College Football Playoff: The case for No. 1 and No. 4

Tight end Princeton Fant and his Tennessee teammates could find themselves No. 1 when the CFP rankings come out Tuesday. Randy Sartin/USA TODAY Sports

When the College Football Playoff selection committee meets Monday for the first time this season, it will have several things to debate, starting at No. 1. Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio State each have a strong case.

It doesn't stop there, though.

The selection committee also must determine who's No. 4, where Michigan, Clemson and one-loss Alabama are in the mix. Then there's the matter of setting the board for other playoff hopefuls.

The first of six rankings will be announced Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN), and while the list can and will change as the season continues to unfold, the committee's initial top 25 has relevance. According to ESPN's Stats & Information Group, 18 of 32 teams that eventually made the CFP were ranked in the initial top four. Seven of those teams (2015 Alabama, 2016 Clemson, 2017 Alabama, 2018 Clemson, 2019 LSU, 2020 Alabama and 2021 Georgia) went on to win the national title.

The selection committee now has nine weeks of résumés and game film to evaluate. It has every game and statistic at its fingertips, thanks to CFP-issued iPads and binders. When the committee meets this week at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, here's what members will consider as they vote through electronic secret ballots for the first time: