Published: Sat, November 03, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

AP Top 25 Podcast: Playoff race hits full stride Saturday

AP Top 25 Podcast: Playoff race hits full stride Saturday

Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Notre Dame earn the top 4 spots of the College Football Playoff rankings as MI and Georgia sit at No. 5 and No. 6. "In comparison, Notre Dame has three such wins". Alas, LSU got the No. 3 spot instead of Notre Dame.

Considering 2010 was the last time three teams entered bowl season undefeated, don't be surprised if at least one team slips up, leaving someone else to challenge for a semifinal trip to either the Orange Bowl or Cotton Bowl. They'll host Alabama this coming Saturday, and the loser of that game will likely fall out of the top four as long as Clemson and Notre Dame win their respective matchups.

In 2015 and '16, two teams in the committee's first four made the playoff.

New rankings will be revealed every Tuesday by the 13-member committee until the final selections are announced December 2.

In the first four years of the initial rankings, half of the teams in the top four reached the playoff.

Among the eight teams over the past four seasons that were part of the initial committee top four but did not make the playoff, only one was unranked on selection Sunday.

"You know, it's like John Wooden said, and I can't remember the exact quote, but basically: Don't let criticism or praise affect you negatively", Washington State coach Mike Leach said. Like last season, the seeds are planted for the SEC to send two teams to the playoff if the right amounts of water and sunlight are provided.

The rest of the top 10 includes No. 5 MI, followed by Georgia, Oklahoma, Washington State, Kentucky and Ohio State.

That year, the committee first showed its willingness to rank a team that had lost a game ahead of an unbeaten team, like it did today with LSU and Notre Dame. Why would the Big Ten be better off if MI wins out than Ohio State?

Michigan played no other teams of note in its non-conference games (Western Michigan and SMU), so the committee is basing the ranking on its Big Ten victories - dominant wins over Nebraska, Maryland and Wisconsin, a squeaker past Northwestern and a two-touchdown defeat of Michigan State.

Every team included in the top-25 playoff rankings has one or two losses, with the exception of No. 18 Mississippi State, No. 20 Texas A&M and No. 24 Iowa State. Starting the season against Wyoming, San Jose State and Eastern Washington doesn't exactly endear you to committee members. Yeah, an easy schedule allows the Knights to play it safe with Milton, but the team is good enough that it can do that and still win. Four teams, and only one Power-5 conference in the playoff.

West Virginia travels to No. 17 Texas this weekend and closes the season at home against No. 7 Oklahoma. So the rankings, for better or worse, make sense.

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