- Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.
This year’s College Football Playoff is bringing some welcome new blood to the proceedings. Yes, Alabama is involved once more — Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide have been part of seven of eight CFPs and are the top seed for the fifth time — but Georgia is participating for only the second time, and two schools, Michigan and Cincinnati, are making their playoff debuts.
This means that 13 programs have now qualified for the CFP. While we wait to see if a fifth school can join the list of CFP champions alongside Bama (three times), Clemson (twice), Ohio State (once) and LSU (once), let’s rank all 32 teams that have been part of the mix to date. And because Cincinnati has become the first team from a Group of Five conference to reach the CFP, we’ll rank recent history’s best non-power conference teams as well.
I derived this list, as I usually do, through a combination of numbers (primarily, my SP+ ratings) and my personal opinions. Start with the stats, then adjust for actual CFP performance and any other criteria that feels relevant. To the list!
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