The College Football Playoff committee unveiled its first set of rankings Tuesday night, with Georgia (8-0), Alabama (8-0), Notre Dame (7-1), and Clemson (7-1) rounding out the top four. Oklahoma (7-1), Ohio State (7-1), Penn State (7-1), and TCU (7-1), meanwhile, were ranked fifth through eighth, respectively.
“Well, they got it right – because that was my top four, too, so I agree with the committee this week,” college football insider Brett McMurphy said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I thought it was fairly simple based on, again, not necessarily who is the best team, but who has the best resume and who’s playing the best right now. I think that was an easy call to put Georgia above Alabama, which is probably the best thing to ever happen to Nick Saban.”
Indeed, a No. 1 ranking, from Saban’s perspective, would have been akin to “rat poison.”
“And Notre Dame’s resume – three quality wins by doubled digits – (made them a good choice for No. 3),” McMurphy said. “And then I would have given Clemson the nod. Then they gave Oklahoma the nod over Ohio State because of head-to-head and then Ohio State (the nod) over Penn State because of head-to-head. It was pretty clear-cut, and at least now we can see how the committee is valuing different items. The thing is, remember: they kind of change as the year goes on.”
Georgia and Alabama, for example, will likely square off in the SEC Championship. It’s hard to imagine those teams remaining 1-2 on Dec. 3.
“The one thing to keep in mind is at the end of the year in the final poll – and these things will change a lot – is how much do they value the conference championships,” McMurphy said. “That’s going to be the most fascinating point going forward if we do have a 12-0 Alabama and a 12-0 Georgia meet for the SEC title. What do they do with the loser? I think it’s pretty simple. If there is another Power 5 one-loss champion being compared with a one-loss non-SEC champion, I think they’ll take the conference champion over the non-SEC champion. But if you’re comparing a two-loss conference champion with a one-loss non-SEC champion, I think we’ll have two SEC teams in the playoff for the first time.”
Also of note: Wisconsin (8-0) and Miami (7-0) rounded out the top 10 – and were slotted behind six one-loss teams.
McMurphy had no problem with that.
“They haven’t beat anybody,” he said. “Wisconsin doesn’t have any Top 25 wins. They may not even play a top 25 team the entire season. And then you look at Miami: they don’t have a Top 25 win, and on top of that, they’re squeaking by. But I wouldn’t be too concerned with where these guys are now. Ohio State was 16 in the initial poll and came back to get in the playoff. Oklahoma was No. 15 and they came all the way back to get in the playoff. So as long as you’re in that top 12-15 range right now, there’s enough games ahead of you on the schedule where you can move up.”