There's a clear top dog in college football. LSU, which arguably should have been No. 1 headed into the Game of the Century of the Year against Alabama, showed a superiority and poise rarely on display at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Anyone paying any attention should be as excited as Coach O about this team and all its objective attractiveness as a protagonist.
After that, though, discerning the College Football Playoff rankings becomes a sketchier proposition. That tends to happen when 50 percent of the top four lose on a single Saturday. But nothing great was every done without taking risk, so let's try anyway.
Number one with a bullet. The Tigers usurped SEC West supremacy and made a Nick Saban defense look like a sieve. Joe Burrow's Heisman Trophy campaign could probably survive a Gary Hart-like scandal at this point. As a team, LSU could probably survive losing the conference championship game and still get in. No one in the country comes close to the quality wins Ed Orgeron's side has (at Texas, at Bama, Florida). No team may come close by regular season's end.
2. Ohio State
Just another day at the office for the Buckeyes, who could name their score against Maryland and settled on 73-14. Ryan Day's club has yet to be involved in a competitive game and, by eye test, is the most fearsome. The loss of Chase Young won't matter next week against Rutgers (TRIPLE DIGIT WATCH, FOLKS) but could against Penn State and Michigan. Nothing this year has raised any doubts about OSU's greatness and they have a spot as long as it stays that way.
All of that handwringing over the Tigers entry into the rankings at No. 5 was a pretty silly, right? Now they'll be third, where they belong. Honestly, I'm not sure if I've ever been less interested in the discourse surrounding a topic. The Tigers are in if they win out, and not if they don't.
They are the best one-loss team and that loss came to the No. 1 team in the country. We've all grown tired of the community creating backdoor scenarios for the Tide to make it into the playoff despite not winning the SEC, so it's important to point out that this is basically a placeholder. Barring something unforeseen, the Tide will only be able to add an Auburn victory to their resume. Minnesota, Georgia, Utah, Oregon, and perhaps even Oklahoma have the ability to leapfrog them with marquee wins. Bama does not control its destiny in the slightest so this is a very hollow ranking.
Cry all you want about how the Gophers haven't played anyone. They passed their first big test of the season in flying colors and have won all their games in a Big Boy conference. Remaining dates with Iowa, Wisconsin, and likely Ohio State will flesh out if P.J. Fleck's energetic guys are pretenders or contenders.
The Bulldogs play a suffocating brand of defense but the offense has been a work in progress all season. Kirby Smart's team is in good position for a win-and-your in game against LSU in Atlanta. There are worse paths.
A brutally-physical roster imposes its will on opponents. Choking away perfection against Auburn in Week 1 will likely prove to be fatal to their CFB Playoff hopes, but the Ducks will be a matchup problem if they get in.
The Sooners needed a stop on a two-point play to beat Iowa State and, once again, are porous defensively. There's still some hope in Norman, but it's extremely slim.
The rest, who probably need miracles but we'll include anyway:
No. 9 Utah
No. 10 Penn State
No. 11 Florida
No. 12 Baylor