The wait is finally over, and our first glimpse at the product of the logic being used by the College Football Playoff selection committee has been revealed. The selection committee released its first ranking of the season, and Mississippi State is sitting in first place.
The Top Four
Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn and Ole Miss are your top four, in that order. No real surprises here, given this is a reflection of season to date results and the high level of play seen in the SEC West this season. Ole Miss and Auburn have each lost this season, so this means they are currently the top one-loss teams in the hunt. Oregon is currently the first team out. The Ducks are ranked fifth, just ahead of Alabama.
The Group of Five Leader Is…
East Carolina. The Pirates, with two victories over ACC schools (Virginia Tech and North Carolina) received the only spot in the top 25 among Group of Five schools. Marshall is undefeated, but did not finish in the top 25. With one spot in an access bowl reserved for the highest-ranked champion from a Group of Five conference, this is good news for East Carolina. They are now, officially, the Group of Five school to chase if you are Marshall, Colorado State or Boise State etc.
Full College Football Playoff Selection Committee Ranking
1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
4. Ole Miss
8. Michigan State
9. Kansas State
10. Notre Dame
14. Arizona State
16. Ohio State
20. West Virginia
23. East Carolina
Ohio State has some work to do. The Buckeyes are the third Big Ten team ranked in the first playoff ranking, behind Michigan State and Nebraska. The Buckeyes visit the Spartans next week and will hope to potentially play a ranked Nebraska team in the Big Ten championship game. Michigan State is currently in striking position, ranked No. 8. Next week’s game in East Lansing will be pivotal for the Big Ten’s chances to get a team in the playoff field.
There is going to be a good amount of cannibalism among the teams in the ranking still to come, so the ranking could quickly change on a weekly basis. For instance, Alabama still plays host to Mississippi State and Auburn before the season is done. Mississippi State and Ole Miss will also face each other, of course.
There seems to be some good respect given to head-to-head results where possible. Oregon is ahead of Michigan State. Ole Miss is above Alabama. Baylor trails TCU, which would go against the grain here.