There wasn’t much to wonder about the second week’s selections of the committee, though. It was in line with what most reasonable college football analysts would have expected.
It was something of a surprise in the initial rankings a week ago when Alabama made the top four, at No. 4, but no one who saw the Crimson Tide’s dismantling of previously No. 2 LSU and Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette Saturday night could have expected much different than Bama coming in at No. 2 Tuesday night.
As expected, the Clemson team of former Tide player and assistant coach Dabo Swinney, stayed at No. 1. The Tigers had two tough games on their schedule and won against Notre Dame earlier this year and over Florida State Saturday. Clemson now has an easy road to an undefeated regular season and an ACC championship and barring the biggest upset of 2015 will waltz into the playoffs as the top seed.
Ohio State, undefeated and having played no ranked teams, continues at No. 3, almost certainly based on being the 2014 national champion.
Notre Dame, which has overcome all sorts of adversity and a difficult schedule, replaced LSU (which fell to ninth with its first loss of the year) in the top four, taking the fourth spot.
The Big 12 continues to be on the outside looking in, but as we have heard over and over Baylor, Oklahoma State, or Oklahoma, and maybe TCU can play into the group of four. Undefeated Iowa, also with an anemic schedule to date, might make it with an undefeated Big Ten title. The Pac-12 looks like a long shot to have a representative.
Nothing really has changed for Alabama except that the Tide now has a path to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game with Ole Miss having lost to Arkansas. Bama has SEC games remaining this week at Mississippi State and Nov. 28 at Auburn, sandwiched around Charleston Southern. Alabama must win all those games and go to the SEC title game against Florida and win, and from the No. 2 position today would be in the four-team playoff.
The selection committee will prepare four more rankings this season, including the final set on Selection Day, Sunday, December 6. The top four teams in the final rankings will play in the Playoff Semifinals on December 31, 2015, at the Capital One Orange Bowl and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
The selection committee will continue to evaluate teams and will meet in person the remainder of the season to review game action and issue its new rankings each week.
Incidentally, even though many analysts now consider Alabama with an 8-1 record to be the nation’s best team, Galloway had the Tide third and Kannell had Bama fourth.
Alabama, 5-1 in SEC play, and Mississippi State (7-2 overall and 3-2 in SEC games) will play at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday with television coverage by CBS.