There is still plenty left ahead for Auburn to be able to make that happen, however, and it begins this weekend when the Tigers face off against No. 4 Ole Miss on the road this Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
As expected the two undefeated big five conference teams are at the top with Mississippi State in the No. 1 spot and Florida State second. Behind Auburn and Ole Miss it’s Oregon at No. 5 with Alabama, TCU, Michigan State, Kansas State, and Notre Dame rounding out the Top 10 teams. Other SEC teams in the initial poll are Georgia (11) and LSU (19).
Well-represented at the top of the poll is the Southeastern Conference, which comes as no surprise. The best league in the land, the SEC is one of the reasons why the Tigers will have a shot to stay up top if they keep winning and it's one of the reasons why the Tigers find themselves at No. 3 right now along with a tough non-conference road trip at No. 9 Kansas State.
Nick Marshall leads the offense for the defending SEC champion Auburn Tigers.
"If you really look at it I think Auburn, because of that game with Kansas State as one of their non-conference games, something you don't typically see from an SEC team, then you combine that with what they've done in their conference despite their loss over in Starkville, I think that's why they're in the Top Four," ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said.
"How about the fact that whether it's the SEC, the Big 10, the Pac 12 or the Big 12, it just happens to be the SEC this week, we have three teams from one conference in the Top Four. For a lot of people that's the end of the world. I just find it refreshing that they're not being worried about being politically correct and helping other people's agenda. They're just looking at the teams and evaluating what they see on the field, despite the conference, and saying 'here's our top four'. I applaud them for that."
Already having faced Mississippi State, No. 9 Kansas State and LSU and with games still ahead against Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama, Auburn will face six of the 25 teams in the first playoff poll this season. It's obvious head-to-head match-ups are going to be important for the committee and chairman Jeff Long from Arkansas said it's definitely a strong consideration.
"As you would expect there is a lot of discussion about head-to-head," Long said. "You have to remember that head-to-head is only one of the criteria we are using. We're also looking at how those teams performed with the other teams they have on their schedule. Head-to-head is important, but it's not the only factor."
The Tigers return to action this week as they travel to face Ole Miss in Oxford. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen on ESPN.
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