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|
|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|
|14||Arizona State||Pac-12||Notre Dame|
|16||Ohio State||Big Ten||Michigan State|
|20||West Virginia||Big 12||TCU|
|21||Clemson||ACC||Georgia Tech||Orange Bowl*|
|23||East Carolina||American||UCF||New Year's bowl*|
For reference, here's this week's AP, USA Today Coaches', and Massey polls to compare to the playoff committee's rankings:
|1||Mississippi State||Mississippi State||Alabama|
|2||Florida State||Florida State||Ole Miss|
|5||Michigan State||Oregon||Florida State|
|7||Notre Dame||Ole Miss||Oregon|
|9||Ole Miss||Georgia||Kansas State|
|11||Kansas State||Kansas State||Michigan State|
|13||Ohio State||Ohio State||Arizona State|
|15||Arizona||Arizona State||Notre Dame|
|19||East Carolina||Oklahoma||West Virginia|
|21||Clemson||East Carolina||Ohio State|
For a composite Top 25 ranking, visit SBNation.com
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!