The four teams expected to be atop the initial College Football Playoff rankings announced on Tuesday landed in those slots.
As Adam Rittenberg noted for ESPN, the Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0) are No. 1, followed by the 8-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The 7-1 Clemson Tigers, who fell to Notre Dame on Nov. 7 without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence (COVID-19) in the lineup that Saturday evening, are No. 3. That left the 4-0 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 4 and possessing the final playoff berth heading into Thanksgiving weekend.
The 5-1 Texas A&M Aggies and 6-1 Florida Gators round out the top six. The Cincinnati Bearcats (8-0) and Northwestern Wildcats (5-0) are two surprising unbeaten teams that make up the remainder of the top eight and that are well within reach of the coveted spots, depending on what happens over the final weeks of a season unlike any other.
Ohio State and fellow Big Ten teams didn't begin their seasons until the weekend of Oct. 24 because the conference originally postponed its campaign until at least January due to the coronavirus pandemic. That fact coupled with Ohio State beating the Indiana Hoosiers 42-35 this past Saturday may have dropped the Buckeyes to fourth overall.
The selection committee will release future playoff rankings every Tuesday through Dec. 15, with the final rankings set to be unveiled Dec. 20 following conference title games.