LSU, Alabama trailing Ohio State in first CFP rankings

AP photo by Vasha Hunt / Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy makes a touchdown catch against Arkansas during the second half of Saturday night's game in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Saturday afternoon's showdown between LSU and Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium will pit the nation's top two teams in this week's Associated Press poll.

It will be a 2-3 matchup as far as the College Football Playoff rankings are concerned.

The Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) claimed the top spot in the first CFP rankings, which were revealed by the 13-member selection committee Tuesday night on ESPN. LSU (8-0) and Alabama (8-0) were next in line, with Penn State (8-0) and defending national champion Clemson (9-0) rounding out the top five.

"We obviously recognized LSU's marquee wins against Florida and Auburn," CFP committee chair and Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens told ESPN, "but when you watch Ohio State, they have performed at a very consistent level. They are really good on both sides of the ball. They have explosive offensive playmakers, and Chase Young is probably as disruptive a defensive player as there is in the country.

"When you look at their resume, they've performed at a consistently high level every week."

Georgia (7-1) was sixth in the inaugural CFP rankings, followed by Oregon (8-1), Utah (8-1), Oklahoma (7-1) and Florida (7-2). Auburn (7-2) checked in at No. 11, giving the Southeastern Conference five of the top 11 teams.

photo AP file photo by Gerald Herbert / LSU coach Ed Orgeron, quarterback Joe Burrow and the rest of the Tigers have an open date this week before visiting Alabama in a pivotal SEC West game on Nov. 9.

Tuesday night's rankings capped a day in which schedule strength was discussed in Clemson and in Tuscaloosa. Neither Alabama nor Clemson has a victory to this point over a team currently in the Top 25 of the AP poll or the CFP rankings, and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney expressed that the two programs are viewed differently in that aspect.

"Who has beat Alabama in the SEC?" Swinney asked reporters. "How many times have they lost the last five years in their conference? Not many. Yet we've had a great run in our conference only because nobody else is good."

As Alabama players continue to prepare for Saturday's showdown, they were asked Tuesday about being able to cruise straight to November.

"We don't make the schedule," junior receiver Henry Ruggs III said in a news conference. "We just play the games that are on it. The only thing we can do to change that narrative is to play the best football we can and prove that we are a top contender."

Alabama announced Tuesday afternoon that Bryant-Denny will open three hours before Saturday's 3:30 EST kickoff due to the heightened security that is expected to accompany the visit from President Donald Trump.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.