The mad dash to the finish line is on as we approach December 20th, the day that the Selection Committee will decide on the 4-team College Football Playoff field. In the coming weeks we will have teams making their case for selection by staying perfect, winning their conference or by putting up as many “style points” as they can. We can surely expect chaos as we will see many rivalry games and rematches in the conference championships. Not to mention the confusion that will come into play due to the fact that not every team has played the same number of games. The only certainty we can expect over the next two weeks is that this will be a season to remember. As always, contact the Rahl Reviews sports staff on Twitter (@RahlBets) to give us any feedback or suggestions that you may have regarding our Top 25! We look forward to hearing your remarks! Enjoy!
1. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (9-0) CFP RANK: 1
I’m not gonna lie, when WR Jaylen Waddle went down for the season, I thought it would diminish Alabama’s passing attack. Maybe not a ton, but at least a little bit. It has not. QB Mac Jones currently has the 2nd best Heisman odds. WR Devonta Smith probably has the best odds when you exclude QBs. They both boosted their stats against rival LSU on Saturday night in Death Valley. Jones had 385 yards along with 4 TDs. Smith caught 3 of those TDs as he racked up 231 receiving yards on 8 receptions. These two guys may be the deadliest duo in the country.
This Week: at Arkansas
Game Lines: Alabama -31 / 68
2. NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (10-0) CFP RANK: 2
The Irish have successfully finished the regular season undefeated. That could possibly be enough to get them into the playoff. Even if they lose to Clemson in the ACC Championship, their regular season victory over the Tigers could be enough to secure them a playoff berth. It may depend on what happens to some of the teams ranked immediately below the top 4.
This Week: BYE -> ACC CHAMPIONSHIP 12/19
Game Lines: N/A
3. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (5-0) CFP RANK: 4
It looks like the Selection Committee’s decision to drop Ohio State below Clemson in the CFP rankings really upset the Buckeyes. They took that frustration out on Michigan State. The Buckeyes strolled into East Lansing and hung 52 points on the Spartans. QB Justin Fields showcased his legs in this game by running for 104 yards and 2 TDs. He added another 2 TDs through the air. Ohio State will be looking to clinch a spot in the Big Ten Championship game next week when they take on Michigan in “The Game”.
This Week: vs Michigan
Game Lines: Ohio State -28 / 67.5
4. CLEMSON TIGERS (9-1) CFP RANK: 3
Clemson has 2 weeks to prepare for the ACC Championship Game. They will play Notre Dame, giving us a rematch of one of the best college football games of the year. I would imagine that the word “revenge” will be used quite often in the next 14 days, as Clemson looks to avenge their lone loss, which was handed to them by the Irish. There will be a huge difference between these games, as Clemson was without QB Trevor Lawrence in their regular season meeting.
This Week: BYE -> ACC CHAMPIONSHIP 12/19
Game Lines: N/A
5. TEXAS A&M AGGIES (7-1) CFP RANK: 5
The Aggies continue to do what they need to do to keep their playoff hopes alive. They have 2 games remaining, in which they will certainly be favored. Ultimately, however, their fate is out of their hands. Even if they win out and the dominos fall their way, their playoff destiny will be decided by the Selection Committee. It is hard to say if they will have done enough to make the playoff as a team who did not win their conference.
This Week: PPD
Game Lines: N/A
6. FLORIDA GATORS (8-1) CFP RANK: 6
The matchup is set. Florida will play Alabama for the SEC Championship on December 19th in Atlanta. A win would almost certainly put the Gators in the College Football Playoff, as long as they do not falter against LSU this Saturday. The Florida-Alabama matchup is extremely exciting. Not only does it have major playoff implications, but it will feature the top 2 Heisman contenders going head-to-head as Florida QB Kyle Trask will face off against his Alabama counterpart Mac Jones.
This Week: vs LSU
Game Lines: Florida -23 / 69.5
7. CINCINNATI BEARCATS (8-0) CFP RANK: 8
It is hard not to think that all this time off has been hurting Cincinnati. Any time that you are taken out of the spotlight it hurts your reputation, and Cincinnati has been absent from the field since November 21st. They will have to make a splashy return this week when they travel to take on #17 Tulsa to keep any kind of playoff or NY6 hopes alive.
