The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released Tuesday, and here’s a look at how the top five could look, plus the key regular-season games remaining for each team:
1. Alabama (8-0): The Crimson Tide keeps rolling along and appears to be a notch above the rest of college football. The Nov. 3 trip to LSU will be ’Bama’s biggest challenge, though anything goes in the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn.
2. Clemson (7-0): The Tigers served notice by routing previously undefeated North Carolina State, and their path to the playoff is clear, with the biggest challenge being a Nov. 10 trip to Boston College.
3. Notre Dame (7-0): The Fighting Irish have a valuable chip in their back pocket in the form of their victory over Michigan. Trips to Northwestern on Nov. 3 and Southern Cal on Nov. 24 pose tricky tests.
4. Michigan (7-1): Behind their lockdown defense, the Wolverines have convincing wins over Wisconsin and Michigan State. A Nov. 3 visit from Penn State and the Big Game at Ohio State on Nov. 24 will define their season.
5. LSU (7-1): The Tigers are the SEC’s best bet to land a second team in the playoff, and to do so they will have to beat Alabama. The Nov. 24 season-ender at Texas A&M won’t be easy, either.