College Football Playoff Rankings 2020: Experts React to Week 13 Top 25 Poll

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IINovember 25, 2020

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2020, file photo, Alabama coach Nick Saban leads his team to the field before an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this year, extending its record of consecutive seasons with at least one week on top of the rankings to 13. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson, File)
L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

The first official College Football Playoff rankings are out, and though there's still more than a month to go until the semifinals and national championship on Jan. 1 and Jan. 11, the list serves as a solid State of the Union address for the world of NCAA football.

Just four of these teams will get the call to play in the semifinals at the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl, but here's a look at which teams were pegged in the Top 25—and what college football experts had to say about the first of four sets of rankings that will be released before Selection Sunday on Dec. 20.


1. Alabama

2. Notre Dame

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3. Clemson

4. Ohio State

5. Texas A&M

6. Florida

7. Cincinnati

8. Northwestern

9. Georgia

10. Miami 

11. Oklahoma

12. Indiana

13. Iowa State

14. BYU

15. Oregon

16. Wisconsin

17. Texas

18. USC

19. North Carolina

20. Coastal Carolina

21. Marshall

22. Auburn

23. Oklahoma State

24. Iowa

25. Tulsa

The defending champion LSU Tigers are not ranked, which is not a surprise considering their 3-3 record. But their absence from the first Top 25 list is historic. 

Top-ranked Alabama has beaten every opponent in its path by at least 15 points, with the 7-0 Crimson Tide's closest calls coming against Ole Miss (63-48) and Georgia (41-24). Ahead of Saturday's Iron Bowl game against Auburn, the Crimson Tide entered the CFP rankings after earning all 62 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 poll.

It's tough to see how any team can overcome the dominance by Nick Saban and Heisman Trophy contender Mac Jones this season.

The Fighting Irish secured the No. 2 position in the AP Top 25 poll and the first edition of the CFP rankings after a 47-40 overtime defeat of No. 4 Clemson on Nov. 7. They followed that up with a 45-31 victory over Boston College and enter Friday's game against No. 25 North Carolina fresh off a bye week.

After Notre Dame handed Clemson—who was without Trevor Lawrence, the consensus top pick in the upcoming NFL draft—its only loss of the season, the pair will likely meet again for the ACC championship. That result could be the difference-maker in determining where Notre Dame lands on selection day. Even with the loss, the Tigers still managed to take the spot ahead of undefeated Ohio State.

The Buckeyes had a close call against No. 12 Indiana, the only ranked team they're scheduled to face this season. OSU held a commanding 28-7 lead at halftime, but the Hoosiers came back to post a 28-point second half while limiting the Buckeyes to just 14 more points and a scoreless final frame. The near-loss proved that the Heisman contender Justin Fields and the OSU defense, which has allowed an average of 26 points to opponents through four games, will be challenged by opponents at the top of the rankings. 

Despite an undefeated season thus far, BYU pulled in at No. 14. 

The next round of CFP rankings will be released Tuesday.