College football rankings reactions: Clemson overrated, Michigan underrated in top 25

College football rankings reactions: Clemson overrated, Michigan underrated in top 25

First edition College Football Playoff Rankings for the 2022 season was announced on Tuesday night, and for the first time since the birth of this current format, Tennessee was named the best team in the country. The Volunteers, currently 8-0 and with a win over no. 6 Alabama below the belt, now looking down at a crucial meeting with no. 3 Georgia on Saturday in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week at 3:30 PM ET.

However, both the Vols and Bulldogs were expected to place in the top four. When it was announced on Tuesday, most of the intrigue centered around the positioning of the three other undefeated teams: Michigan, Clemson and TCU. Well, the Tigers and Wolverines called at no. 4 and 5, respectively, while the Horned Frogs were – controversially for some – behind the Crimson Tide at number 7.

So, who is overrated and who is underrated in the first edition of the CFP rankings? Let’s see.

Overrated: Clemson

It has been difficult to pin down the identity of the Tigers this season. One game, they look like world winners. Next, they look like pretenders. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei he’s improved significantly from last year, but he’s still nowhere near the superstar he was touted as coming out of high school. In fact, the last time we saw the Tigers, Uiagalelei was benched in favor of the heralded freshman Cade Klubnik.

They have wins over no. 20 Syracuseno. 21 Wake Forest and no. 22 NC State, which is nice, but not terribly noteworthy. The non-conference schedule so far has been Furman and Louisiana Tech, which does not contribute to the full strengthening of the Tigers’ case. Clemson made the top four because of its history of success in the CFP era. In reality, it’s impossible to trust this team through an eight game sample.

Underrated: Michigan

What’s against Michigan? A light schedule that includes non-conference wins Colorado StateHawaii and UConn? Okay, but he got through that slate relatively easily. It’s important that teams don’t underplay the competition, and the Wolverines’ only one-goal game was a 34-27 win Maryland September 24. Oh, and it has a much better win than Clemson. The Wolverines dominated No. 15 Penn State 41-17 on Oct. 15, far more impressive than anything Clemson has done.

In the end, it won’t matter. Michigan has games against no. 15 Illinois and no. 2 Ohio State to close out the regular season, which will really tell the story of just how good Jim Harbaugh’s team really is.

Overrated: LSU

I have nothing but love for the Tigers and the job coach Brian Kelly has done in his first year at the helm, but they shouldn’t be a top-ranked two-loss team at this point. The committee likes to talk about how complete teams are, and LSU is still a long way from being mentioned in that discussion. Special teams were terrible and were the main reason the Tigers lost Florida State in Week 1. The passing attack is still rounding into shape, but the quarterback Jayden Daniels he has to show he can light up the stats in the air a little more before this offense can be trusted.

The Tigers won 45-20 over No. 11 Be Miss. Don’t get me wrong, coming back from a 17-3 deficit to dominate the Rebels was impressive, but that’s about the only thing LSU can hang its hat on.

The college football the world seemingly wrote off the Tar Heels in Week 1 when they put up 40 points in the fourth quarter to Appalachian State still found a way to win. That is completely unfair. They have scored 35 or more points in seven of their eight games, and coach Mack Brown has developed a first-year starting quarterback Drake Maye into a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.

45-32 loss to unranked Lady Sept. 24 is the only downside, and while it’s not ideal, it’s not like I’m lobbying for the Tar Heels to be a top-10 team. No. 17, however, is too low for a one-loss Power Five team that dictates its style to its opponent almost every week.

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That’s right: TCU

I had TCU at #7 in mine CBS Sports 131 ballot, and the commission also ranked Horned Frogs there. Yes, they have wins over no. 13 Kansas State and no. 18 Oklahoma Statewhile No. 6 Alabama’s win over No. 24 Texas in Week 2. Arguably the best shot on Alabama’s resume was its last-second three-point loss to top-ranked Tennessee.

That’s fine, but TCU blew itself huge holes against the Wildcats and Cowboys, which is no way to live — at least not for championship-caliber teams. “Game control” is something the committee will look at, and TCU’s game control over the last three weeks has been shaky at best.

“We are looking for a balanced team, attack and defense, and [TCU] fell behind in some games,” said CFP selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan. “They were able to come back and win those games. But when you look at Alabama — in the wins against Mississippi State, at Arkansas, at Texas and obviously the three-point loss at Tennessee — as a committee, we decided to go with Alabama no. 6 and TCU no. 7.”

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. If TCU runs the table, they’ll get in.

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