This Week: at #17 Tulsa
Game Lines: Cincinnati -13 / 46.5
8. MIAMI HURRICANES (8-1) CFP RANK: 10
Miami is back! You hear that before every season. Well, they are back, just not in the way that the phrase is meant. They are just back in action. After a 3-week hiatus, the Hurricanes traveled to Durham and put a shellacking on Duke. Miami’s defense forced 5 turnovers and allowed only 177 yards on their way to a 48-0 victory over Duke. Now that they are eliminated from ACC Championship contention, they will focus on winning their final 2 games to secure as good of a bowl berth as possible.
This Week: vs #19 North Carolina
Game Lines: Miami -4 / 63.5
9. IOWA STATE CYCLONES (8-2) CFP RANK: 7
Iowa State looks more impressive each and every week. They secured a spot in the Big 12 Championship where they will face Oklahoma for the 2nd time this season. They did this after absolutely shelling a very respectable West Virginia team 42-6. With both Iowa State and Oklahoma improving as we get deeper into the season, their rematch is shaping up to be an exciting one.
This Week: BYE -> BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP 12/19
Game Lines: N/A
10. INDIANA HOOSIERS (6-1) CFP RANK: 12
This Hoosiers team is one of the biggest surprises of the season. I do not think anyone expected them to be 6-1 at this point of the season. Certainly, nobody expected for 3 of those wins to be against ranked opponents. They were 13-point underdogs on Saturday when they traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers. They proceeded to make the oddsmakers look foolish as they completely shut down Wisconsin, allowing only 6 points (2 FGs). This season has been a huge leap forward for this program.
This Week: vs Purdue
Game Lines: Indiana -13 / 54.5
11. OKLAHOMA SOONERS (7-2) CFP RANK: 11
The Sooners may not have gone out and throttled Baylor like expected, but it also never felt like it was possible for them to lose that game. You don’t expect for games between Oklahoma & Baylor to end with only 41 combined points, but that is what happened in Norman on Saturday. This felt like a good game for their defense to build on, as they will now prepare to take on West Virginia in Morgantown before facing Iowa State in the Big 12 title game.
This Week: at West Virginia
Game Lines: Oklahoma -11 / 58
12. COASTAL CAROLINA CHANTICLEERS (10-0) CFP RANK: 13
What a week for the Chanticleers! After scheduling the game only 3 days prior to kickoff, Coastal Carolina, a 10-point underdog, upset #8 BYU in a game that garnered a ton of attention nationwide. The Chants message was clear – they are for real. The game had a climatic finish. BYU advanced the ball deep into Coastal Carolina territory on the final drive. On the final play of the game QB Zach Wilson completed a pass near the goal line to WR Dax Milne. As he pushed for the end zone, Chanticleers defenders brought him down on the 1-yard line as time expired. This game saving tackle ended BYU’s perfect season, and effectively Zach Wilson’s Heisman campaign. Coastal Carolina now looks to remain undefeated against Troy before they try to add a conference championship to their resumé. They will play Louisiana for the Sun Belt Championship on December 19th.
This Week: at Troy
Game Lines: Coastal Carolina -14 / 51.5
13. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (6-2) CFP RANK: 9
A bye week for the Bulldogs, combined with the performances of Indiana & Coastal Carolina, has them slipping 2 spots in my rankings. Georgia will be back on the field this Saturday when they travel to take on Missouri as they look to finish the season strong.
This Week: at Missouri
Game Lines: Georgia -13.5 / 52.5
14. USC TROJANS (4-0) CFP RANK: 15
The Trojans and QB Kedon Slovis are starting to come together quite nicely. After defeating Utah by 16 two weeks ago, USC defeated Washington State by 25 on Sunday night, winning by a score of 38-13. The Trojans pounced on the Cougars early and easily thwarted any kind of a comeback effort with their staunch defense. Slovis threw 4 TDs in the 1st quarter and tossed another one in the 2nd quarter en route to throwing for 287 yards, 5 TDs and 0 INTs. The Trojans appear to be the front-runner to win the PAC-12 and will look to remain undefeated when they take on UCLA in their regular season finale this weekend.
This Week: at UCLA
Game Lines: USC -3 / 62.5
15. NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS (5-1) CFP RANK: 14
Northwestern was off this week but managed to clinch a spot in the Big Ten Championship game thanks to Wisconsin’s loss to Indiana. They will look to end the season with only 1 loss when they host Illinois on Saturday, before shifting their focus to presumably Ohio State, who they will meet in Indianapolis.
