The College Football Playoff selection committee has eight undefeated Power 5 teams to compare in its first of five rankings -- and half of them are in the Pac-12, which began its season in November and has a much smaller sample.
Add undefeated BYU and Cincinnati to the debate -- and don't forget Northwestern! -- and Tuesday's Top 25 reveal (7 p.m. ET/ESPN) could get interesting. The first ranking gives fans, coaches and teams insight into where contenders stand at the onset, how much work they have to do and what factors carry weight with this particular group of committee members.
Will they honor the head-to-head result of Texas A&M over Florida, or will Kyle Trask's recent performances be too impressive to ignore? Will Ohio State pass the so-called "eye test" after surrendering three turnovers and allowing almost 500 passing yards? Will the committee value Cincinnati's résumé enough to put the Bearcats on the bubble ahead of one-loss Power 5 teams?
About the only guarantee is that somebody's going to be angry. Somebody is always angry with this subjective system, and with the uneven schedules to compare, it's going to be more difficult to rank teams, let alone justify decisions. The CFP released a document on Sunday to help explain how the committee will evaluate teams in the midst of a pandemic:
"The more games played, the more chances a team has to prove itself to the committee. If the committee feels the 7-1 team has more quality wins despite one loss, it will factor that into its rankings. If it feels the 3-0 team's undefeated start is more impressive, it will factor that into its rankings."
Here's a look at what each of the top teams should be hoping for -- and what might give them cause for concern.