The College Football Playoff Committee released its initial 2022 rankings this afternoon, and Oregon found itself - unsurprisingly - on the outside of the Playoff looking in, ranked #8 by the Committee. The Committee seeded Tennessee #1, followed by Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson to round out the Top 4. Michigan and Alabama were #5 and #6, with TCU at #7.
The Ducks were ranked #8 in both the Coaches and AP polls released earlier this week. Oregon has been ranked in one poll or the other - or both - every week this season. The Ducks were ranked #11/#12 in the preseason, but the opening loss to Georgia dropped them to #24 in the Coaches poll and into “Others Receiving Votes” (ORV) in the AP poll.
While the initial CFP rankings are important and can give a sense of how the Committee is valuing various teams and their wins or losses, it is only a first snapshot. There can be a lot of movement of teams up and down in the CFP rankings based on the results of games over the next month. Ultimately, the teams ranked #1 through #4 in the “final” CFP poll will face off in the Semi-Finals and Final for the National Championship.
Oregon has a chance to make a strong case to be included in that final Top 4, but it’s not yet clear how much weight the Committee will assign to the Georgia loss. If the Ducks were to win out, they would be the Pac-12 Champions at 12-1, undefeated in Conference, and would hold late-season victories over CFP #14 Utah and #23 Oregon State, as well as ORV Washington. The Ducks may also face CFP #9 USC (which they don’t play in the Regular Season) in the Pac-12 Championship game if the Trojans win out. Oregon could have a rematch with current #12 UCLA if the Bruins win their rivalry game with USC.
Realistically, Oregon will need some teams currently ranked above them to lose to bolster their case as they’re not likely to jump over any undefeated team. There are still 6 undefeated Power 5 Conference schools. All of the top teams face challenging games on the remainder of their schedules.
The CFP Committee will release new rankings each week going forward, with the final rankings revealed on Sunday, December 4.
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