For the second time, the College Football Playoff committee has released its rankings, which feature one significant change: Oregon of the Pac-12 breaking into the top 4, pushing out Alabama, while Mississippi State (number one), Florida State (number two) and Auburn (number three) are in front. As of now, there are two SEC West teams in the playoff.
Which makes sense. The SEC isn’t going to put three teams in the final four. After going through the gauntlet, which includes the Iron Bowl and the Egg Bowl on rivalry week, not to mention someone going and playing for the conference title, the rankings and placements are going to change. Even if the committee thinks that the three or four best teams in the nation are from that division, it would be unethical to disregard records and accomplishments from other conferences.
The big losers of the latest release are Ole Miss, losing for a second straight game. If the loss against LSU on the road didn’t shake up their standing among the committee members, a second consecutive loss, this time at home to Auburn, dropped them outside the top 10. It’s not over for them yet, but it’s getting to a point where the field of contenders for the top spot in the division is withering away, and only the toughest remain.
It’s interesting to see the committee ignore Marshall and not putting them in the top 25. No matter who high the Thundering Herd finish on the AP Poll and other rankings; no matter that they’re one of the three undefeated teams. Doing so well in a conference that doesn’t matter and not having scheduled any games against more respected opponents will forever put teams from the smaller conferences out of reach when it comes to being taken seriously. It looks like the days of Boise State and TCU crashing the party are almost gone.
Florida State just need to keep doing what they have been and they’ll make it in. The ACC doesn’t offer difficult challenges, probably not even the conference title game. Oregon will make it if they win out, including the Pac-12 title game. No SEC East team will make it, because they’re just not good enough to win against one of the SEC West teams as it seems right now. The Big 12? Notre Dame? The conference champion and the Fighting Irish don’t just need to win out; they also need for someone above them to start losing.