This is the week 2 edition of Campus Pressbox’s College Football Playoff Rankings. To check out last week’s inaugural rankings, click here. Bracketed numbers represent last week’s rank for that specific team.
Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
‘Bama unsurprisingly tops this list for the second consecutive week. There was no way that the Crimson Tide was going to lose its grip on the top spot unless it faltered heavily against Western Kentucky. Alabama didn’t struggle whatsoever against the Hilltoppers (despite Lane Kiffin’s scolding), so the Tide were an easy pick at #1. Ole Miss, a team who has upset the Crimson Tide multiple times in the past awaits on Saturday. But until then, there is no doubt that Alabama is both the best team in college football and an easy pick to make the college football playoff at this point in the season.
Florida State Seminoles (2)
FSU had the easiest matchup of week 2, as the Seminoles faced off against an FCS team who suspended 14 of its players for the matchup over a pretty ridiculous infraction. The ‘Noles unsurprisingly dominated, and maintain its spot as the two seed in the college football playoff. FSU has a big challenge this week, as it travels to Papa John’s Cardinals Stadium to face 9th ranked Louisville.
The Ohio State Buckeyes (4)
Ohio State will finally be challenged in week 3, as the Buckeyes have to travel to Norman, Oklahoma to beat a very talented Sooners squad who are hungry to bounce back after losing to UH. This game will be one of the best of the week. J.T. Barrett has been phenomenal for the Buckeyes thus far, and even though we won’t see the true might of Ohio State until Saturday, the Buckeyes definitely deserve its spot in the CFP right now.
Houston Cougars (6)
The Cougars followed up its gargantuan win vs Oklahoma with a dismantling of Lamar. This box score should be what many of its box scores look like the rest of the season. Houston looks like it has a very real chance of going undefeated, and if it does, the Cougars will absolutely be one of the four teams competing for the College Football Championship. The big games remaining for the Cougars are not until later in the season.
Michigan Wolverines (5)
Everything which I wrote about Ohio State goes almost identically for the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines first challenge really is this weekend, as it has to beat a Colorado team that has proven itself to be legitimate so far this season. Michigan, in my eyes, is the team on this list (not counting the teams who are facing ranked opponents) whose the most likely to be upset in week 3. The Wolverines have an absolute gauntlet to run through the rest of the season, so its spot on this list means nothing until Michigan begins to rack up wins proving it can fight off a Big Ten that is starting to look like the best conference in College Football this year.
Clemson Tigers (3)
Oh, how the mighty have
fallen faltered. Incredibly, despite the fact that it hasn’t even lost a game, Clemson has fallen four spots in the last two weeks, purely due to the fact that it hasn’t shown up to play in either game. Watching what should be a powerhouse Clemson offense struggle has been painful. Considering the results from the last two weeks, it is 100% essential now that the Tigers beat the Seminoles in Tallahassee in a few weeks’ time if Clemson is to have any chance of finishing the season in the top 4. At this point, Clemson’s odds to make the CFP are shrinking rapidly, and the Tigers will have to do a lot on Saturday to prevent more teams from jumping over the biggest disappointment of 2016.
Wisconsin’s move into the top 10 this week has more to do with week 1 than week 2. Though the Badgers 44-point win over the Akron Zips was impressive, the hype around this football team is purely a result of its win over LSU. Wisconsin isn’t close to being in the CFP yet, as the Badgers literally play the four other elite Big Ten teams all in a row in October (and then play Nebraska the next week to boot). If somehow, Wisconsin manages to beat Michigan St, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa all in a row, then the Badgers would be guaranteed a spot in this year’s College Football Playoff.
Stanford Cardinal (7)
Stanford dropped a spot in the rankings this week almost entirely due to the growing momentum around the Wisconsin Badgers. But that’s not to take anything away from Stanford. The Cardinal is still an incredibly elite squad. A weakened Pac-12 seems to give Stanford at least an outside shot at making the College Football Playoff if it keeps up last year’s level of play throughout the season. And an ever-explosive Christian McCaffrey means that Stanford could absolutely keep up its momentum. McCaffrey remains possibly the only player in college football who could singlehandedly bring his team to the CFP.
Louisville is the biggest jumper in this week’s rankings. Last week, Louisville wasn’t even in the honorable mentions, and I had the Cardinals ranked around 16. However, a Heisman performance from Lamar Jackson over Syracuse, a team that was competitive in a lot of big games last year, allowed UL to leap frog right onto this list. Louisville has a tough road ahead, with what looks like its biggest game of the season this weekend as the Cardinals host FSU. I don’t think “the ‘Ville” will be able to come out of this game with a win, but it goes without saying that, this game, in terms of Louisville’s CFP hopes, is an absolute must win.
Capping off this week’s list is the Washington Huskies, who have had two easy wins in the season thus far, over Rutgers and then Idaho. The Huskies offense shined, putting up at least 48 points in each. Washington will have another assured win this weekend against Portland St., but then the schedule heats up. I would be very surprised if the Huskies manage to knock off Stanford on September 30th, but if that does happen, Washington would become the Pac-12 only real hope at making it into the College Football Playoff.
Drop Outs and Honorable Mentions
TCU lost its eighth ranking due to its loss to Arkansas Saturday night. Tennessee, despite an impressive win, still sounded some alarms due to a slow start to the game against VT. There are still far too many questions to validate Tennessee remaining a top 10 contender for the College Football Playoff. Michigan State, due to inactivity, dropped in favor of teams that had much better performances than the Spartans uninspired win over Furman in week 1. Teams that just missed this week’s list also include Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma.