Ohio State was No. 6 Tuesday night in the first College Football Playoff rankings, which came as no surprise. But seeing Texas A&M at No. 4 ahead of unbeaten Washington turned some heads. As for the top three, it was as expected: Alabama No. 1, Clemson No. 2 and Michigan No. 3, all unbeaten.
Ohio State was No. 6 Tuesday night in the first College Football Playoff rankings, which came as no surprise. But seeing Texas A&M at No. 4 ahead of unbeaten Washington turned some heads.
As for the top three, it was as expected: Alabama No. 1, Clemson No. 2 and Michigan No. 3, all unbeaten.
"Simply stated … in our mind we believe Texas A&M has played a stronger schedule at this point in time of the season over Washington," said first-year CFP selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt, the athletic director at Texas Tech.
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Of course, the top four that matters will come Dec. 4, when the semfinals will be set for the third College Football Playoff.
Ohio State won the first CFP title in the 2014 season, rising as a one-loss team into the final four based in large part on how it finished, including a 59-0 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. Then last season the Buckeyes, the first unanimous preseason No. 1 in the history of the Associated Press poll, lost in the 11th game to Michigan State and did not make the playoffs.
The Buckeyes might need a finish similar to 2014 to make the final four this year as they work to recover from a 24-21 loss two weeks ago at Penn State, which was No. 12 in the CFP rankings. But as OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett said, it's too early to get worked up about the rankings.
"I don't care about it too much being that there is still a lot of football to be played," Barrett said. "I understand - like last year, we were in it, we lose a game in November, then we're not in it.
"The year before that, we weren't in it; win a couple (big games) at the end of the year, we are in it. So that's the thing, we're not playing the playoffs this Saturday."
But the Buckeyes will be playing one-loss Nebraska, which was No. 10 in the initial CFP rankings. The fourth Big Ten team in the top 10 was two-loss Wisconsin at No. 8, behind Louisville and ahead of two-loss Auburn.
The first CFP rankings in 2014 came out a week earlier and featured Mississippi State at No. 1, followed by Florida State, Auburn and Mississippi. Oregon was No. 5, Alabama No. 6 and Ohio State No. 16. The final four wound up being No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Ohio State, with the Buckeyes winning the championship.
Last year, the first top four, which was released the first week of November, was No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Alabama. Michigan State was No. 7 and Oklahoma No. 15. The final four wound up being Clemson No. 1, Alabama No. 2, Michigan State No. 3 and Oklahoma No. 4, with Alabama winning the title.