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Predicting What Tonight's College Football Playoff Rankings Will Look Like

There’s likely to be a major shakeup in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings top 10.

CFB Playoff logo promotion.

The 3rd rankings come out tonight.

The top five teams in last week’s poll held serve this past weekend, but there was some serious craziness among the teams below them. Four of the teams ranked in the top 10 fell – No. 6 Baylor to No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 7 Stanford to Oregon, No. 9 LSU to Arkansas, No. 10 Utah to Arizona. Some of the top teams didn’t look so great, either – No. 1 Clemson squeaked past Syracuse, 37-27, while No. 5 Iowa escaped Minnesota, 40-35.

What’s the College Football Playoff committee going to do this week? Find out at 9:30 p.m. E.T., when the third rankings of the season get unveiled on ESPN.

You probably don’t want to wait that long to find out what they’ll look like, though. We’re here to help with that.

Here’s our projected College Football Playoff rankings top 10 for this week:

10. Michigan (8-2) 

Plain Maze and Blue Michigan logo.

It seems crazy to think that a two-loss Big Ten team could make the field, but the Wolverines are going to continue to creep up the rankings. With the Pac-12 falling out of the race and Notre Dame having a potential loss remaining on its schedule, Michigan getting in isn’t that absurd an idea. If Jim Harbaugh’s team can beat Ohio State at the end of the regular season and find its way into the Big Ten championship game, Michigan will have a pretty strong case to make the playoff.

9. Michigan State (9-1)

plain green Michigan State spartans Logo.

This is the week the Spartans have had circled on their schedule since the end of last season. Michigan State gets Ohio State in Columbus. It’s the game of the week (and maybe the season for the Big Ten). ESPN’s College GameDay will be in attendance. If Mark Dantonio’s squad can get it done and win out, it’ll be in the College Football Playoff. Michigan State needs to play a lot better Saturday than it has in previous weeks if that’s going to happen, though.

8. Florida (9-1) 

There are two SEC teams remaining in the College Football Playoff hunt – the Gators and the team that we think will be No. 1 in this week’s rankings. Florida hasn’t looked great in recent weeks, but it’s continued to win and that’s really all that matters. The defense is certainly up to par, but do the Gators have the offense necessary to knock off the SEC West champion in the title game? We’ll see, but Florida has to get past Florida State at the end of the regular season before it can start to worry about that.

7. Oklahoma (9-1) 

Some have been comparing the Sooners to last year’s Ohio State team, which overcame a bad early season loss to make the playoff (and win it) thanks to a dominant stretch at the end of the regular season. Oklahoma started what could be a dominant end-of-regular-season stretch this past Saturday, beating No. 6 Baylor in Waco, Texas. Bob Stoops’ squad has two more tough tests to pass – vs. TCU, at Oklahoma State – but this team is starting to look playoff-worthy.

6. Oklahoma State (10-0) 

Oklahoma State mascot.

The undefeated Cowboys will almost certainly still be on the outside looking in this week, but it doesn’t matter – winning out will definitely get Mike Gundy’s team into the playoff. OSU is set up better to do that than rival Oklahoma, too – the Cowboys get Baylor at home this weekend before hosting the Sooners in a Bedlam contest that might be the biggest ever in the rivalry.

5. Iowa (10-0) 

There were likely thousands of Hawkeye-haters getting ready to say “I told you so!” this past Saturday, but Iowa didn’t let that happen, scraping by Minnesota, 40-35, to remain undefeated. Kirk Ferentz’s team should get to 11-0, as it hosts Purdue this Saturday, but getting to 12-0 could prove more difficult than previously thought. A trip to Lincoln, Neb. looks fairly daunting. The Huskers (5-6) are starting to play pretty well under Mike Riley and will be fighting for their bowl lives. We can’t wait for that one.

This week’s College Football Playoff field:

No. 4, ??? >>>

4. Notre Dame (9-1)

You’d think a team currently ranked in the top four would just have to win out to make the field, but we’re not quite sure of that with the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame has two things going against it:

  1. It doesn’t get the opportunity to play in a conference championship game, unlike the three teams ranked ahead of it.
  2. There really isn’t a “great” win on its schedule. We thought that great win could be at Stanford, but the Cardinal now have two losses and are out of the playoff race.

">November 14, 2015

If either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State wins out (and the three teams ranked ahead of Notre Dame do the same) the Fighting Irish could be the one-loss team that’s left out of the playoff.Next: No. 3, ??? >>>3. Ohio State (10-0)For as talented as the Buckeyes are (an absurd amount of Ohio State players will be taken in this year’s NFL Draft), Urban Meyer’s team hasn’t really looked the part through 10 games. We expect that to change this weekend.Ohio State is set to host Michigan State on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. E.T. It’s, obviously, an incredibly massive home game for the Buckeyes. We think it’ll be a breakout contest for Meyer’s squad, too.

">November 16, 2015

Under Meyer, OSU hasn’t lost a Big 10 home game. It hasn’t even really been challenged in a primetime Big 10 contest under the three-time national champion head coach, either. Meyer knows how to get his team to play its best when it matters and it really matters this weekend.

Look for J.T. Barrett and Co. to put on a show at The Horseshoe.

Next: No. 2, ??? >>>

2. Clemson (10-0)

Yep, we think the Tigers will drop out of their No. 1 ranking. Dabo Swinney’s team didn’t look too hot at Syracuse this weekend and we expect that’ll prompt the committee to put the team it thinks is the best in the country at the top of the rankings.

It’s OK, though.

Clemson still remains incredibly likely to make the playoff. The Tigers have Wake Forest and South Carolina – two probable victories - left on their regular season schedule, before facing North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game. The Tar Heels are better than most think, but Clemson should be able to get it done.

">November 7, 2015

If Clemson isn’t 13-0 and in the playoff as a top-two seed, we’ll be surprised.Next: No. 1, ??? >>>1. Alabama (9-1)Yes, the Crimson Tide have a loss – a home defeat at the hands of Ole Miss. Forget about that, though. Alabama’s the best team in the country right now and deserving of a No. 1 ranking.Since losing to the Rebels, Nick Saban’s team is 7-0 with double-digit victories against four ranked teams, three of which were ranked in the top 10. This past weekend, it made easy work of No. 17 Mississippi State on the road, defeating the Bulldogs by 25 points. There’s something to be said for some of the teams Alabama’s played being a bit overrated, but the Crimson Tide were so dominant it doesn’t really matter.

">@AlabamaFTBL wins in Starkville, 31-6 over Mississippi State

— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL)

.@AlabamaFTBL wins in Starkville, 31-6 over Mississippi State

— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) November 15, 2015

">November 15, 2015

The committee clearly loves Alabama and with Clemson struggling this past weekend, we think it’ll take the chance to rank the Crimson Tide No. 1.