Everyone's paranoid about the College Football Playoff, but that's exactly what we wanted. Who deserves to be in the top four? Martin Rickman ranks his playoff teams and the rest of the top 25 in this week's college football Power Rankings.

By Martin Rickman
December 02, 2014

As a college English major always looking for independent studies in order to spend more time off campus covering the football and basketball teams, the idea of an honors thesis appeared to be the perfect plan. I was already writing, so what damage could more writing do? Plus I was getting a bunch of credits and never had to step in a classroom!

Like many college kids, I didn’t quite think things through. My thesis was on paranoia in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, and after immersing in the text on the third or fourth reading, I started to get paranoid myself. Somewhere in between a rambling essay written after about 13 PBRs at the Blue Moon Diner in Charlottesville and wandering around Little Havana in a haze after Wake Forest was upset by Cleveland State at the NCAA tournament in March, I lost myself a little bit. Okay, I lost myself a lot.

That’s how I’ve started to feel this late in the season.

(O Brave New World.,

That Has Such Playoffs In’t)

So my mind drifted back to that spring and honed in on a quote from Gravity’s Rainbow that sums up we college football fans in the first year of the College Football Playoff better than anything I can write. “Paranoids are not paranoids because they’re paranoid,” Pynchon writes, “but because they keep putting themselves, f****** idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.”

We asked for this. We got exactly what we asked for. Now it’s time to see what hath college football wrought.

• ELLIS: Bowl Projections: Who's likely to make the playoff, all bowls?

1
Alabama Crimson Tide
1
11-1
Last game: Beat Auburn, 55-44Next game: Saturday vs. Missouri (SEC Championship)
2
Florida State Seminoles
2
12-0
Last game: Beat Florida, 24-19Next game: Saturday vs. Georgia Tech (ACC championship)
3
Oregon Ducks
3
11-1
Last game: Beat Oregon State, 47-19Next game: Friday vs. Arizona (Pac-12 championship)
4
Baylor Bears
4
10-1
Last game: Beat Texas Tech, 48-46Next game: Saturday vs. Kansas State
5
TCU Horned Frogs
6
10-1
Last game: Beat Texas, 48-10Next game: Saturday vs. Iowa State
6
Ohio State Buckeyes
7
11-1
Last game: Beat Michigan, 42-28Next game: Saturday vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten championship)
7
Arizona Wildcats
13
10-2
Next game: Friday vs. Oregon (Pac-12 championship)
8
Michigan State Spartans
8
10-2
Last game: Beat Penn State, 34-10Next game: Regular season complete
9
Kansas State Wildcats
10
9-2
Last game: Beat Kansas, 51-13Next game: Saturday at Baylor
10
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
17
10-2
Last game: Beat Georgia, 30-24 (OT)Next game: Saturday vs. Florida State (ACC championship)
11
Wisconsin Badgers
14
10-2
Last game: Beat Minnesota, 34-24Next game: Saturday vs. Ohio State (Big Ten championship)
12
Missouri Tigers
19
10-2
Last game: Beat Arkansas, 21-14Next game: Saturday vs. Alabama (SEC Championship)
13
Ole Miss Rebels
21
9-3
Last game: Beat Mississippi State, 31-17Next game: Regular season complete
14
Mississippi State Bulldogs
5
10-2
Last game: Lost to Ole Miss, 31-17Next game: Regular season complete
15
Georgia Bulldogs
9
9-3
Last game: Lost to Georgia Tech, 30-24 (OT)Next game: Regular season complete
16
UCLA Bruins
11
9-3
Last game: Lost to Stanford, 31-10Next game: Regular season complete
17
Arizona State Sun Devils
12
9-3
Last game: Lost to Arizona, 42-35Next game: Regular season complete
18
Oklahoma Sooners
20
8-3
Last game: Beat Kansas, 44-7Next game: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State
19
Clemson Tigers
22
9-3
Last game: Beat South Carolina, 35-17Next game: Regular season complete
20
Louisville Cardinals
23
9-3
Last game: Beat Kentucky, 44-40Next game: Regular season complete
21
Boise State Broncos
24
10-2
Last game: Beat Utah State, 50-19Next game: Saturday vs. Fresno State (Mountain West championship)
22
Auburn Tigers
15
8-4
Last game: Lost to Alabama, 55-44Next game: Regular season complete
23
LSU Tigers
8-4
Last game: Beat Texas A&M, 23-17Next game: Regular season complete
24
Memphis Tigers
9-3
Last game: Beat UConn, 41-10Next game: Regular season complete
25
Marshall Thundering Herd
18
11-1
Last game: Lost to Western Kentucky, 67-66 (OT)Next game: Saturday vs. Louisiana Tech (Conference USA championship)​

Next five: Utah, Minnesota, Nebraska, USC, Duke

• STAPLES: What have we learned about the playoff so far?

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)