Alabama Well Positioned In CFP Rankings

To say that the first pronouncement of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee doesn’t matter is only partially correct. True, there are many games to be played that will change the first rankings revealed from Grapevine, Texas, Tuesday night.

To get to the heart of it for Alabama fans, the Crimson Tide was ranked sixth in the first rankings. That is not important.

What may be important is trying to figure out what the committee is looking at? Ole Miss is ranked fourth, presumably because of its home game victory over Alabama. Since then the Rebels have looked, shall we say, not improved in losing to a two-loss LSU team. What is Mississippi’s second best win? Memphis? Boise State?

In short, Ole Miss is the easy target of this first ranking.

Everyone knew that Mississippi State and Florida State in some order (that is the order) would be one and two. In every other poll, Alabama is third, but in the CFP this week Auburn is third.

Oregon, with a home loss to Arizona, is fifth.

As Committee Chairman Jeff Long (Arkansas athletics director, one of five athletics director on the 12-person committee) said, the rankings will change.

The first elimination game of great consequence comes this Saturday in Oxford, where Ole Miss hosts Auburn. No matter what the outcome of that game, it helps Alabama. One of them drops back.

The one thing the committee did was give the Southeastern Conference Western Division its due with three teams in the top four and four in the top six.

Alabama gets to play two of those teams, Mississippi State and Auburn. First, though, a week from Saturday in Baton Rouge, the Crimson Tide must get past the LSU team that defeated Ole Miss. That LSU team was also beaten soundly by Mississippi State and Auburn.

If Alabama then wins out, the Tide will be fine. We think. If Bama loses one game, the rankings mean nothing because the Tide will be out.

The selection committee will prepare six more rankings this season, including the final one on Selection Day, Sunday, December 7. The top four teams in the final rankings will play in the semifinals on January 1, 2015, at the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.

Long, understandably, was more exuberant about the work of the committee than anyone else. “The College Football Playoff selection committee met for the past two days and we engaged in a lively and detailed discussion about who the best teams are in college football, as of October 26,” he said. “We debated, we reviewed facts and statistics, and we used our judgment. There are 18 one-loss teams in the FBS and the differences between many of these teams are slight. The bottom line is it’s early, it’s close and it’s going to change.”

This was the first official meeting for the selection committee, which will reconvene in person each week to review the action and issue new rankings.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban was asked about the process before the first rankings were revealed, and as every other coach in the nation said he wasn’t paying attention to it.

Saban said, “None of it matters. It only matters where you end up at the end.

“What matters to us is how we do in each and every game that we have. We have four games left to play. If we can be successful in those games, maybe there's a chance that we would play in the SEC championship game as well.

“None of it matters if we're not successful in our games. I don't even care, to be honest with you. Don't know and don't care, because it doesn't matter right now.

“It's great for fans, it's great for the media. They can have an hour show on ESPN about who got ranked and who did this and what Lou Holtz thinks and all that. But it really doesn't matter.

“Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that our team is recognized in some way of being a good team based on what they've accomplished to this point in the season. I appreciate that.

“I'm happy that we're in the conversation based on what our team has accomplished at this point but the fact of the matter is it really doesn't matter at all, because what matters is the games you play and how you play in the games and how much success that you can have in the games that you play. Just in my thought, we have three really, really good teams that we have to play in our league to finish the season that are all ranked very, very high.”

Here is the top 25 as determined by the CFP Selection Committee and revealed Oct. 28:

1. Mississippi State, 2. FSU, 3. Auburn, 4. Ole Miss, 5. Oregon, 6. Alabama, 7. TCU, 8. Michigan State, 9. Kansas State, 10. Notre Dame.

11. Georgia, 12. Arizona, 13. Baylor, 14. Arizona State, 15. Nebraska, 16. Ohio State, 17. Utah, 18. Oklahoma, 19. LSU, 20. West Virginia, 21. Clemson, 22. UCLA, 23. East Carolina, 24. Duke, 25. Louisville.

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