Week 7 of the 2023 college football season is in the books and we got some important results from the weekend’s action as we move along through the month of October. As we pass through the midway point of the season, the College Football Playoff comes into focus even more.
Traditionally, the CFP committee has waited until around Halloween to release its first batch of rankings as by then, they’ll have two months worth of data points to judge contenders. According to their website, their criteria for ranking teams is based off the teams’ on-field performance, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents, and at the end of the season, conference championships won (even though we’ve seen teams who didn’t win their conference still get in).
While we’re still a few weeks out from the committee releasing its first batch of rankings, it’s not too early to guess how they’d stack the top six right now. Here’s our best guess as to how they’d slot the top of the board:
- Michigan Wolverines
- Georgia Bulldogs
- Washington Huskies
- Oklahoma Sooners
- Florida State Seminoles
- Ohio State Buckeyes
Michigan is my projected No. 1 team if the committee released its rankings today and there’s good reason to think the Wolverines would get the top spot. The team has done exactly what is was supposed to do against a paper soft early-season schedule and have totally annihilated everyone in their path. Indiana was their latest victim on Saturday as the Wolverines cruised to an easy 52-7 victory. Jim Harbaugh’s group is still weeks away from having to play Penn State and Ohio State, but they should still be considered the top team as long as they continue to dominate.
In a similar vein, Georgia is No. 2 after handling Vanderbilt in a 37-20 victory. Some have argued that the two-time defending national champions have sleepwalked through their easy early-season schedule, but their 51-13 crushing of Kentucky illustrated that they are more than capable of totally dominating an opponent at any time. As the reigning champs, they’d still get respect from the committee with a top ranking.
The next batch of teams was tough to sort and I think that the committee would have Washington at No. 3 and Oklahoma at No. 4 to round out the playoff field. Washington survived a top 10 heavyweight fight against rival Oregon on Saturday and the committee would give Michael Penix Jr. and company props for stepping up and winning that game late. The same would go for Oklahoma, who was off on a bye this weekend after taking down Texas in the final minute of its rivalry tilt the wee prior.
That leaves Florida State and Ohio State sitting on the outside for now, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t jump back into the top 10. FSU will get in as long as it continues carving through its ACC schedule and OSU will get to directly audition for a playoff spot with matchups against Penn State and Michigan on the horizon in the coming weeks.
Based on these rankings, here is how the College Football Playoffs would look if the season ended today:
Rose Bowl, January 1, 5 p.m. ET
No. 1 Michigan* vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
Sugar Bowl, January 1, 8:45 p.m. ET
No. 2 Georgia vs. No. 3 Washington
*The top-ranked team gets to elect where it will play in its semifinal game. In this scenario, Michigan would elect to go to the traditional grand destination for the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.