Miami Hurricanes set to make College Football Playoff rankings debut

CHAPEL HILL, NC – OCTOBER 28: Michael Jackson #28 of the Miami Hurricanes intercepts a pass intended for Anthony Ratliff-Williams #17 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Miami won 24-19. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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Since the College Football Playoff rankings debuted in 2014, a total of 54 teams have made at least one appearance.

The list includes familiar names — Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and so on — and others not known to have powerhouse programs. In the first three seasons of the new system, Duke, Pitt and Toledo have spent multiple weeks in the rankings.

Miami is about to join the fray.

The Hurricanes (7-0, 5-0 ACC) are set to make their CFP rankings debut Tuesday. The reveal show begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

There are six editions of the rankings, with the final coming Dec. 3, the day after the conference championship games. The top four of those rankings are paired for Jan. 1 College Football Playoff semifinals. The winners of those games play in the national championship Jan. 8 in Atlanta.

We previously laid out Miami’s path to a top-four finish. Essentially, Miami may need to win out, since losing to Virginia Tech this week could leave them out of the ACC championship, and losing to Notre Dame would likely bolster the Irish’s impressive resume enough to boost them over an ACC-champion Miami. The Hurricanes are one of four Power 5 unbeaten teams, but have won their last four games by a combined 18 points and their best win of the season, to this point, is arguably over Toledo (7-1). Other than an ACC title matchup, Miami is likely to have two chances to beat ranked teams (Virginia Tech, Notre Dame) the rest of the way.

Where will UM be ranked Tuesday? It’s likely to earn a top-10 spot, since Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin and UCF are the only other unbeaten teams in the country. One-loss Ohio State, Notre Dame, Clemson, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Penn State have strong resumes.

The selection committee weighs league titles, strength of schedule, head-to-head (if possible) and common opponents, does not look at sportswriter polls, and treats “nuanced mathematical formulas” with a degree of skepticism (though it does consider metrics).

That said, Miami was ranked ninth in the Associated Press top 25 and sixth in the coaches’ poll.

In the first three years of the CFP rankings, 34 programs have spent at least one week in the top 10. A total of 76 programs, including Miami, were not ranked.

The full schedule of rankings shows (all on ESPN):

  • Tuesday, Oct. 31 –  7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7 – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 14 – 9 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 21 – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 28 – 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 3 – 12 p.m.

For fun, here’s how the CFP’s first-edition top four looked in the previous three years, and how they finished:

  • Oct. 28, 2014: No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Auburn, No. 4 Ole Miss
  • Dec. 7, 2014: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 Ohio State
  • Nov. 3, 2015: No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Alabama
  • Dec. 6, 2015: No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Michigan State, No. 4 Oklahoma
  • Nov. 1, 2016: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Texas A&M
  • Dec. 4, 2016: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Washington

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