This Week: vs Illinois
Game Lines: Northwestern -14.5 / 46.5
16. BYU COUGARS (9-1) CFP RANK: 18
I will give them credit. BYU managed to live up to their “Any team, any time, any place” mantra when they traveled to South Carolina to take on Coastal Carolina with just 3 days notice. Maybe they are wishing they hadn’t. Their perfect season came up a yard short. A lot of people are ridiculing them by saying “they got what they asked for”. That is a bit harsh considering not many teams would take on a challenge like that. Not to mention they gave the nation a show with a game that was spectacularly entertaining.
This Week: vs San Diego State
Game Lines: BYU -15.5 / 49.5
17. TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE (6-1) CFP RANK: 24
Tulsa continued their strong play with a 19-6 victory over Navy. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but they got it done, mainly due to their defense. They limited Navy to only 153 yards, partly thanks to their 5 sacks. They will have their work cut out for them this week when they host #7 Cincinnati. They will need to continue their fierce defensive effort and put up some points if they want to take down the Bearcats.
This Week: vs #7 Cincinnati
Game Lines: Tulsa +13 / 46.5
18. LOUISIANA RAGIN’ CAJUNS (9-1) CFP RANK: 19
A missed 30-yard FG attempt with 1 second left gave Louisiana a win over Appalachian State in a game that featured heavy rain. The Ragin’ Cajuns forced 3 turnovers to help keep Appalachian State in check. They now look ahead to Coastal Carolina, who they will be playing for the Sun Belt Conference Championship. This will be a rematch of a game that Louisiana lost 30-27 on October 14th.
This Week: BYE -> SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP 12/19
Game Lines: N/A
19. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (7-3) CFP RANK: 17
North Carolina cruised to a 40-point victory over Western Carolina on Saturday in what functioned as a “tune-up game” in preparation for their regular season finale vs #8 Miami. A win this week would be the Tar Heels’ signature win of the 2020 season. This would give an additional boost in national attention and recruiting for a program that is already on the rise in both categories.
This Week: at #8 Miami
Game Lines: North Carolina +4 / 63.5
20. BUFFALO BULLS (4-0) CFP RANK: N/R
The Bulls and RB Jaret Patterson had a well-deserved bye week after scoring 70 points against Kent State. Patterson had over 400 yards and 8 TDs in that game. I’m very anxious to see how he follows up that performance when Buffalo plays Akron this Saturday.
This Week: vs Akron
Game Lines: Buffalo -33.5 / 61.5
21. IOWA HAWKEYES (5-2) CFP RANK: 16
Iowa maintained their win streak this past Saturday when they defeated Illinois 35-21. After falling behind 14-0 early, the Hawkeyes rallied and scored the next 35 points before eventually allowing another TD in garbage time. They will look to finish their season with 6 straight wins when they host #22 Wisconsin this weekend.
This Week: vs #22 Wisconsin
Game Lines: Iowa -3 / 43.5
22. WISCONSIN BADGERS (2-2) CFP RANK: N/R
A season that started with so much promise is quickly turning into a nightmare for Wisconsin. After winning each of their first 2 games by 38 points and scoring 45+ in both of them, the Badgers have dropped their last 2 games, combining for only 13 points and 1 TD. QB Graham Mertz & company will look to get back on track and end their season with a victory over #21 Iowa, who will be their third ranked opponent in as many games.
This Week: at #21 Iowa
Game Lines: Wisconsin +3 / 43.5
23. LIBERTY FLAMES (9-1) CFP RANK: N/R
After canceling their game vs Coastal Carolina due to COVID-19 concerns, Liberty’s regular season has ended, with them amassing an admirable record of 9-1. They will now wait for a bowl berth and will hope to end the season in the top 25.
This Week: N/A
Game Lines: N/A
24. TEXAS LONGHORNS (6-3) CFP RANK: 20
An up & down season for Texas continued with a positive performance on Saturday. Tom Herman’s team waltzed into Manhattan, Kansas and proceeded to hang 69 points on Kansas State. This avalanche of a victory comes at a good time for Herman, as there are swirling rumors that Urban Meyer will replace him as Texas’ head coach. While Meyer has since shut down any possibility of him taking the Texas job, Herman’s bottom must be burning considering there are talks of replacing him.
This Week: at Kansas
Game Lines: Texas -30.5 / 62
25. COLORADO BUFFALOES (4-0) CFP RANK: 21
Colorado has been an unexpected surprise in the PAC-12. They will take on Utah this Friday to try and remain unbeaten. They will need outside help, however, in order to win the PAC-12 South division and secure a berth in the PAC-12 Championship Game.