College Football Playoff rankings: Washington State is 8th, Utah checks in at 15th

Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images | John McCoy/Getty Images

No. 8 Washington State and No. 15 Utah comprise the Pac-12 list of teams in the initial College Football Playoff rankings for the first reveal of 2018. If the College Football Playoff were to begin today, No. 1 Alabama would face No. 4 Notre Dame in one semifinal, while No. 2 Clemson would play No. 3 LSU in the other semi.

 

Washington State

A No. 8 initial CFP ranking seemed unfathomable for the Cougars heading into the 2018 season, but that’s the reality after an impressive 41-38 win at Stanford lifted the Cougs to a 7-1 record. With Gardner Minshew II at quarterback and a much-better-than-expected defense under Tracy Claeys, Washington State appears poised to make a serious push not only for the Pac-12 North (which the Cougs lead), but also a potential serious run at a top-four ranking come December 2. Take a look at the remaining schedule – vs. 5-3 Cal, at 5-3 Colorado, vs. 4-5 Arizona and vs. 6-3 Washington in the Apple Cup – and tell me the Cougs don’t have a legitimate shot at 11-1. Decent teams for sure, but three of the four are at home and no team has looked better in recent weeks than the Cougs. Washington State will be huge Utah fans up until a potential matchup in Santa Clara – the better the Utes do, the better the Cougs’ resume looks (that 28-24 win over Utah in Pullman is looking bigger and better by the week).

 

Utah

From 0-2 in Pac-12 South action heading into a road game at top-15 Stanford to atop the Pac-12 South and in control of their own destiny to the Rose Bowl, welcome to the 2018 Utah Utes football season. Picked to finish second in the South in the preseason, the bandwagon lost a few passengers after losses to the Washington schools, but the Utes bounced back in a big way with four straight wins to achieve bowl eligibility and put itself in the drivers’ seat in the Pac-12 South. As such, the 6-2 Utes sport a nice ranking of No. 15 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. It should be noted that no two-loss team has ever made the College Football Playoff in its first four years of existence, but it should also be noted that the initial 2015 CFP rankings had Oklahoma also at No. 15, and the Sooners went on to the College Football Playoff that season. Who knows, maybe it could happen again in 2018?

Here’s the CFP Top 25 in full:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. LSU
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Michigan
  6. Georgia
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Washington State
  9. Kentucky
  10. Ohio State
  11. Florida
  12. UCF
  13. West Virginia
  14. Penn State
  15. Utah
  16. Iowa
  17. Texas
  18. Mississippi State
  19. Syracuse
  20. Texas A&M
  21. NC State
  22. Boston College
  23. Fresno State
  24. Iowa State
  25. Virginia
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