Florida State may be on top of the AP and coaches polls this week, but the Seminoles cannot get past a pair of one-loss teams in the eyes of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Alabama has ascended to number one this week after a big home win against Mississippi State. Oregon remains number two, followed by Florida State. The previous number one, Mississippi State, slips no farther than fourth in the poll, which may be a dangerous position.
The New Top Four and Who’s On Deck
3. Florida State
4. Mississippi State
Alabama moved up to the top of the ranking, which may have been expected given the way we have seen the selection committee operate so far. Being undefeated is clearly not the first and most important factor in the eyes of the committee. Alabama’s victory against the committee’s previous number one was enough to move Alabama past the Ducks and Seminoles. Oregon and Florida State stayed right where they were in last week’s rankings.
The biggest question was just where Mississippi State would fall after losing on the road at Alabama. Turns out they fell to a pretty solid position following a mid-November loss. Any concern about Mississippi State’s non-conference profile now that they are in the one-loss category appears to be counterbalanced by a tremendous amount of respect for Alabama and the strength of the SEC and SEC West.
6. Ohio State
TCU got bumped out this week but is still in a decent spot in the event any of the top four slip up. Ohio State is also up to sixth, and continues to trend upward at a very good time to be doing so.
The Full College Football Playoff Ranking This Week
Some quick observations…
At this point, it may be impossible for Florida State to move up to either of the top two spots in the playoff ranking. If Alabama and Oregon win out, the Seminoles will have to put together some impressive wins in the final weeks by decided margins. This appears to be Florida State’s biggest flaw, despite always winning games.
Despite a struggle at Kansas, the committee continues to respect TCU in higher regard than Baylor. The Horned Frogs lost to Baylor in a head-to-head match-up. Maybe this was just a bad week for Baylor to be off, because the Bears were also passed by Ohio State. At some point though, if things play out as they have so far, doesn’t the committee have to push Baylor ahead of TCU?
Speaking of the Buckeyes, Ohio State moved up two spots in the ranking this week, thanks in part to a win over Minnesota and Arizona State being upset. As you see above, the committee still ranked Minnesota at the bottom of this week’s ranking despite losing at home to the Buckeyes. Ohio State now looks to have an excellent chance to crack the top four, if Ohio State can run away with wins the next two weeks and come out on top of what could be a very hot Wisconsin team in the Big Ten Championship Game. If conference championships come into play as a tiebreaker of sorts, that could be the edge Ohio State needs to slip past Mississippi State.
This committee loves Auburn, who has now lost at home to Texas A&M and was demolished on the road by Georgia. Auburn only dropped five spots in the playoff ranking.
UCLA continues to hang around, and it is beginning to be easier to see why. The Bruins may have been shaky in non-conference play, but wins against Virginia (bowl-bound) and Memphis (leading the AAC) are starting to look a little more impressive. Playing in the deep Pac-12 South also helps, as the division has been playing some good football.
Hang in there Marshall fans. If the Thundering Herd continue to win games and go 13-0, this committee is going to have to consider your program. Remember, it does not matter if any Group of Five team is ranked or not, because the committee will run through its entire procedures to determine which Group of Five conference champion will be chosen to play in a New Years bowl game. Of course, it wwouldbe nice to have some sort of idea where Marshall, Boise State, Colorado State, Northern Illinois, Air Force, Cincinnati etc. all stand against each other.