With the college football playoff picture shaping up slightly, the first poll of the season was released tonight. The field of contenders has narrowed, and teams from the Power 5 like Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, LSU and Michigan have made a claim for why they deserve a spot in the playoff.
Currently, the SEC has two teams in the Top 4 with one closely on the outside looking in. Clemson is the ACC’s lone team up top while the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 have a few teams in the mix.
Those teams and more have caught the committee’s attention and round out the rest of the poll.
Teams By Conference
As 10 weeks of the season have gone by, there are several usual suspects that have landed near the top. While it may be early for rankings, fans will get a look at where the committee sees certain teams and how they’ve performed thus far.
In the SEC, West division teams Alabama (8-0) and LSU (7-1) are in the Top 4 together in the latest poll. The two powers have an upcoming matchup Saturday in Baton Rouge that will have an impact on positioning and which team will earn a berth in the SEC championship. Slightly lower in the poll is Georgia (7-1) at No. 6, and the Bulldogs are coming off a 36-17 win over rival Florida last weekend.
Kentucky (7-1) earned its way into the Top 10, while No. 11 Florida (6-2), No. 18 Mississippi State (5-3) and No. 20 Texas A&M (5-3) round the rest of the Top 25 for the SEC. The Wildcats and Gators have several more opportunities to climb higher in the polls and shake things up in terms of positioning. Most notably, Kentucky will face a big test and host Georgia this weekend.
Over in the ACC, Clemson (8-0), one of the other remaining undefeated teams in the Power Five, sits right behind Alabama. The Tigers find themselves in a similar spot, but the team ahead of them gave the committee good reasoning to keep them right up top.
Alabama has yet to hit a speed bump this season (scored 50-plus points in all but two games) and has a firm hold on the first spot.
Other ACC teams in the mix include No. 19 Syracuse (6-2), No. 21 NC State (5-2), No. 22 Boston College (6-2) and No. 25 Virginia (6-2), which notched a win over Miami (Hurricanes) earlier in the year.
Switching to the Big 10, Michigan (7-1) leads the way at No. 5 after recent wins over Wisconsin and rival Michigan State. Ohio State (7-1) may have dropped a tough loss on the road to Purdue, but the Buckeyes find themselves at No. 10. And with two losses on the board and a close win at home over Iowa last weekend, Penn State (6-2) landed at No. 14.
On the flip side, Iowa (6-2) isn’t far behind the Nittany Lions, as the Hawkeyes landed at No. 16 to round it out for the Big 10.
Two teams from the Pac-12 made it into the latest poll, as Washington State (7-1) earned a spot in the Top 10 at No. 8 and Utah (6-2) landed at No. 15. The Cougars delivered a huge home win over ranked Oregon two weekends ago and notched a close road victory over Stanford on Saturday.
The Big 12 has several teams in the mix, including No. 7 Oklahoma (7-1). The Sooners have put up some major points against their opponents this season and have a few more opportunities to sling it out the rest of the way. No. 13 West Virginia (6-1), No. 17 Texas and No. 24 Iowa State (4-3), with upset wins over West Virginia and Oklahoma State, have earned spots to round it out for the Big 12.
In terms of independents or teams in other conferences, Notre Dame leads the way at No. 4. The Fighting Irish is one of the other undefeated Power Five teams and has earned a Top 4 ranking, though one spot below LSU (compared to the AP Top 25 poll). No. 12 UCF also remains undefeated, and Fresno State (7-1) comes in with its resume at No. 23.