Huskies Insider Blog

Washington Huskies debut at No. 5 in first College Football Playoff rankings

Washington coach Chris Petersen shouts to his team during the Huskies’ 31-24 win over Utah in Salt Lake City. Washington debuted at No. 5 on Tuesday in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Washington coach Chris Petersen shouts to his team during the Huskies’ 31-24 win over Utah in Salt Lake City. Washington debuted at No. 5 on Tuesday in the College Football Playoff rankings. AP

Somewhat surprisingly, the undefeated Washington Huskies debuted at No. 5 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season, as announced live on ESPN on Tuesday night.

Most analysts seemed to think UW, at 8-0, would debut at No. 4, the same ranking it holds in the AP top 25 and coaches polls. But the No. 4 spot instead went to Texas A&M (7-1), the only one-loss team in the initial top four. Alabama debuted at No. 1, Clemson debuted at No. 2 and Michigan debuted at No. 3. Each is unbeaten.

The top four teams in the final rankings on Dec. 4 will advance to the national semifinals, with the No. 1 seed facing the No. 4 seed, and No. 2 facing No. 3. New rankings will be released each Tuesday until that date.

Washington’s strength of schedule has been criticized all season, and it didn’t impress the CFP committee, either, as committee chairman Kirby Hocutt confirmed afterward during an interview on the ESPN telecast. Hocutt noted that Texas A&M has defeated four teams with records of .500 or better, while the Huskies have only two (Utah and Stanford). Famed sports data guru Jeff Sagarin ranks UW’s strength of schedule 69th in the country, compared to Texas A&M’s ranking of 23rd.

The Huskies, though, are undefeated, and have won six of their eight games by a margin of 24 or more points. But the Aggies’ only loss was on the road to No. 1 Alabama, 33-14, and they have a victory over No. 9 Auburn.

Three other Pac-12 teams were included in the initial 25: Colorado at No. 15, Utah at No. 16 and Washington State at No. 25. Utah is the only top-25 team the Huskies have beaten this season.

Here are the full initial rankings:

1 Alabama 8-0

2 Clemson 8-0

3 Michigan 8-0

4 Texas A&M 7-1

5 Washington 8-0

6 Ohio State 7-1

7 Louisville 7-1

8 Wisconsin 6-2

9 Auburn 6-2

10 Nebraska 7-1

11 Florida 6-1

12 Penn State 6-2

13 LSU 5-2

14 Oklahoma 6-2

15 Colorado 6-2

16 Utah 7-2

17 Baylor 6-1

18 Oklahoma State 6-2

19 Virginia Tech 6-2

20 West Virginia 6-1

21 North Carolina 6-2

22 Florida State 5-3

23 Western Michigan 8-0

24 Boise State 7-1

25 Washington State 6-2

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