogrocki)
Washington State running back Max Borghi celebrates with quarterback Gardner Minshew II after scoring a touchdown in the first half against Stanford during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Don Feria)
No. 8 – Washington State Washington State running back Max Borghi celebrates with quarterback Gardner Minshew II after scoring a touchdown in the first half against Stanford during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Don Feria) (AP/Don Feria)
Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. (26) carries the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
No. 9 – Kentucky Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. (26) carries the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston) (AP/Bryan Woolston)
Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin, right, celebrates his touchdown against Minnesota with teammate Isaiah Prince during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
No. 10 – Ohio State Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin, right, celebrates his touchdown against Minnesota with teammate Isaiah Prince during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (AP/Jay LaPrete)
Dan Mullen
No. 11 – Florida FILE – In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Florida head coach Dan Mullen, center, celebrates with players on the sidelines during the final moments of an NCAA college football game against LSU, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida (6-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) begins a three-game homestand Saturday against Missouri (4-4, 0-4). The Gators also host South Carolina and Idaho over the first three weekends of November. The late-season stretch will go a long way toward determining which bowl game Mullen’s team lands. It also will establish how many “stadiums” players will have to run after the season.(AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (AP/John Raoux)
Central Florida offensive lineman Jordan Johnson (72) celebrates with running back Otis Anderson (2) after Anderson rushed for a 4-yard touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against SMU Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
No. 12 – UCF Central Florida offensive lineman Jordan Johnson (72) celebrates with running back Otis Anderson (2) after Anderson rushed for a 4-yard touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against SMU Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
West Virginia wide receiver David Sills V (13) just misses a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
No. 13 – West Virginia West Virginia wide receiver David Sills V (13) just misses a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson) (AP/Ray Thompson)
Penn State's John Reid (29) and Antonio Shelton (55) chase down Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley (4) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Knight)
No. 14 – Penn State Penn State’s John Reid (29) and Antonio Shelton (55) chase down Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley (4) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Knight) (AP/Chris Knight)
Tyler Huntley
No. 15 – Utah Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) carries the ball against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (AP/Rick Bowmer)
Drew Ott
No. 16 – Iowa FILE – In this Sept. 5, 2015, file photo, Iowa defensive lineman Drew Ott stands at the line of scrimmage during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois State in Iowa City, Iowa. Ott’s college career is finished after his appeal for an extra year of eligibility was denied by the NCAA. Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed the NCAA’s decision Wednesday, April 12, 2016, saying he was disappointed in both the decision and the process. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) (AP)
Collin Johnson, Breckyn Hager
No. 17 – Texas Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson (9) and defensive lineman Breckyn Hager (44) celebrate their win over Baylor with teammates after an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (AP/Eric Gay)
Mississippi State wide receiver Jamal Couch (6) runs the ball during an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
No. 18 – Mississippi State Mississippi State wide receiver Jamal Couch (6) runs the ball during an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman) (AP/Tyler Kaufman)
Syracuse running back Moe Neal (21) runs against North Carolina during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Syracuse, N.Y. (Scott Schild/The Post-Standard via AP)
No. 19 – Syracuse Syracuse running back Moe Neal (21) runs against North Carolina during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Syracuse, N.Y. (Scott Schild/The Post-Standard via AP) (AP/Scott Schild)
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) attempts a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
No. 20 – Texas A&M Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) attempts a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford) (AP/Sean Rayford)
Reggie Gallaspy II, Isaiah McDuffie
No. 21 – North Carolina State North Carolina State’s Reggie Gallaspy II (25) runs the ball as Boston College’s Isaiah McDuffie (55) misses the tackle during the first half an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (AP/Gerry Broome)
AJ Dillon, Anthony Brown
No. 22 – Boston College Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown (13) hands off to running back AJ Dillon (2) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Boston, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) (AP/Michael Dwyer)
Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers (20) eludes New Mexico safety Bijon Parker (4) before scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
No. 23 – Fresno State Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers (20) eludes New Mexico safety Bijon Parker (4) before scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton) (AP/Andres Leighton)
Brock Purdy, Kyle Kempt, Mike Rose
No. 24 – Iowa State Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, left, celebrates with teammates Kyle Kempt (17) and Mike Rose (23) after an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (AP/Charlie Neibergall)
Daniel Jones, Juan Thornhill
No. 25 – Virginia Virginia safety Juan Thornhill (21) tackles Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (17) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Virginia won 28-14. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (AP/Gerry Broome)
(1/25)
FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams puts the pressure on Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey in the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Fayetteville, Ark. The guys who have to block Quinnen Williams in practice aren't the least bit surprised by his success on Alabama's defensive line. Williams has emerged as a dominant force for the top-ranked Crimson Tide at nose guard, doing in games what he has often done in practice. "I think we're honestly a little relieved as an (offensive) line that we're like, 'OK, no one else can block him either,'" Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams said. (AP Photo/Michael Woods, File)
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence takes a snap in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Oct.27, 2018. Clemson defeated Florida State 59-10. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, LSU cornerback Greedy Williams (29) celebrates his interception with safety Grant Delpit (9) and cornerback Kristian Fulton (22) in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southeastern Louisiana, in Baton Rouge, La. Williams was named to The Associated Press Midseason All-America team, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin (81) makes the game winning touchdown catch against Pittsburgh defensive back Dane Jackson during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won 19-14. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2018, file photo, Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi, right, escapes from Purdue's Markus Bailey on a keeper during an NCAA college football game, in East Lansing, Mich. This isn't what Michigan State had in mind at the beginning of the season, but starting Rocky Lombardi at quarterback worked well enough last weekend in a win over Purdue. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Rodrigo Blankenship, Charlie Woerner
Kyler Murray, Bobby Evans, Creed Humphrey
Washington State running back Max Borghi celebrates with quarterback Gardner Minshew II after scoring a touchdown in the first half against Stanford during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Don Feria)
Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. (26) carries the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin, right, celebrates his touchdown against Minnesota with teammate Isaiah Prince during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Dan Mullen
Central Florida offensive lineman Jordan Johnson (72) celebrates with running back Otis Anderson (2) after Anderson rushed for a 4-yard touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against SMU Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
West Virginia wide receiver David Sills V (13) just misses a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
Penn State's John Reid (29) and Antonio Shelton (55) chase down Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley (4) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Knight)
Tyler Huntley
Drew Ott
Collin Johnson, Breckyn Hager
Mississippi State wide receiver Jamal Couch (6) runs the ball during an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Syracuse running back Moe Neal (21) runs against North Carolina during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Syracuse, N.Y. (Scott Schild/The Post-Standard via AP)
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) attempts a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Reggie Gallaspy II, Isaiah McDuffie
AJ Dillon, Anthony Brown
Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers (20) eludes New Mexico safety Bijon Parker (4) before scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Brock Purdy, Kyle Kempt, Mike Rose
Daniel Jones, Juan Thornhill

