Nov 2, 2022 - Sports

First CFP poll adds hype to clash of No. 1-ranked teams

Data: CFP; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tennessee debuted at No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, with Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson rounding out the top four.

Why it matters: Tennessee has never even been ranked in the CFP top four, much less No. 1. Not bad for a team just two years removed from going 3-7.

  • Seven of the eight teams that sat atop the season's first rankings have ended up in the CFP.
  • Only Mississippi State in 2014, the CFP's first year, missed out.

The intrigue: Clemson at No. 4 was a bit of a surprise, with many fans and pundits assuming Michigan was a top-four shoo-in.

"If those two teams played next Saturday on a neutral field, you'd be hard pressed to find any oddsmaker or predictive metrics system that believes the Tigers would beat the Wolverines. ESPN's FPI would have Michigan favored by 4.1 points. Bill Connelly's SP+ would have the Wolverines favored by 9.9."
— Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic ($)

State of play: This first batch of CFP rankings looks quite similar to the AP poll, with 11 teams receiving the same ranking in both.

  • No. 24 Texas the only CFP team who is unranked by AP (they took AP No. 23 Liberty's spot).
  • No. 10 LSU (AP No. 15) is the only school whose CFP ranking is more than two spots apart from their AP ranking.

Looking ahead: The Vols debuting ahead of the Bulldogs creates even more hype around Saturday's blockbuster: AP No. 1 Georgia vs. CFP No. 1 Tennessee.

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