Now that week 9 has come and gone, everyone is waiting for the College Football Playoff committee to release their first rankings, determining the four teams to fill the quota of the semifinals. No one is quite sure what will be the factors that determine the rankings for each member, and it remains to be seen if certain conference bias or other enigmatic aspects make a difference in the final selection.
Maybe it’ll simply be something similar to the AP Poll or the Coaches poll: The top 4 teams based on simply who seems to be better than anyone else. Right now, if that is the case, we’ll have at least two SEC teams , depending on how far Ole Miss fall after losing to LSU. Mississippi State are in the lead, followed by Florida State. Alabama and Auburn should fill the #3 and #4 spots once the AP Poll comes out, with Oregon at #5.
So will we actually have three SEC teams in the semifinal? Hard to believe. Eventually, there will be casualties, as Ole Miss and Mississippi State still have to play each other. The Bulldogs also need to play at Alabama, and there’s also an Iron Bowl to think about. Auburn are also a one-loss SEC team. Eventually, there will be only one SEC champion, with a West vs East game. If one of the East teams take the SEC title by some miracle, we might have two SEC teams in the final four. If someone from the SEC West goes all the way, the SEC will probably be sending just one team into the semifinals.
Who else? Right now Florida State is a guarantee. Even though they’re not as impressive as they were last season and needed a controversial referee call to beat Notre Dame, it’s hard seeing them not winning the ACC. The question is whether or not they make it undefeated out of what remains for them, which isn’t so difficult. An undefeated Florida State team is 100% in. A one-loss Seminoles team? That’s not so sure anymore, even if they do win the conference.
Oregon will be there if they win out in a schedule that isn’t too easy, including Stanford and playing Utah away from home. The same goes for either Ohio State, Michigan State and Nebraska. If one of the three win the Big Ten without losing from now on, they’ll probably deserve and get a chance to play in the semifinal. After all, the playoffs were created to give more teams a chance to make it. It’s only fair that only conference champions, unless they’ve lost too many times, get to play for the national title.
So what about the Big 12? There are 3 one-loss teams right now: Kansas State, Baylor and TCU. The Big 12 doesn’t enjoy a lot of love nationally at the moment because of how their defense (except for the Wildcats) have been performing. Not having a big name running for the conference title (Oklahoma maybe will be back, Texas are out for the count) hurts as well. The committee wants to spread the love, but big names always work. Not having a title game is also a problem.
And then there’s Notre Dame, with one loss, to Florida State. Does a one loss Irish team make it in? It all depends on who wins the conference championships. If Notre Dame actually win out their remaining schedule, which includes Navy, Arizona State, Northwestern and Louisville, it’ll probably be hard arguing against them. Regardless, we have a feeling at least one team is going to feel very angry about the final four-team selection. Although we’re in favor of having a BCS-like system choosing the four playoff teams, that wouldn’t have spared anyone the heartache.