First College Football Playoff Rankings of 2017 Season to be Released Tuesday

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McShay has Alabama at No. 1, Georgia at No. 2, Clemson at No. 3 and Notre Dame at No. 4. The Fighting Irish have beaten teams by an average of 27 points per contest.

He'll likely be receiving a gift on Tuesday from the College Football Playoff committee, in the form of Alabama being ranked #1 in the first poll of the season. If ESPN analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are correct, there's going to be a lot of happy Notre Dame fans.

Wisconsin and Miami are the remaining unbeatens from Power Five conferences. In the kind of interesting interregional matchup the committee tends to reward, Georgia, then ranked a middling No. 15 by the Associated Press panel, won by 20-19 at No. 24 Notre Dame, which fell to 1-1 coming off a 4-8 season of 2016. Furthermore, the committee strongly prioritizes teams who win their conference outright and will award teams for the quality of their wins and losses. But if the Cardinal, featuring Heisman-candidate running back Bryce Love, finishes with consecutive wins over Washington State, Washington, Cal, Notre Dame, and the Pac-12 South winner-giving them (in this scenario) ten consecutive wins overall-they could very well secure one of the four playoff spots in the process.

That's 11 teams for two spots, an even dozen if you'd like to include twice-beaten Iowa State, which, oh by the way, defeated Oklahoma and TCU. The year before that, there were 3 unbeaten teams at this point but only 1 by the end of the regular season.

Among the once-beatens, Notre Dame, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State stand above. I think Alabama is the better team, but as for the first ranking, the Bulldogs have a slight resume edge.

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I think Clemson could be ranked ahead of Notre Dame, but it depends on how good the committee thinks NC State is, as well.

An impressive win over LSU Saturday could move the Tide from No. 2 to No. 1 in the second rankings of the season. The Bulldogs also have a win over No. 21 Mississippi State.

Penn State is close behind at 24th and 13th, but the Nittany Lions' signature victory, a home dismantling of MI, doesn't match what Notre Dame and Clemson have accomplished.

With the South Florida loss, the path for Central Florida to reach another major bowl in their program history seems quite clear, no slip-ups and they will be headed to a New Year's Six Bowl.

The Nittany Lions' only blemish is that one-point game in Columbus, but they don't have any marquee wins either. Their loss came to Syracuse in Carrier Dome with their starting Quarterback injured. A win against Texas would be double the pleasure in this sense. The Sooners went into Columbus and blasted the Buckeyes. Every one of those teams made the championship game in the BCS era or the playoff in the CFP era, except for Auburn in 2004.

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