The First 2019 College Football Playoff Poll Is Out And You’ll Never Guess Who’s No. 1! (It’s Alabama)

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So far this college football season, all of the rankings you’ve seen have been based on the Associated Press poll or the Coaches’ Poll. Neither of those matter all that much — they’re fun things to go off of as a point of reference for two months, but when it comes to who will be determined the national champions, they aren’t anything more than something fans can look at.

But on Tuesday night, we got the poll fans have been waiting for: the inaugural 2019 College Football Playoff poll. The poll was announced on ESPN, and to the surprise of no one (outside of maybe a few people in Clemson, South Carolina), the Alabama Crimson Tide sit at No. 1.

If the season ended today, the rest of the Playoff would be made up of No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 LSU, and No. 4 Notre Dame. But that almost certainly won’t be the case for reasons we’ll dive into shortly. But first, the poll:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. LSU
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Michigan
  6. Georgia
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Washington State
  9. Kentucky
  10. Ohio State
  11. Florida
  12. UCF
  13. West Virginia
  14. Penn State
  15. Utah
  16. Iowa
  17. Texas
  18. Mississippi State
  19. Syracuse
  20. Texas A&M
  21. NC State
  22. Boston College
  23. Fresno State
  24. Iowa State
  25. Virginia

Time for the extremely important disclaimer: This doesn’t matter too terribly much just yet, because so much stuff still needs to happen between now and the time the Playoff field is set in December. Alabama has to play LSU this weekend in Death Valley and the winner of that game will likely go on to play one of Georgia, Kentucky, or Florida in the SEC title game (oh, and Georgia and Kentucky play this weekend). Michigan has to play Penn State and Ohio State. Notre Dame has a tricky Northwestern squad this weekend and a Syracuse team playing with a ton of swagger in a few weeks. Clemson, uh, has to stay healthy, mostly (and survive a trip to play Steve Addazio’s dudes down the road).

But at the very least, we know more or less which teams have to avoid major screw-ups between now and the start of the Playoff to get a shot at playing for a national title. Then again, this is college football, and if one thing is nearly guaranteed, it’s that someone with national title aspirations will suffer an astoundingly dumb loss to keep them from getting to that point.