Rankings are dumb. There’s an inherent significance put on a “top 25” team when, in reality, the margin between team No. 22 and team No. 28 is effectively zero.
Similarly, rankings suggest some level of certainty that team No. 3 is better than team No. 4, when in fact we have no real evidence of that at the moment.
So instead, the smartest way to order teams this time of year is in tiers. There are some teams that we’re pretty confident are great. There are some that look just a tick behind that. There are some that are pretty good but with lots more to prove. And there are some that are solid opponents, and certainly not pushovers, but also aren’t at all likely to make a run at the playoff.
So that’s how we’re setting this up. Here’s how it looks after Week 2.
TIER ONE: Elite (Teams that are on track for the playoff)
(6) Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Georgia, Wisconsin
TIER TWO: Pretty, pretty good (Teams that have playoff ability, but not quite there yet)
(4) Mississippi State, Auburn, Boise State, Washington
TIER THREE: On the margins (Teams in the conversation but with lots of work to do)
(13) Notre Dame, LSU, TCU, Stanford, Penn State, Oregon, UCF, BC, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Houston, Oklahoma State
TIER FOUR: Quality win for top 3 tiers (Teams that a win against them are legit resume boosters)
(18) Utah, A&M, Michigan, Ole Miss, Florida, Michigan State, Arizona State, South Carolina, Iowa, USC, Colorado, Duke, USF, Wake, NC State, Kentucky, Maryland, FAU