The first of seven rankings from the College Football Playoff Committee were announced live in an ESPN made-for-TV event Tuesday night. The anticipation is high since this is the first year of the four-team playoff, and there is going to be major buzz over what teams occupy the first four spots. However, everyone needs to remember that there is still a lot of football to be played and these rankings will likely change, and a lot.
Outside of the first look at who the committee see's who the current four best teams are, there is also interest from the Group of Five conferences which earn one automatic bid for being the highest rated team from the committee. That team should also be known Tuesday night, barring no team ranked outside of the power conferences.
The teams in contention for that golden ticket, as of now, are Marshall, East Carolina, Boise State and Colorado State. However, since there is a rule stating that a conference title is required that puts the Rams at the end of this order.
On Tuesday night, the selection committee pegged East Carolina as the highest rated team from outside of the power conference and thus has the early leg up on earning a spot to the New Year's Day bowl. This can not be stated enough: these are the first rankings and there is still a lot of football to be played and things will drastically change.
Good news for Boise State is that Marshall is not ranked, so in reality the Broncos need East Carolina to lose a game, but for good measure a Marshall loss would help. Colorado State is on the outside but they have the issue of needing Boise State to stumble to even have a shot since a conference title is required to earn the New Year's Day bowl game from the Group of Five.
Here is the committee's initial top 25 rankings:
|Rank||Team||Conference||Toughest opponent left (per F/+)||If the season ended today ...|
|1||Mississippi State||SEC||Ole Miss||Sugar Bowl vs. Ole Miss|
|2||Florida State||ACC||Louisville||Rose Bowl vs. Auburn|
|3||Auburn||SEC||Ole Miss||Rose Bowl vs. Florida State|
|4||Ole Miss||SEC||Auburn||Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State|
|5||Oregon||Pac-12||Stanford||New Year's bowl|
|7||TCU||Big 12||Kansas State||New Year's bowl|
|8||Michigan State||Big Ten||Ohio State||New Year's bowl|
|9||Kansas State||Big 12||TCU||New Year's bowl|
|10||Notre Dame||Independent||Louisville||New Year's bowl|
|14||Arizona State||Pac-12||Notre Dame|
|16||Ohio State||Big Ten||Michigan State|
|20||West Virginia||Big 12||TCU|
|21||Clemson||ACC||Georgia Tech||Orange Bowl*|
|23||East Carolina||American||UCF||New Year's bowl*|