College Football Playoff Rankings: Can Fresno State Crack the Initial Top 25?

College Football Playoff Rankings: Can Fresno State Crack the Initial Top 25?

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College Football Playoff Rankings: Can Fresno State Crack the Initial Top 25?

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By Way of Comparison: The Rest of the G5 Field

Cincinnati (8-0): SP+ rank: 10 | FEI rank: 5 | Sagarin rank: 6 | Strength-of-schedule rank (per Sagarin/Sports Reference): 94/90

Houston (7-1): SP+ rank: 63 | FEI rank: 47 | Sagarin rank: 41 | Strength-of-schedule rank (per Sagarin/Sports Reference): 111/111

SMU (7-1): SP+ rank: 47 | FEI rank: 52 | Sagarin rank: 39 | Strength-of-schedule rank (per Sagarin/Sports Reference): 117/119

UTSA (8-0): SP+ rank: 67 | FEI rank: 51 | Sagarin rank: 54 | Strength-of-schedule rank (per Sagarin/Sports Reference): 124/121

BYU (7-2): SP+ rank: 54 | FEI rank: 41 | Sagarin rank: 31 | Strength-of-schedule rank (per Sagarin/Sports Reference): 34/25

Coastal Carolina (7-1): SP+ rank: 34 | FEI rank: 24 | Sagarin rank: 50 | Strength-of-schedule rank (per Sagarin/Sports Reference): 146/129

Louisiana (7-1): SP+ rank: 57 | FEI rank: 58 | Sagarin rank: 59 | Strength-of-schedule rank (per Sagarin/Sports Reference): 127/127

What are the big takeaways here?

Cincinnati is going to receive a lot of focus at the top, but their schedule to date isn’t much different than the one they brought along to the initial conversation last year. It stands to reason, then, that the committee might find it hard to drop them considering that the AP poll slotted them in at #7 last November and the committee put the Bearcats in the same spot two days later (unless, of course, that similar SOS is exactly why they’d drop UC; the only other comparable team here is Wake Forest and its #83 Sagarin SOS).

Nearly everyone else has the usual questions about strength of schedule, which could give UTSA a head start as the only other unbeaten team in the bunch. You might be tempted to think the committee would stick the rest in the 20s like they did in 2019, but most of those teams had faced slightly tougher slates overall, too. This seems like a situation where the committee will find any reason for two- or three-loss Power 5 teams to do some leapfrogging.

The lone exception? BYU. The Cougars aren’t unbeaten but there’s little doubt they’ve played a healthy Power 5-laden schedule, so while nothing is guaranteed about their future, don’t be shocked to see the committee treat them like any other two-loss team they’ve ranked in the past.

So what do I think the first top 25 will look like? Read on.

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