The first College Football Playoff ranking of the season has Ohio State debuting at No. 1 and defending national champion Clemson on the outside looking in. It’s Ohio State’s first No. 1 ranking in the CFP era (since 2014). The Buckeyes are followed by No. 2 LSU and No. 3 Alabama, who have been ranked either first or second in the AP poll for the past four weeks and will face each other in a blockbuster matchup Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Penn State rounds out the top four, leapfrogging No. 5 Clemson — which was ranked fourth in the AP poll. The Nittany Lions, in the top four for the first time in school history, will face unbeaten No. 17 Minnesota on Saturday.
At No. 12, Baylor is the only other undefeated team in the CFP ranking. No. 6 Georgia leads a pack of one-loss teams, followed by No. 7 Oregon, No. 8 Utah and No. 9 Oklahoma. No. 10 Florida, fresh off a close loss to Georgia, is the highest-ranked two-loss team and only the third to be ranked in the top 10 in the initial rankings. The Gators are followed closely by No. 11 Auburn. No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 14 Michigan and No. 18 Iowa round things out for the Big Ten. Oklahoma State, which was not included in the AP poll, comes in at No. 23 — taking the place of San Diego State.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 15, followed by fellow 6-2 team Kansas State at No. 16. No. 19 Wake Forest, included in the CFP ranking for the first time, joins Clemson as the only other ACC team represented. There are five Group of 5 teams in the committee’s initial ranking: No. 20 Cincinnati, No. 22 Boise State, No. 21 Memphis, No. 24 Navy and No. 25 SMU. That’s the most in any week during the CFP era.
The 13-member committee will produce four more sets of rankings each Tuesday before the final list is released on Sunday, Dec. 8.