2020 College Football Playoff Rankings Analysis

COVID-19 has changed the way we do many things and that includes college football power rankings The release of the first College Football Playoff rankings of this season came Tuesday night and at first glance, things look the same as ever. Then you dive into the rankings and see how fun this playoff season is going to be!

Alabama comes in at No. 1 with Notre Dame behind them, followed by Clemson in the number three spot. Some of the usual teams make it in as well, such as Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Coastal Carolina… wait, Coastal Carolina?


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Yep, the first power rankings released are taking into consideration team records, what games they may have missed due to COVID-19, adjusted schedules for their conferences, and more. That means there’s a nice mix of traditional powerhouses and other schools taking the opportunity to flex some gridiron muscle.

Here are the first released rankings followed by their record so far in 2020.

#1: Alabama (SEC) 7-0

#2: Notre Dame (ACC) 8-0

#3: Clemson (ACC) 7-1

#4: Ohio State (Big 10) 4-0

#5: Texas A&M (SEC) 5-1

#6: Florida (SEC) 6-1

#7: Cincinnati (AAC) 8-0

#8: Northwestern (Big 10) 5-0

#9: Georgia (SEC) 5-2

#10: Miami (FL) (ACC) 7-1

#11: Oklahoma (Big 12) 6-2

#12: Indiana (Big 10) 4-1

#13: Iowa State (Big 12) 6-2

#14: BYU (Ind.) 9-0

#15: Oregon (PAC 12) 3-0

#16: Wisconsin (Big 10) 2-1

#17: Texas (Big 12) 5-2

#18: Southern Cal (PAC 12) 3-0

#19: North Carolina (ACC) 6-2

#20: Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt) 8-0

#21: Marshall (C-USA) 7-0

#22: Auburn (SEC) 5-2

#23: Oklahoma State (Big 12) 5-2

#24: Iowa (AAC) 3-2

#25: Tulsa (AAC) 5-1

Rankings by Conference - View our college football standings.

SEC – 5

ACC – 4

AAC – 3

Big 10 – 4

Big 12 – 4

Pac 12 – 2

C-USA – 1

Sun Belt – 1

Independent – 1


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Alabama Number One

If there was ever an obvious number one in college football rankings this may be the year. Alabama comes into the first official ranking undefeated with possibly one of the strongest schedules – meaning the SEC! Their average score per game is 49.4. The SEC has five programs in the top-25.

Notre Dame This Year’s Big News

Notre Dame generally plays as an Independent but jumped full-time into the ACC this season due to COVID-19. They have been a basketball member of the ACC for many years. The move demanded a full ACC schedule which they have aced which included a win over Clemson. This season the Fighting Irish have been powerful and seem to be getting the respect they deserve.

The Fun Aspect of the Rankings

You have to love teams like Coastal Carolina and Marshall coming into the top-25. These teams, and many others, are having the opportunity to flex their muscle and show off some of the skilled players on their rosters. Who knows how long any program will be nationally ranked? But how often can Marshall and Coastal Carolina say they are ranked higher than an SEC powerhouse like Auburn? There’s something special about that.

The Ugly

This is my opinion, and it deals with teams that have not played all of their games… and may not. My example is Ohio State. Don’t get me wrong, they have won four games. But they’ve only played four games this season heading into the first rankings. Somehow I don’t see how that works. Georgia and Auburn are both 5 – 2, against quality SEC teams. Oregon is in the top-25 with only three games and three wins.

I guess it all comes down to the numbers and strength of the conference, etc, etc. But I think that somehow this year will have an * attached to it despite the amazing job that conferences, programs, coaches, and student-athletes have put into playing safely during a pandemic.

Check out all of our winning college football week 13 predictions.

About the Author

Kent Whitaker is an award-winning author, culinary writer and sports writer. Whitaker's books range from BBQ, Grilling, Tailgating and additional culinary titles to WWII history books, books about NASCAR and racing and titles for kids.

Whitaker, known as “the Deck Chef,” has a culinary, history and journalism background. He credits this for his cookbook writing style. “My books are people based. I interview, gather recipes from real people and sources – and combine the recipes with back-stories. My cookbooks are slices of culinary history.”

Whitaker can also be found on TV, Radio, Print, and as a celebrity spokesperson. He has appeared on radio and TV including Food Network. He’s the Emeril Live Barbecue Contest winner and columnist for the National Barbecue News.

Whitaker has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, ARCA Racing, The NFL, SEC Football, Professional Golf and more. His books include:

·      Great American Grilling – Ultimate Backyard Barbecue and Tailgating

·      The Gulf Coast Seafood Cookbook

·      Smoke in the Mountains - The Art of Appalachian Barbecue

·      Checkered Flag Cooking - Tailgating Stock Car Racing

·      The Hometown Cookbook Series; The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, as well as Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.

·      The USS Alabama - The History of the Mighty A

·      Talladega Superspeedway

·      Bullets and Bread - Feeding the Greats and Grunts of WWII

·      Big Mo's Tennis Ball Hunt

·       Why Are the Mountains Smokey?

Kent has worked with several brands as spokesperson. Companies include Check Mark, ALPO, TimberTech, Vermont Castings, Pabst Blue Ribbon, E.H. Campbell Trading, Big Show Foods, and others. Whitaker, and his wife Allyson, hosted a NASCAR and racing themed show on ESPN Radio for several years. That show has morphed into a weekly short format tailgate show heard on over 50 affiliates nationwide.

Kent is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and severed on the National Staff as an AUXCHEF/AUX Food Service Specialist and National Branch Chief.

Kent and his wife Allyson live in Tennessee and have one ARMY Strong son, Macee. You can visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com and Twitter/Instagram @thekentwhitaker.