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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Grey Satterfield

Column: Impressions from the first College Football Playoff rankings

A new era of college football is finally upon us. Last night, the selection committee handed down its rankings from on high. Now, instead of complaining between who’s No. 2 and No. 3 we can complain about who’s No. 4 and No. 5. In a way, there’s a new paradigm in college football and, in another way, nothing has changed a bit.

No. 1 Mississippi State

The Bulldogs were a lock to make the Top 4 this week. Impressive wins over LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M solidified that. Senior quarterback Dak Prescott is in the driver’s seat for the Heisman Trophy. The only real knock on the Bulldogs is their less than stellar defense, but you can’t argue with success, and an undefeated record in the SEC West is as good as gold.

However, in order to claim the top spot come Jan. 1, they’ll have to go to Alabama, to Ole Miss and win an SEC title game in Atlanta. Mississippi State has done everything right so far, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. That being said, everyone and their mother expected this team to be atop these sacred rankings.

No. 2 Florida State

Florida State has certainly looked much more vulnerable this season compared to their title march last year, but they’re still in the same undefeated boat with Mississippi State.

Close calls against Oklahoma State, Clemson, NC State and Notre Dame make the Seminoles look less fearsome than last year, but on the flip side, they know how to grind out close games.

The Jameis Winston soap opera rages on in Tallahassee, but the Noles continue to not get distracted. Their big test is tomorrow when they travel to Louisville. Florida State hasn’t lost a football game since 2012, so it is no surprise that they have a seat as one of college football’s new Knights of the Round Table.

No. 3 Auburn

Now things get interesting! The Auburn Tigers enter the list at No. 3 with their only loss coming to No. 1 Mississippi State. The Tigers are a very talented football team led by their dynamic quarterback Nick Marshall. I think the same argument applies to them that applies to FSU, they were a last second play away from winning it all last year.

Everything has a tendency to go to hell following the top two spots because the selection committee simply is choosing between about 16 one-loss teams from Power 5 conferences (Sorry Marshall, I believe in you).

I can’t say I’m too surprised the committee went with Auburn considering the Tigers’ one loss seems to be the highest possible quality. It came to the best team in the country according to the committee.

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The Tigers still have a lot of work to do, especially if they want to make it to the SEC Championship in Atlanta let alone the final in Arlington. Their big matchups include a trip to Oxford this Saturday to take on Ole Miss, a battle with Georgia Nov. 15 and the Iron Bowl Nov. 29.

No. 4 Ole Miss

Now things get even more interesting! Ole Miss crapped all over themselves in Death Valley in a 10-7 loss to LSU. Now, they’re back in the disturbing jumble of one-loss teams.

This is the only selection that is perplexing. Under the quality loss argument used to put Auburn at No. 3, I think this spot should go to Notre Dame, seeing that they also lost to one of the top teams in the rankings.

However, this Ole Miss selection sends an interesting precedent and might dispel the old standing “don’t lose too late” argument.

That’s the idea playing out in the AP Poll right now with Alabama up at No. 3. They lost earlier than Ole Miss so they’re higher. I’m glad to see the committee evaluating teams with this new approach, but Ole Miss doesn’t strike me as the second best one-loss team.

Every college football team will have a crap game. That’s what happens when your team is comprised of 75 college kids. That being said, Ole Miss looked bad last weekend. Really bad. Based on the eye test, I think this spot should go to TCU, whose one loss was a heartbreaker on the road at Baylor, in a game that could easily have gone either way.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, the committee’s rankings will be turned upside down and run through a meat grinder come Jan. 1. It’ll certainly be fun. See you next week committee!

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