In anticipation of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee releasing its first rankings on Tuesday, Oct. 31, I thought it’d be appropriate to reveal who should be in the College Football Playoff if it started today.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)
Alabama is clearly the best team in the country. From year to year, the Crimson Tide’s defense is normally its strength and 2017 is no different. Alabama is allowing an NCAA-low 236 yards per game in 2017. Alabama also ranks in the top 10 in turnover margin, rushing defense and passing defense. Not only is Alabama not allowing yardage, it’s also keeping points off the board. Through eight games, Nick Saban’s team has allowed only 59 points – just over seven points per game. The offense for the Crimson Tide is also playing well. Led by impressive second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts, Alabama is averaging 499 yards of total offense this season and scoring 43 points per game. This combination of offense and defense makes Alabama elite and the best team in the nation.
2. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0)
Just like Alabama, Penn State is led by its defense. The Nittany Lions have a top 10 defense, allowing just 283 yards per game and just under 10 points. The offense, powered by Heisman front-runner Saquon Barkley, isn’t too shabby itself averaging 464 yards and 40 points per game. With just one scare so far on the season, to a good Iowa team, Penn State has cruised to a 7-0 record. If Penn State can get by Ohio State this Saturday and improve to 8-0, it looks destined for the CFP.
3. Georgia Bulldogs (7-0)
Georgia has an elite defense – sensing a trend? The Bulldogs rank third in the country in yards against. The Bulldogs are allowing just under 13 points per game. With a run heavy offense, the Bulldogs are averaging 455 yards a game. Of that yardage, 283 yards are coming on the ground and UGA is putting up 38 points per game. Georgia has had a few tests so far this season, coming out with impressive victories in each. The Bulldogs have beaten two ranked opponents so far this season, one of which an impressive 28 point victory. With only one more true test on the schedule, besides the SEC championship, the Bulldogs have a fairly easy path ahead and could easily finish undefeated.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1)
Notre Dame has played in only one close game this season, a loss to the current No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs. Yes, the Irish lost this game, but in a nail biter, losing 20-19. Notre Dame has decisively taken care of every other team on the schedule. In its wins this season, Notre Dame is winning by an average of 29 points. Notre Dame currently has a top 20 offense. The Irish are averaging 479 total yards, 317 of which are coming on the ground, and scoring 41 points per game. With only one loss to a very good football team, if Notre Dame can continue to run the ball at a high level and limit turnovers, it should be able to sneak into the CFP as the fourth team.