Alabama (7-1) is sixth, one spot ahead of undefeated TCU.
“At the end of the debate, the committee voted Tennessee No. 1 because of their impressive road win at LSU and their victory over Alabama, and Alabama is a team that the committee respects highly,” Corrigan said. “Ohio State has a powerful offense and a very solid defense, impressive win last week over Penn State. Georgia has been dominant this season, which has been plain to see, in particular the win over Oregon at the start of the season.”
Penn State is the only ranked win for Ohio State or Michigan while Tennessee has beaten Alabama and plays at Georgia this week. The Volunteers also have a win over No. 10 LSU while Georgia beat No. 8 Oregon to open the season.
Clemson has played the ninth-toughest scheduled in the country per the NCAA, which measures by past opponent winning percentage. The Tigers have beaten No. 20 Syracuse, No. 21 Wake Forest and No. 22 N.C. State.
Georgia’s schedule is No. 13 while Tennessee is No. 21, Ohio State is 40th and Michigan is 88th.
The Wolverines can strengthen their resume with a win over No. 16 Illinois on Nov. 19, but regardless they appear to control their own destiny with the Nov. 26 clash against Ohio State set to essentially clinch a spot for them or the Buckeyes if the winner does not stumble against anyone else.
Ohio State could add Illinois to its schedule if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten East and the Fighting Illini win the West to set up a Big Ten Championship Game matchup.
“When we looked at Ohio State, the explosiveness of their offense, averaging 49 points a game, winning games by an average of 32 points, I think that really stood out to the committee,” Corrigan said. “We like Michigan a lot as a committee -- more workmanlike controlling their opponent -- but again, I think there’s a weaker nonconference schedule that was talked about before, and that was part of the determination.”
Alabama has beaten No. 24 Texas and plays LSU this week with No. 11 Mississippi after that.
The Crimson Tide certainly seem to control their own destiny with the ability to beef up its resume with those games and avenge their loss to Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game or add a matchup with Georgia.
TCU’s strength of schedule is 24th. The Horned Frogs have beaten No. 13 Kansas State and No. 18 Oklahoma State with No. 24 Texas still on the docket later this month.
The Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl are set to serve as national semifinals this season. Those games will be played on New Year’s Eve while the championship game is scheduled to be played Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Last year, Ohio State was No. 5 in the initial rankings and moved up to No. 2 by the fourth release.
Their loss to Michigan dropped them to seventh, and they finished No. 6.
The top four last year in the initial rankings were Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State and Oregon. The Bulldogs ended up beating the Crimson Tide in the championship game while the Spartans and Ducks finished 10th and 14th, respectively.
The other members of the 2021 final four — Cincinnati and Michigan — were sixth and seventh in the initial rankings.