Takeaways from the sixth College Football Playoff rankings
We’re a few days from Sunday’s final College Football Playoff rankings reveal and going down to the wire, it appears there’s seven teams in contention for the final four spots.
Tuesday night’s sixth selection committee release differs from last week after rivalry weekend altered the fate of one SEC hopeful. Mississippi State’s loss at Ole Miss pushed the Bulldogs from the No. 4 spot to the outside looking in at No. 10.
Alabama remains in great shape as the nation’s top-ranked team heading into Saturday’s SEC Championship Game against Mizzou. There’s even been murmurs that the Crimson Tide would stay in the top four even with a loss to the Tigers.
That’s more or less impossible considering there’s several one-loss teams just outside the final four.
ESPN’s Heather Dinich reported Tuesday that the selection committee will meet three consecutive days before Sunday’s live reveal at 12:45 p.m. EST to further group teams based on conference championship results.
Current top six in the CFP poll
- Florida State
- Ohio State
RELATED: Examining this week’s CFP rankings
The most intriguing argument this week continues to be third-seeded TCU and No. 6 Baylor. Despite the Bears winning head to head, the Horned Frogs have been ranked ahead of possible co-Big XII champs throughout in the committee’s mind.
“TCU is a better team all the way across the board,” Kirk Herbstreit said. “I get that they blew a 21-point lead (at Baylor) and lost, but all things considered, I think they’re the better team.”
Quick SEC takeaways from the sixth CFP Top 25:
- Mississippi State (10), Ole Miss (12) and Georgia (14) are in excellent position to reach New Year’s Six bowls with the Bulldogs having the best opportunity followed by the Rebels.
- Eastern Division champion Mizzou moved up to No. 16 while Auburn, following a loss at Alabama, dropped to No. 19.
- After a Thanksgiving Night win at Texas A&M, four-loss LSU moved into the 24th position.
Arizona, No. 7 in this week’s poll, is one of several teams that could benefit from one of the committee’s ‘points of emphasis’ as a conference champion.
“I’ve told my team let’s not even talk about the Playoff as the week goes on,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. “If you win the Pac-12 going through nine games and a conference championship game, you should be one of the teams in the Playoff. Our focus is on Oregon and it should be because they’re one of the best teams in the country.”
Arizona’s (10-2) won two straight games against Oregon (11-1), Friday’s opponent in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Rodriguez was named the Pac-12 coach of the year earlier this week.
“Whenever we play each other, the tempo and speed is nothing different than we see everyday,” Rodriguez said. “Both teams will try and play their best football.”
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich has tried to tone down the excitement of league title game with Playoff implications.
“We’re trying to stay as routine as possible with all the hubbub of a championship game,” Helfrich said Tuesday on SportsCenter. “Marcus (Mariota) has been phenomenal leading the message and spreading that throughout the team.”
Florida State, the nation’s lone remaining unbeaten, dropped to No. 4 this week after a less-than-impressive five-point victory over Florida.
“I don’t think they’re going to go any further … Florida State’s going to be fine if they win this week against Georgia Tech,” Herbstreit said. “The more interesting thing to me is TCU. The fact they went to No. 3 means a lot for Baylor. That’s way Baylor has to win and win emphatically to be in this discussion, especially now that they’re three spots behind a team they beat head to head.”
ESPN reaction from its analysts Tuesday night:
Danny Kanell: “Even if they pull off one of the best wins of the year over Alabama, there’s probably too far to go for Mizzou. I can’t believe (the committee) is ignoring an undefeated team (Florida State). So far, the committee has ignored the head to head matchups as well and that’s a bad precedent to set.”
Joey Galloway: “When you factor in a five-loss West Virginia team beating Baylor, that also matters. TCU had game control in that game at Baylor and it matters when you add in the Minnesota win. It overrides the head to head loss.”