The second installment of the College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday, and Cory McCartney doesn’t anticipate many surprises.
“Well, I certainly think it’ll be pretty status quo,” the Fox Sports South college football analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “At the very top (we’ll have) Alabama, Michigan, and Clemson. I think Washington is going to get that push. Everybody was upset about a week ago. I think Ohio State is going to work their way in, and I think Louisville is going to be right there, too. So it looks very similar to a week ago.”
Minus, of course, No. 4 Texas A&M, which McCartney expects to drop roughly ten spots after its 35-28 loss at Mississippi State on Saturday.
After Ohio State, McCartney doesn’t see a lot of teams with championship potential.
“I think that’s probably a pretty fair assessment,” McCartney said. “When you get below Ohio State, you got Wisconsin. I just think there’s enough of a drop between Ohio State down to Wisconsin. If we had a 16-team playoff, it would be hard to imagine any of those teams below the Ohio State level being able to make a run at this thing. I think Auburn has been impressive. I just don’t know how good they really are. I think it’s really setting itself up where we’re going to know very well who the contenders are in the final weeks. I don’t think we’re going to have a team rise up like we’ve the last couple years from the teams that make a run and make the playoffs.”
If you need proof of the lack of depth this year, look no further than Oklahoma, which debuted at No. 14 but could crack the top 10 this week after A&M, Nebraska, Florida and LSU all lost.
“It’s stunning,” McCartney said. “What’s crazy, of course, is their schedule sets up where we could have a legitimate argument for whether or not they should get in. (They have) Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma State (in their) last three games. A strong last month from Oklahoma, things could get really interesting. I think it would be horrible for this season for Oklahoma to be able to squeeze in. They’re just not showing they’re of that class.”
Washington (9-0), meanwhile, should solidify its spot in the top four after a 66-27 win at Cal.
“It’s such a complete team and they just find ways to ultimately overpower everybody. They’e just so head and shoulders above everybody else in that part of the country. They certainly didn’t get a lot of respect last week despite having a top-10 win, but I think they’re going to get (some respect Tuesday) night.”
As for the Heisman Trophy, McCartney, who has a vote, believes Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Jabrill Peppers, Jake Browning an J.T. Barrett are the top contenders.
“I think it really comes down to those guys,” he said.