1. Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC)
It isn't particularly close. Alabama has won every game by at least 22 points and is led by top Heisman Trophy contender Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. The 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Jalen Hurts, comes off the bench. Yes, the defense isn't as a good as it usually is and they haven't really played anyone yet, but right now no one touches the Tide.
2. Notre Dame (8-0)
I have Notre Dame ahead of Clemson and LSU, while the committee is lower on the Irish. In my mind, Notre Dame has played a tougher schedule than either Tigers team and has been pushed just once since Ian Book took over at quarterback. The Irish beat a Top 5 team – Michigan – with their backup quarterback. The matchup against Northwestern will be tough, especially if Drue Tranquill can't play, but this Notre Dame team seems better-prepared for the spotlight than last year's.
3. Clemson (8-0, 5-0)
The margin between Notre Dame and the Tigers is razor-thin, though Clemson made its case with a 59-10 pounding of Florida State on Saturday. The Tigers give up just 3.94 yards per play, No. 2 in the country behind Michigan, but they also start a freshman at quarterback – albeit a super-talented one in Trevor Lawrence – and barely beat Syracuse at home a month ago.
4. LSU (7-1, 4-1)
The Tigers have easily the best resume of the one-loss teams, boasting wins over Miami, Auburn, No. 21 Mississippi State and No. 6 Georgia. Their loss is acceptable – a 27-19 defeat at No. 13 Florida – and they only give up 15.1 points per game, No. 7 in the country. LSU also boasts two running backs who have racked up more than 500 yards already. The No. 1 Crimson Tide visit Baton Rouge on Saturday.
Just missed: Michigan