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Inaugural College Football Playoff rankings have Mississippi State on top

The committee's first rankings of the CFP era has a few surprises.

Committee chairman and Arkansas AD Jeff Long
Committee chairman and Arkansas AD Jeff Long
Jeff Long-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC reigns supreme again. If you have a serious case of SEC fatigue, avert your eyes now. The first top four ever by the playoff committee features three teams from the SEC West, including an Ole Miss team that just lost to previously #24 LSU. Florida State rounds out the final four who are poised to make the elimination bowls.

Oregon is the first team on the outside looking in, and if they run the table they are almost certainly guaranteed a playoff berth. Alabama follows the Ducks, and TCU is next, making the Horned Frogs the highest-ranked Big 12 team. The eighth spot is taken by the B1G's very own Michigan State Spartans, who seem to have been in that range since their loss to Oregon earlier this season.

One of the biggest surprises is Ohio State landing behind Nebraska at #16. Most likely, the committee was not impressed with the Buckeyes' narrow escape over the Nittany Lions, although it's hard to see the Cornhuskers as a better team right now.

Rank Team Conference Toughest opponent left (per F/+) If the season ended today ...
1 Mississippi State SEC Ole Miss Sugar Bowl vs. Ole Miss
2 Florida State ACC Louisville Rose Bowl vs. Auburn
3 Auburn SEC Ole Miss Rose Bowl vs. Florida State
4 Ole Miss SEC Auburn Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State
5 Oregon Pac-12 Stanford New Year's bowl
6 Alabama SEC Auburn Orange Bowl*
7 TCU Big 12 Kansas State New Year's bowl
8 Michigan State Big Ten Ohio State New Year's bowl
9 Kansas State Big 12 TCU New Year's bowl
10 Notre Dame Independent Louisville New Year's bowl
11 Georgia SEC Auburn
12 Arizona Pac-12 Arizona State
13 Baylor Big 12 Oklahoma
14 Arizona State Pac-12 Notre Dame
15 Nebraska Big Ten Wisconsin
16 Ohio State Big Ten Michigan State
17 Utah Pac-12 Oregon
18 Oklahoma Big 12 Baylor
19 LSU SEC Alabama
20 West Virginia Big 12 TCU
21 Clemson ACC Georgia Tech Orange Bowl*
22 UCLA Pac-12 Stanford
23 East Carolina American UCF New Year's bowl*
24 Duke ACC Virginia Tech
25 Louisville ACC Florida State

For reference, here's this week's AP, USA Today Coaches', and Massey polls to compare to the playoff committee's rankings:

Coaches AP Massey
1 Mississippi State Mississippi State Alabama
2 Florida State Florida State Ole Miss
3 Alabama Alabama Mississippi State
4 Auburn Auburn Auburn
5 Michigan State Oregon Florida State
6 Oregon Notre Dame Georgia
7 Notre Dame Ole Miss Oregon
8 Georgia Michigan State LSU
9 Ole Miss Georgia Kansas State
11 Kansas State Kansas State Michigan State
12 Baylor Baylor Oklahoma
13 Ohio State Ohio State Arizona State
14 Arizona State Arizona Baylor
15 Arizona Arizona State Notre Dame
16 Nebraska LSU Clemson
17 LSU Nebraska Nebraska
18 Utah Utah Texas A&M
19 East Carolina Oklahoma West Virginia
20 Oklahoma West Virginia Arizona
21 Clemson East Carolina Ohio State
22 West Virginia Clemson UCLA
23 Marshall Marshall Missouri
24 Duke Duke Utah
For a composite Top 25 ranking, visit

What do you make of the committee's first crack at the rankings? Think they should all be fired already? Sound off in the comments below!