The first of six College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and will continue to be released each week until the final four are decided on Sunday, Dec. 3.
The committee consists of 12 executives from across the College Football community, with Bill Hancock and Kirby Hocutt headlining the group. While a top-25 ranking is released, the top four teams are the most important, as they are predicted participate in the playoff. The committee chooses the top four based on strength of schedule, head-to-head results against common opponents, championships won and other factors.
Typically, the top four teams are from a Power-5 conference and have either one or zero losses. Furthermore, the committee strongly prioritizes teams who win their conference outright and will award teams for the quality of their wins and losses.
While it is difficult to perfectly predict the rankings, the AP Poll and Coaches Poll are usually indicative of the committee’s mindset, especially early in the season.
After 10 weeks of football, both polls rank Alabama on top, followed by Georgia, Ohio State and Wisconsin, respectively.
Alabama has been No. 1 in every poll since preseason, but it is expected that the committee will rank fellow SEC team Georgia in the No. 1 spot, as the Bulldogs have two wins against current AP Top 25 teams, Notre Dame and Mississippi State. Meanwhile Alabama has zero wins in this category, with its top resume-building victory coming against a mediocre Texas A&M squad that has fallen out of the rankings after suffering its third loss of the season.
Ohio State was defeated by the Baker Mayfield-led Oklahoma, who later lost to Iowa State, in Week 2, but have since beaten highly-ranked Penn State this past week in what was arguably the best game of the year.
Wisconsin and Miami are both undefeated at 8-0 and 7-0, respectively. However, the committee is likely to punish the teams for their weak strength of schedule, as neither team has beaten a current top 25 team.
Among the one-loss group, only Notre Dame and Clemson have at least two wins over current AP Top 25 teams, which means they’ll likely be ahead of Penn State, who have zero.
The committee usually prefers its rankings to reflect what we know right now, so many teams have a chance to boost their resume with statement wins in the coming weeks.