College Football Playoff Rankings: Washington Huskies, Clemson Tigers Escape Upsets

College football playoff rankings won’t be that surprising at the top. The first installment of the 2016 college football playoff rankings come out on Tuesday (Nov. 1) and the top four schools have been predicted already by the experts. The entire landscape almost shifted, as the Washington Huskies and Clemson Tigers were losing late in Week 9 games. The Huskies survived against Utah, and Clemson escaped an upset being mounted by Florida State. The playoff picture could have really been muddled if only two schools emerged undefeated from the weekend.

Though there is going to be a lot of debate about the schools contending to be part of the top 10 entering Week 10 of the season, the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll are about to punish the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Baylor Bears for posting losses. Both schools had a chance to crack the Week 1 college football playoff rankings, but instead got upset by Wisconsin and Texas. For the Big 12, this loss will hurt a lot, as Baylor needed to remain undefeated for a realistic shot at crashing the party.

The latest college football rankings had the same teams in the top four spots as what will be reflected in Week 10. The Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan Wolverines, Clemson Tigers, and Washington Huskies have now created separation from the rest of the country, making the path to the College Football Playoff very straightforward. If the four schools win the rest of their games this season, the only thing left to debate about will be how they get seeded in the two-round tournament.

Clemson Beats Florida State
[Image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]

Early college football playoff predictions have been released by most of the major sports sites, giving a look at how the experts feel things are going to look. The CBS projections actually have the Michigan Wolverines losing to the Ohio State Buckeyes, costing the school a spot in the College Football Playoff. The site has Alabama vs. Ohio State and Clemson vs. Washington as the two games. Those matchups predict that UW would improve to No. 3 in the polls following an Ohio State victory over Michigan.

The bowl projections from ESPN have Alabama vs. Washington and Clemson vs. Michigan. Those projections directly follow the rankings from the major polls, with Alabama getting the top seed in the playoff bracket. The prediction suggests that Alabama, Washington, Clemson, and Michigan will each win conference championship games to get invitations to the College Football Playoff. This comes with the prediction that Michigan will beat Ohio State.

There are still a number of pitfalls or trap games that could take down one of the top four teams in the country, with the Ohio State vs. Michigan game top on the list. The 2016 Apple Cup of Washington vs. Washington State could be a tough game for the Huskies, as it will take place in Pullman. Alabama has to deal with two rivals still, with a game against LSU on Nov. 5 and then a season-ender against the Auburn Tigers. Clemson has the easiest remaining schedule, having already beaten Florida State and Louisville to move to 8-0 on the season.

Washington Beats Utah
[Image by George Frey/Getty Images]

Baylor and Nebraska had the best opportunities to really throw a wrench into the whole situation, but Week 9 losses have put both schools in very tough positions. West Virginia also had a chance to remain in the conversation, but the team picked up its first loss of the season against Oklahoma State on Saturday (Oct. 29). Now the road has been cleared for the leading schools to win the rest of their games this season and secure guaranteed spots in the College Football Playoff.

Predicted 2016 College Football Playoff Rankings

1. Alabama
2. Michigan
3. Clemson
4. Washington

[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]