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Fox Sports’ Tim Brando weighs in after first College Football Playoff rankings
November 03 2023, 08:00

When the College Football Playoff committee released the first of six rankings Tuesday, some were surprised to see which program topped the list. 

Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the CFP ranking with Georgia, Michigan and Florida State rounding out the top four. 

The Bulldogs, who have been the No. 1 team in The Associated Press Top 25 for 20 consecutive weeks, were relegated to the second spot in the only poll that matters. 

The committee clearly took strength of schedule into consideration for the first ranking of the year, and Ohio State’s two wins over top-10 opponents were more impressive than Georgia’s less-than-impressive schedule and lone win over an AP Top 25 opponent in No. 20 Kentucky. 


"They had the big win at Notre Dame, the win over Penn State, top-5 defense," CFP Chairman Boo Corrigan said, according to Sporting News. "They have difference makers on offense across the board. Marvin Harrison is elite. We came to the conclusion that they are No. 1." 

Ohio State’s spot at the top was a bit of a surprise to those who believed Georgia, or even Michigan, should get top billing. 

Tim Brando, a Fox Sports college football play-by-play man, was not surprised by the results of the first rankings of the year. 

"Nothing is going to change with the College Football committee as long as we have four teams," Brando told Fox News Digital in a phone interview. "They will gerrymander the process because they’re human beings. It’s easy to use strength of schedule in the very first College Football Playoff standings. And they’ll always use it there. 

"Ohio State has played Notre Dame nonconference and does have a win recently over Penn State. Their body of work clearly means that they should be No. 1."

While Brando understands the committee using Ohio State’s strength of schedule to rank it first after beating two top-10 schools, he pointed to the same approach not being used for ranking Florida State, which defeated No. 5 LSU in Week 1 and No. 16 Duke. 


"That same principle of strength of schedule that applies to Ohio State does not apply to Florida State. They’ve been bad now for a number of years. So, forget that they played LSU nonconference. That doesn't matter quite as much," Brando said with a chuckle. 

"They will almost always, the first two or three weeks of the poll coming out, they will always make it look good to make it look as though they are taking all these benign and nebulous paragraphs that they have in their very vague mission statement with the playoff and say, ‘We’re utilizing all of these.’ But they’ll use them for some schools but not others. And it does boggle the minds of those that haven’t followed it religiously like I have."

"One thing you can be rest assured is that, at the end, they will always err on the side of the brand name. So, the bigger the name of the school, the bigger the television draw, the more likely that team gets the benefit of the doubt. Without question," Brando said while pointing to why college football teams needs to go to a 12-team and eventually a 16-team playoff. 

As far as Georgia, which has only played one ranked team through the first nine weeks of the season, the next three weeks against Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee will be the toughest stretch of the year for Kirby Smart’s squad. 

"Georgia has not been tested," Brando said of the Bulldogs. "The SEC is not up and down as good a league this year as it’s been in the past. Now, that’s sort of aided and abetted Georgia to some extent. 

"I can’t get that Auburn game out of my mind," Brando said of Georgia’s close win on the road over an Auburn team that's now 4-4. "Played at their place and without Brock Bowers and his own individual efforts that day, they don’t win that game. And Bowers is their No. 1 playmaker. And now he’s gone for the next three to four weeks. They don’t have the same receiving corps they had a year ago. 


"I do think Carson Beck has improved mightily. I’m impressed with him. I wasn't terribly impressed until those wins against Kentucky, especially, and Florida. I thought he played a lot better in those two games. 

Brando has Michigan ahead of the Bulldogs due to what he says is Georgia playing down to the level of its opponents, at least in the early part of the season. 

"In my mind, they’ve played not to their own standards but to the standards of their opposition," Brando told Fox News Digital. "And that’s why I’ve had Michigan even with their bad schedule. And their schedule is equally bad. It’s every bit as bad as Georgia’s, but Michigan’s point differential in their games is 38 points. That blows away their nearest competitor to point differential in the outcomes of their games.

"So, you have to say Michigan has played to a standard that they have set, not what their opposition has set," Brando said, adding that Michigan has not been pushed in games like Georgia has, at least early in the year. 

Week 10 of the college football season is a loaded slate with five matchups between Top 25 teams.