Ryan Mayer

The college football season has past its midway point and entered the month that traditionally brings us the most chaos of any on the calendar: November. With the first week of November comes our first official rankings from the good folks at the College Football Playoff committee. These rankings are the only ones that truly matter from here on out.

As I pointed out in a column last week and on Monday, these are just the first rankings of the year. In the first two years of these rankings, only three of the teams that appeared in the Top 4 spots in the first official rankings of the year went on to make the playoff that season. Last year, it was Clemson and Alabama who debuted at #1 and #4 respectively. In 2014, it was the Florida State Seminoles who were #3 in the initial rankings who ended the year in the Top 4.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get to this year’s teams that are in those top four spots.

1) Alabama (8-0)

2) Clemson (8-0)

3) Michigan (8-0)

4) Texas A&M (7-1)

The lone Power 5 undefeated team left out of the top four spots? Washington. The Huskies check in at #5 in the initial rankings, and fans of the Pac-12 are likely going to be upset. However, a reminder, we have never seen the first rankings of the year hold true to form at the end of the season. So, Huskies fans, take a deep breath. Now, for the rest of the rankings.

5 Washington (8-0)

6 Ohio State (7-1)

7 Louisville (7-1)

8 Wisconsin (6-2)

9 Auburn (6-2)

10 Nebraska (7-1)

11 Florida (6-1)

12 Penn State (6-2)

13 LSU (5-2)

14 Oklahoma (6-2)

15 Colorado

16 Utah (7-2)

17 Baylor (6-1)

18 Oklahoma State (6-2)

19 Virginia Tech (6-2)

20 West Virginia (6-1)

21 North Carolina (6-2)

22 Florida State (5-3)

23 Western Michigan (8-0)

24 Boise State (7-1)

25 Washington State (6-2)

A couple of other notes.

-Penn State got a huge boost in the committee’s eyes from the win over Ohio State as the Nittany Lions checked in at #12 after being ranked by the AP at #20.

-Western Michigan, the lone remaining undefeated in the Group of 5 checks in at #23, six spots below their AP ranking.

-The AP and committee seem to agree on Auburn. After a rough start to the year for Gus Malzahn and company, they’ve now stormed their way back into the national conversation with five straight wins. They’re ranked ninth here and were eleventh in the AP rankings this week.

-The Big 12 looks to be in big trouble. The highest ranked team is Oklahoma, which just snuck inside the Top 15 at #14. Baylor (#17), Oklahoma State (#18) and West Virginia (#20) round out the conference’s ranked teams. It looks like the conference will need absolute chaos at the top in order to get into the playoff by the end of the year.

Once again, it’s just the first set of rankings. Debate them, enjoy them, and watch them morph come Saturday.

Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.