Entering the 2019 college football season, only four different teams had been ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff Rankings through the first four years of the four-team field: Alabama (18 weeks as the No. 1 team), Clemson (eight weeks), Mississippi State (four weeks), and Georgia (two weeks). LSU (three weeks), and Ohio State (two weeks) joined that quartet last year, and there will be five more opportunities for new No. 1 teams in 2020.
We’ll have to wait at least a week for that to happen; there won’t be a new No. 1 in Tuesday’s rankings, the first of the 2020 season. Alabama earned the top spot in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll in Week 10 after previously top-ranked Clemson lost to Notre Dame in Week 9. And after beating Kentucky this weekend (Alabama is a heavy favorite), the Crimson Tide will earn the top spot in the first College Football Playoff Rankings.
If Alabama lands the No. 1 spot in Tuesday’s rankings, the Crimson Tide will own the same number of No. 1 rankings as the other 129 FBS teams combined (19). Prior to last season, Alabama had never been ranked worse than sixth, where they sat in the first-ever rankings in 2014 before climbing to first two weeks later. However, after a loss to Auburn in last year’s regular-season finale, the Tide dropped to No. 12 and fell another spot to No. 13 in the final rankings.
Prior to ranking 12th in the Week 14 Rankings, Alabama’s average rank was 2.25 in the first 34 editions of the playoff rankings, by far the best in the country. Even after the late-season tumble into the teens, Alabama’s average rank of 2.81 still leads all teams, and they’re one of only two teams to appear in all 37 rankings (Ohio State). Both Alabama and Ohio State sit atop the current national championship odds, narrowly above Clemson and far above Notre Dame, Florida and others.
The first College Football Playoff Rankings will be revealed on ESPN on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Andrew Doughty hosts the High Motor podcast and covers college football and college basketball for HERO Sports. A Kansas (B.S. Sport Management) and Memphis grad (M.A. Journalism), Andrew is also a Junior Writer for Sports Illustrated and has published work on SB Nation and Bleacher Report.