After a week of discussion, claims of bias, anger, joy and quiet optimism, the second College Football Playoff Rankings were released on Tuesday night.
One team in the final four was out, a new team was in and another team moved in to the No. 6 spot.
The top six:1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
For the complete rankings, Click Here.
Ole Miss' loss to Auburn not only knocked them out of the top four, it knocked them out of the top ten entirely.
As it stands, the top six have three teams that lead their conference standings (Mississippi State, Florida State and Oregon), two more that are in the mix for their division title despite a loss (Auburn and Alabama) and one that is in second place in its own conference yet ahead of the team its behind in the conference (TCU, which plays their conference leader on Saturday at home).
The top three spots all remain the same, with Mississippi State, Florida State and Auburn all staying where they were a week ago.
Oregon moves up from No. 5 to No. 4 after they beat Stanford and Ole Miss dropped.
Alabama moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 because of Ole Miss' drop, though the Tide had a bye this past weekend. A road win over LSU on Saturday, though, could move them into the top four in a week.
So how will the final rankings look in December, and who will be in?
None of our projected final four from a week ago lost, thought Mississippi State and Florida State were sure pushed.
Here is how things will play out, given last weekend's games and the schedule left to be played.
No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Mississippi State in New Orleans in the Sugar Bowl:
Like we said a week ago, the Noles won't lose a game the rest of the year. Even though they tried to make us look stupid a week ago for saying that, they ultimately escaped Papa John's Stadium with a win over Louisville. This week, they get a reeling Virginia squad in Tallahassee. Then comes a scary game against a rapidly improving Miami team on the road, but the Noles have too much fire power and are too road tested to drop that one. A win over Boston College shouldn't be a problem before they wrap up the regular season with a home game against Florida. And to make it clear, Georgia is no Florida State. The Noles will win that game then beat a game Duke team in the ACC Championship, again, and move on to the Sugar Bowl.
Mississippi State has gotten more from Kentucky and Arkansas the last two weeks than they did from Texas A&M and Auburn, and it could be a case of the pressure of being No. 1 getting to them. Whatever. They still won those games, and that's what's important. They will still lose a game before the end of the season and it will still be in Tuscaloosa next week (it won't be this weekend against Tennessee-Martin, and if it is, they should fall out of the Top 25 forever). Ole Miss' loss of Laquon Treadwell and the game to Auburn could send the Rebels reeling a bit and the Bulldogs will capitalize on that and win in Oxford, but the loss to Alabama will keep them out of the SEC Championship game, but at 11-1, keep them in the top four, and they will start making plans for New Orleans themselves.
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oregon in Pasadena in the Rose Bowl:
Alabama plays their toughest game of the remaining schedule this weekend when they visit LSU. Then they'll play their toughest game the next week against Mississippi State in Tuscaloosa. Then comes an easy game against Western Carolina. Then comes their next toughest game of the season when they wrap up the regular season with Auburn at home in an Iron Bowl full of juicy headlines. Then the next week will be the SEC Championship Game in which they'll play Missouri. What do those five games have in common? They're all going to be Alabama wins. The Tide will beat LSU in a slugfest in Baton Rouge (please, for the love of all that is holy, though, less like the 2011 regular season game and more like the 2012 regular season game). Then they'll end Mississippi State's perfect season at Bryant-Denny Stadium. All the backups will play a ton against Western Carolina. Then comes the Iron Bowl rematch, in which Alabama will not attempt a field goal (and may not even attempt a PAT and just go for two each time) but still beat Auburn. Then they'll roll Missouri and be on their way to the Rose Bowl.
Oregon got through their Stanford problem and got through it emphatically. Now comes a game on the road at Utah, a Utah team that has beaten teams with defense but certainly not their offense. The question will be can Utah's offense match Oregon, and the answer to that is no. So the Ducks will clinch the Pac-12 North on Saturday. Then they'll have a bye before trouncing Colorado in Marcus Mariota's final game in Autzen Stadium (which he'll only play a half because of the blowout). Finally comes a win in the Civil War over Oregon State and the Ducks follow it up with a win over Arizona State in Levi's Stadium in the Pac-12 and for the third time in six years, the Ducks move on the Pasadena to the Rose Bowl.
National Championship Game in Arlington, Texas: No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Alabama
Last week we said Florida State would play Alabama in the national championship game.
We still think that, but the way Oregon has played the last couple of weeks, they could be a test for the Tide.
Still, the Tide will get past Oregon in a late stop of the Heisman Trophy winner Mariota, while Florida State rallies from 17 points down in the fourth quarter with Jameis Winston throwing three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat Mississippi State.
When the Tide and Noles meet in Arlington, Jameis Winston, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, gets to lift the trophy that cements him in Florida State lore, the first ever College Football Playoff Trophy, which will go nicely next to the last ever BCS National Championship Trophy.