Desmond Howard was a bit taken aback when he saw the College Football Playoff rankings this week. He might not have been the only one, especially in Big Ten country.

Alabama was No. 2 in the College Football Playoff committee’s first ranking of the season that was released earlier this week. The Crimson Tide was ahead of No. 3 Michigan State. The Spartans are 8-0. Alabama is 7-1 after a loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 9

“I can’t say that I see them as the No. 2 team in the nation right now,” the former Michigan star said of Bama on College Football Live. “When that came up Tuesday night, I was like ‘Whoa, Alabama.’ So you guys just lost to Texas A&M, to a backup quarterback? But the crazy thing is .. how Gary Barta made it seem like it wasn’t even a thought, like they didn’t even blink. Of course it’s Alabama — who else could it be?”

Gary Barta is the College Football Playoff committee chairman. He is currently the athletic director at Iowa, which is in the Big Ten along with the Spartans.