football-fbs flag

Beth Maiman | | December 3, 2016

College football playoff rankings: Breaking down the top four teams

The five College Football Playoff rankings were released on Tuesday, giving us a glimpse of what the potential Playoff could look like.

Here we break down each of the top four teams, comparing specific statistics on both sides of the ball to get a better look at what potential matchups could look like. We compared points per game scored and allowed, yards per game collected and allowed, turnovers lost and gained, and offensive and defensive red zone scoring percentage.

We also look at those teams on the bubble and what's left for the rest of their seasons. 

*NOTE: No graphics were updated after Nov. 29, so the statistics reflect games before conference title games were played.*

No. 1 Alabama (12-0)

The Crimson Tide continue to dominate this year, and from a statistical standpoint, the team ranks first in the nation in yards and points allowed per game. The Tide stayed undefeated in the regular season and face the Florida Gators in the SEC title game on Saturday.

No. 2 Ohio State (11-1)

Ohio State held on to the No. 2 spot in the rankings after pulling out a 30-27 double-overtime win over Michigan to conclude the regular season. The Buckeyes currently have the best red zone defense among the teams in the top four. 

RELATEDWhy the initial rankings don't always predict the Playoff

No. 3 Clemson (11-1)

Led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, Clemson looked impressive finishing out the season with a dominating win over South Carolina. The Tigers will have the ACC title game against Virginia Tech to once again try to prove their worth to the committee. 

No. 4 Washington (11-1)

The Huskies took home the Apple Cup in the final game of their regular season, defeating Washington State. Washington then faced No. 9 Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday, defeating the Buffaloes 41-10. This victory may keep the Huskies in the Playoff discussion.  

RELATEDBreaking down the CFP's two-year history

On the Bubble 







No. 5 Michigan (10-2)

No games left on schedule.

No. 6 Wisconsin (10-2)

Next game: vs. Penn State in Big Ten championship game.

RELATED: Title games set

No. 7 Penn State (10-2) 

Next game: vs. Wisconsin in Big Ten championship game.

*Graphics provided by Daniel Wilco |

Undefeated college football teams in 2019

We're keeping track of all the remaining undefeated college football teams for the 2019 season. There are three teams that remain unbeaten.

Alabama tumbles; Utah inching towards top four in Week 15 College Football Playoff rankings

The top four in the College Football Playoff rankings remained the same heading into conference championship week, with Ohio State, LSU, Clemson and Georgia ranking first through fourth, in order.

College football rankings: LSU remains at No. 1 in new AP Top 25 poll; Alabama takes a tumble

LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia remained in the top four of the AP Top 25 college football poll this week, while Alabama and Minnesota fell several spots after losses.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners