The first College Football Playoff Rankings will be released on Tuesday at 5 PM Mountain Time. For the first time in program history, BYU will be ranked in the CFP rankings. The rankings started in 2014 when the CFP was created. Today, let's look at the best-case scenarios and the worst-case scenarios for BYU when the CFP rankings are released on Tuesday night.
A few weeks ago, we looked back at all initial CFP rankings dating back to 2014 and compared them to the AP polls. The initial CFP rankings were mostly consistent with the AP polls, with one exception: the CFP ranked non-P5 teams lower than the AP poll. Since 2014, at least one non-P5 team dropped three or more spots in the first CFP ranking compared to the AP poll. Memphis in 2015 was the only non-P5 team whose ranking improved - they went from #15 in the AP poll to #13 in the CFP rankings.
Perhaps the most comparable team to BYU is the 2018 UCF team. UCF was 7-0 and ranked #9 in the AP when the first CFP rankings were released. In the first CFP ranking, the Knights were ranked #12. The Knights eventually climbed up to #8, the highest a non-P5 team has ever been ranked.
The worst-case scenario for BYU would include teams like Miami, Northwestern, Indiana or even Oklahoma surpassing the Cougars in the rankings.
Worst-case scenario ranking: #12
Seven teams are ranked in front of BYU in the AP poll: Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Clemson, Texas A&M, Florida, and Cincinnati. Of that list, it seems like Cincinnati is the only team that BYU could potentially leapfrog on Tuesday. That feels unlikely, however, as the Bearcats are fresh off a big road victory over UCF.
Best-case scenario ranking: #7
History suggests that at least one P5 team will surpass BYU in the CFP rankings. Miami, Indiana, and Northwestern are the most likely candidates.
Most likely ranking: #9