The first College Football Playoff Committee rankings were released on Tuesday evening. Reigning champion Florida State opens the CFP rankings in second place, behind Mississippi State and ahead of Auburn and Ole Miss.
The committee clearly placed a strong emphasis on quality wins, as there are four teams with wins over teams ranked in the committee’s top 25: Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn, and Oregon. Those four teams are all ranked in the top five, with Ole Miss checking in ahead of Oregon on the strength of their home win over sixth-ranked Alabama.
The ACC also got considerably more respect from the committee than it has received from the AP and Coaches’ polls, with four ACC teams ranked in the initial top 25: (2) Florida State, (21) Clemson, (24) Duke, and (25) Louisville. That of course means that FSU’s game against Louisville is now technically against a ranked opponent.
This is an excellent start from Florida State’s perspective, as the committee’s evident emphasis on quality wins and lack of disrespect for the ACC bode well for an FSU team that will have played three Power 5 nonconference games and already has quality wins against Notre Dame and Clemson.
Some will surely complain about three SEC West teams in the initial top four, but those teams still have to play each other, meaning it is unlikely that more than one SEC team makes it into the playoff field at this point.
At this point, I believe Florida State is still likely to make the playoff field even with a loss, as the committee appears to recognize Louisville and (probable ACCCG opponent) Duke as quality teams and will continue to value the Seminoles’ wins over Notre Dame and Clemson. It is unlikely that the SEC will produce more than one one-loss team, and a one-loss FSU team should have the resume to be at the front of the line of one-loss teams at the end of the season.
Of course, the Noles can make all that moot by winning out, at which point they would likely wind up the top seed.
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