College Football Playoff Rankings prediction: USC moves to No. 4; Georgia, Michigan, TCU all but lock up bids

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    The regular-season portion of the 2022 college football season has reached its conclusion with Rivalry Week creating a lot more clarity that we were expecting. That was due in large part to upset losses by LSU and Clemson, which eliminated each of them from consideration for the College Football Playoff.

    That does not mean that the CFP Selection Committee will have an easy job, though. There will still be difficult and important decisions to be made that could still impact the playoff and certainly the New Year’s Six matchups.

    Before we get to the rankings themselves, here’s a refresher listing some of key points the committee members consider when deciding a team’s ranking beyond their on-field record:

    • Strength of schedule
    • Conference championships (when decided)
    • Head-to-head
    • Results vs. common opponents
    • Results vs. ranked opponents

    Thankfully, the committee’s definition of “ranked opponents” is different than what you’re used to seeing. The rankings they use are the prior week’s CFP Rankings. They do not consider where teams are ranked when the games were played either in the CFP, AP Top 25, etc. Using game-time rankings is the most worthless way to determine “ranked opponents;” in fact, the committee specifically forbids the use of any poll that has a preseason starting point.

    Notice that “game control” is not listed in the criteria. It never has been considered despite the term (or similar concepts) coming out of the mouth of the committee chairman at times the last few full seasons. (The CFP does not have a way to measure “game control” — I’ve seen the data the committee uses — but let’s not kid ourselves: They do talk about it.)

    With all that in mind, here is how the CFP Rankings will look this week. Remember: This is not necessarily how I would vote if I were on the committee. I am merely predicting what they will do Tuesday night.

    Note: This projection is based only on results to this point. It does not reflect the final forecast for the playoff. The complete bowl playoff and bowl projections through the end of the season can be found here.

    College Football Playoff Rankings prediction

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