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

[Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Notre Dame are the top four teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season.

The 13-member selection committee released the first of its five weekly top 25s before the four-team field is set for the College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 2.

Michigan is fifth, followed by Georgia and Oklahoma. Florida (6-2, 4-2) is ranked No. 11, the first time making the poll since 2016.

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

Next week’s rankings figure to look a lot different. Four games matching top-20 teams will be played Saturday, including Alabama at LSU.

UCF was the highest ranked team from outside the Power Five conferences at 12th.

College Football Playoff Rankings

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

The playoff semifinals match the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 4 seed, and No. 2 will face No. 3. The semifinals will be hosted at the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl on Dec. 29. The championship game will be played on Jan. 7, 2019 at Santa Clara, Calif.


  1. You would think that the headline should read, “Florida is ranked number 11 in the first CFP rankings.” And, to think, Pat Dooley said he ranked the Gators number 17 with his AP vote. Pat, it is good to know that the playoff committee sees the Gators and Mullen with a little more value for accomplishment than you do so far this season.

    • Tampa, after thinking about it for a while, Florida’s high ranking could be more of a necessity to justify putting LSU at No. 3 than it is a true appreciation for the Gators’ accomplishments. It would be more difficult to put LSU at 3 if the Gators were much lower. With Bama at 1 and LSU at 3, this week’s game goes from huge already to being a playoff game before the playoffs. Game Day might want to start broadcasting tomorrow. Either way, it’s great for the Gators. Regarding Pat, I’m with Sly.

      • I think that’s likely it, Joe — although it’s one of those things that you’ll probably never get anyone to admit. As far as #11 of and by itself — if we do turn yet another corner in the character department and win out, we’ll certainly be looking at a really good bowl game and I don’t suspect that “over-matched” will be part of the story line by then. But anyway you slice it, what an amazing first season we’ve had. When all is said and done, I’m going to need to sleep until at least March!

      • Joe. Or that Florida was the only two loss team that had a win over a top 5 team this season (LSU), plays in the best conference in the country, and had another win over a top 25 team as well (Mississippi State). And Florida’s losses were to a top 15 team (Kentucky, now in the top 10) and to the sixth ranked team (Georgia, who they played well for three quarters). LSU is where they are simply because of their multiple quality wins at the times they played teams, including a solid thrashing of Georgia, and that they play in the SEC. I do not think the playoff committee gives a second thought to TV ratings or what the media thinks, or fans for that matter. They pretty much work off analytic data which includes face-to-face competition, difficulty of schedule, conference play (other than Notre Dame), and recent performances and injury status of teams. They do not even consider the AP and Coaches polls, so I clearly doubt they consider what ESPN, ABC, or CBS desire for the rankings of teams coming up on their college football programing.

        • Agree completely until you say “They pretty much work off analytic data which includes face-to-face competition, difficulty of schedule, conference play (other than Notre Dame), and recent performances and injury status of teams”. All we can know is what the CFP committee chair says. I don’t know of anywhere that the committee’s criteria for ranking teams is written down. If you do, please enlighten me. IMO, the CFP committee is inferior to the old BCS ranking system for just that reason, and the fact that the CFP committee, while considering analytic data, is still a subjective analysis. The BCS system had the balance of the objective analysis of the computer polls and the fact that you could find, in writing, the formula by which the human and computer polls were utilized to get the teams’ final BCS scores. It would’ve been much simpler to just expand the BCS to a four team tournament instead of two. The CFP committee is completely unnecessary, and its weekly “reveal” of the rankings is absolutely a “made for TV” event.

          • Each member of the committee is provided a computer with analytical data on all teams. They work off that data to establish the polls. Little is determined by personal bias. Far superior to the biased BCS system in my opinion.

          • And under the old BCS system, Florida would be much further down because media folks like Pat Dooley would have them down around 17 without much logic for doing so and just because Florida just lost to Georiga by a big score. Like Pat, they would ignore the wins over MSU and LSU. In addition, Ohio State would be much higher with the media ignoring them being blown out by Purdue.

          • Tampa, you have no rational basis for that claim, since Pat ended up putting the Gators at 15 on his ballot, and they actually ended up at 13 in the AP poll. To say that “Little is determined by personal bias” is not demonstrable. They may put in significant time in analyzing data, but in the end, the CFP rankings are still a “human” poll, and the committee members are subject to injecting whatever bias they may have into their rankings. Unless you’re actually in the room with them, you have know way of knowing if they’re using their computers for anything more than a coaster for their beverage of choice.

  2. How about the Gators moving into the top ten of the CFP rankings as early as next week? It will happen.
    We should win the Mizzou game with relentless effort and continuous improvement. The Swamp needs to be
    the SWAMP as Coach Mullen said. It will also be great to have five SEC teams in the top ten next week and it can happen. Close games between LSU and Bama and Ky and Ga. will enable all of them to stay in as the Gators move up one slot to #10. Notre Dame is on upset alert since it has to play a resurgent Northwestern, and that will be tough for them. Go Gators!