Rankings ahoy! The College Football Playoff rankings, the first set of college football rankings that actually matter (even if they won't really matter until about a month from now) were released on Tuesday night and Iowa was represented. The Hawkeyes checked in at #18... exactly the same as the AP and Coaches Polls.
This is the third straight season that Iowa has appeared in the CFP rankings at least once and the fourth time in the last five seasons. Obviously, with two losses, Iowa's odds of making the College Football Playoff are extremely remote -- they'd need to win their last four regular season games, beat Ohio State or Penn State in the Big Ten Championship Game, and get quite a bit of help in terms of other results -- but the CFP rankings aren't just about the Playoff. The rankings are also used to determine the match-ups for the other New Year's Six bowls. As Mike noted in the bowl projections, due to the rotation of the Playoff bowls and the conference contracts with the New Year's Six bowls, there are fewer at-large spots than normal, which will complicate Iowa's hopes of getting one. There's really just one thing Iowa can do: keep winning and see how things turn out.
Meanwhile, the overall College Football Playoff rankings had a few surprises at the top of the rankings.
Ohio State appearing at #1 atop the rankings is notable for a few reasons -- one, the AP and Coaches Polls had LSU and Alabama there, and two, it's the first time ever a Big Ten team has been ranked #1 in the College Football Playoff rankings at any point. (Ohio State won the Playoff in 2014, but they were never #1 in those rankings.) In fact, it's the first time a team that wasn't from the SEC or the ACC has been ranked #1 in the CFP rankings.
The rankings include two Big Ten and two SEC teams in the top four and leave defending national champion -- and still undefeated -- Clemson out in the cold, but that doesn't really matter at this point. LSU and Alabama -- #2 and #3 here -- are set to play this week and Ohio State and Penn State -- #1 and #4 -- will play in two weeks. So those teams in the top four are going to eat some losses and provide opportunities for teams below them to move up. If Clemson runs the table in the ACC, they'll be one of the Top Four and in the Playoff.
Georgia at #6 raises the specter of the SEC getting two teams into the Playoff again; if they win out and beat LSU/Bama in the SEC Championship Game, then the Dawgs would definitely be in and it's not a stretch to think that the loser of that title game (LSU/Bama) wouldn't fall out of the Top Four, either. The Big Ten also has a decent shot of putting two teams into the Playoff, given the high placement of OSU and PSU here; it really depends how far the loser of that game drops. What that all means is that if you're Utah/Oregon or Oklahoma, you have no margin of error -- and you're going to need some help.
The Playoff selection committee also showed that they aren't big fans yet of the teams scorned by the "_____ ain't played no one" crowd yet, putting 8-0 Baylor at #12 and 8-0 Minnesota at #17. Both teams will be fine if they take care of business -- they'll face plenty of real tests in November -- but they're not getting any benefit of the doubt for managing the first two months of the season without a loss.