FOX Sports host Colin Cowherd has a theory that the College Football Playoff committee has ranked the top teams in a way that sends a message.

“The committee wants two SEC teams in, so if Bama wins, or if LSU wins, they’re going to get two SEC teams in, that’s what they want,” Cowherd said during a recent segment on “The Herd” alongside analyst Joel Klatt.

The committee left the rankings unchanged since last week — LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia — even after the injury to Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Klatt offered his explanation.

“I think they’re evaluating Alabama before they see them with Mac Jones,” he said. “To date, I guess you could make an argument about Alabama where they’re at. They’re giving them a lot of credit even though their resume is incredibly thin. They don’t have a win against a ranked opponent. The only ranked opponent they’ve played, they lost.”

Cowherd maintained that, “if Alabama beats Auburn with a backup, even if it’s ugly, you can’t drop Alabama. One spot, five to six, is something.”

If Alabama and Oregon win out, Klatt believes the argument shifts to those teams for the fourth spot. The Ducks would have played a 13th game and 11th Power 5 opponent to Alabama having just nine such opponents, and they would be an undefeated Power 5 conference champion.

“There’s going to be a lot of momentum for Oregon at that point,” Klatt said.