It's the end of a (rather brief, all told) era in college football: The 10th edition of the College Football Playoff will be the last with just four teams.
Beginning in 2024, the CFP will expand to 12 teams, making access a little bit less exclusive and theoretically giving us a little less to argue about. (Yeah, right.) But before we go, it's time to update this list for the fourth and final year. Below are the 40 teams that made the CFP during this four-team era; I ranked them, from Bama and Burrow to Riley and Sparty.
I derived this list as usual, from a combination of numbers (primarily, my SP+ ratings) and my personal opinions. Start with the stats, then adjust for actual CFP performance and any other criteria that feel relevant. To the list!
Top 10 CFP teams
40. 2015 Michigan State (12-2)
CFP result: Lost to Alabama 38-0
Mark Dantonio's 2015 Spartans are definitive proof that no matter what the committee says, it is picking the four "most deserving" teams rather than the "best" -- MSU was definitively the former and in no way the latter. And that's fine! The Spartans finished 18th in FPI and 15th in SP+ but beat a dynamite Ohio State team and outlasted unbeaten Iowa to win the Big Ten. Then they did exactly what was expected of them against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl: They lost big.