Oklahoma at No. 8 was widely seen as the biggest surprise of Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings reveal, but it was far from the only surprise. The rankings were initially revealed in reverse order, starting at No. 25. Mississippi State’s ranking of No. 17 despite a 5-3 record surprised some media members.

It’s no surprise that CFP chair Gary Barta was asked to explain Mississippi State’s No. 17 ranking in his media teleconference. Here’s the Q&A from the official transcript:

One thing I’ve noticed the committee over the years has been more forgiving of losses than the traditional polls, and this week’s addition, you have a team like Mississippi State that’s 5-3 and not just in the top 25 but relatively high up. Wisconsin, as well. Can you describe how the committee balances that part of a team’s resume, especially with these teams that have three losses already?

GARY BARTA: Yeah, Mississippi State, certainly we don’t ignore those three losses. They’re real, and we consider those. But in Mississippi State’s case, they have wins against North Carolina State, who the committee thinks highly of. Texas A&M, same there; Texas A&M obviously has a big win against Alabama and then this past week winning impressively over Kentucky. Really in Mississippi State’s case specifically, I’ll just tell you the committee really focused on – those three wins impressed the committee enough to put them at 17.

At No. 17 with four games to go, Mississippi State could be in for a good bowl game with a strong finish. Mike Leach’s squad travels to Arkansas on Saturday.