The College Football Playoff committee released its first of five official rankings Tuesday, with Ohio State taking the top spot and Penn State somewhat surprisingly coming in at No. 4, one spot ahead of Clemson.
Why it matters: In every year of the playoff except for the first one, a team in the CFP committee's initial top four rankings won the national championship.
- The lone exception was 2014 Ohio State, which debuted at No. 16 before making the playoff and ultimately winning it all.
The state of play:
- Top 10: Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, Penn State, Clemson, Georgia, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, Florida.
- AP Poll (to compare): LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Penn State, Georgia, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, Florida.
- Clemson is fine: The defending champs entered the season as the preseason No. 1, and despite not losing a game, find themselves at No. 5. That stings, but if the Tigers win out as one might expect (toughest test is No. 19 Wake Forest), they're a virtual lock to make the playoff because of all the movement set to take place ahead of them.
- Looking ahead: These rankings will change dramatically over the next three weeks, with the top four teams set to face off. No. 2 LSU travels to No. 3 Alabama this weekend, and No. 4 Penn State travels to No. 1 Ohio State in two weeks (after a tough test against No. 17 Minnesota on Saturday).