If you don’t like the first College Football Playoff selection committee rankings, don’t worry. Saturday’s slate of huge games guarantees major changes are coming next week.

Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Notre Dame were the top four teams in the initial CFP rankings Tuesday night.

After meeting for a day and a half at a hotel outside Dallas, the 13-member selection committee released the first of its five weekly top 25s before the four-team field is set for the semifinals on Dec. 2.

Michigan was fifth, followed by Georgia and Oklahoma. Washington State was eighth, the highest-ranked Pac-12 team. Kentucky was ninth.

Of course, the final rankings are the only ones that matter, but the playoff picture will be reshaped this weekend. Four games matching top-20 teams are on tap Saturday, including Alabama at LSU and Georgia at Kentucky.

West Virginia, 13th in the CFP, is at Texas, which is 17th. Michigan hosts Penn State, which came in at 14.

The first top four teams were no surprise. The same teams are Nos. 1-4 in the latest Associated Press poll, except with Notre Dame third and LSU fourth.

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens, who is in his first season as committee chairman, said LSU’s FBS-leading six victories against teams with winning records gave the Tigers the edge over undefeated Notre Dame. The Irish play at Northwestern (5-3) on Saturday.

UCF was the highest ranked team from outside the Power Five conferences at 12th. The highest ranked team from the so-called Group of Five conferences at the end of the regular season is guaranteed a spot in the New Year’s Six bowls. The Knights, riding a 20-game winning streak, earned that spot last year, beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl and proclaimed themselves national champions.

UCF has yet to beat a team that currently has a winning record. The strength of schedule held the Knights back, Mullens said. “But you balance that against what you see when you watch the games,” he added.

Last season, UCF started 18th and rose to 12th by the final rankings.

HISTORY LESSON

If form holds, two of the top four teams in the first CFP ranking of the season will go on to play in the national semifinals.

Coaches began downplaying the significance of the rankings even before they were revealed on national television.

“I didn’t even know that was tonight. I didn’t realize that was going on,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters. “But I should have talked to my team about that. I didn’t bring it up to them. So who knows what they’ll be thinking tonight.”

Ranking teams is a time-honored tradition in college football, going back to first Associated Press poll in 1936. But what, if anything, can be learned from the first four years of CFP rankings?

Of the 16 teams the committee ranked in the top four of its initial rankings from 2014-17, half made the playoff. No team ranked third in the first CFP rankings has ever made the playoff.

The very first committee rankings, in 2014, had just one eventual playoff team. They included three teams from the Southeastern Conference (though not the one that eventually made the playoff) along with Florida State.

That year, the committee first showed its willingness to rank a team that had lost a game ahead of an unbeaten team, like it did Tuesday with LSU and Notre Dame.

In 2014, unbeaten defending champion Florida State dropped to No. 3 behind once-beaten Oregon in the committee’s third rankings. It seemed to send a signal the committee would be different from traditional polls that tended to honor win-loss record above all. The second-to-last rankings had Florida State at fourth, behind three teams that had already lost. The Seminoles went into the Rose Bowl semifinal as the No. 3 seed and lost to Oregon.

Among the eight teams over the past four seasons that were part of the initial committee top four but did not make the playoff, only one was unranked on selection Sunday. Texas A&M in 2016 was somewhat of a surprising No. 4, and then proceeded to lose three of its final four games.

The playoff team that made the longest climb from first committee ranking to final was Ohio State, which started 16th in 2014 and made the semifinals as the fourth seed — and won the championship. Iowa, which has already lost two games, was No. 16 in Tuesday’s rankings.

The last two seasons, none of the eventual playoff teams were ranked worse than sixth (Ohio State in 2016) in the committee’s first ranking.

Here are the Top 25:

Record
1. Alabama 8-0
2. Clemson 8-0
3. LSU 7-1
4. Notre Dame 8-0
5. Michigan 7-1
6. Georgia 7-1
7. Oklahoma 7-1
8. Washington St. 7-1
9. Kentucky 7-1
10. Ohio St. 7-1
11. Florida 6-2
12. UCF 7-0
13. West Virginia 6-1
14. Penn St. 6-2
15. Utah 6-2
16. Iowa 6-2
17. Texas 6-2
18. Mississippi St. 5-3
19. Syracuse 6-2
20. Texas A&M 5-3
21. NC State 5-2
22. Boston College 6-2
23. Fresno St. 7-1
24. Iowa St. 4-3
25. Virginia 6-2

 

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up