Based on the opening playoff rankings, it appears the committee highly values how the losing opponents of the playoff hopefuls fare throughout the season.
The teams at the top of the initial rankings will likely get jumbled up after this weekend simply because of the Alabama-LSU and Georgia-Kentucky games.
The committee releases updated rankings every Tuesday until the final regular season week in the college football schedule. Across the Big Ten it's Michigan coming in at No. 5 just outside of the playoff field with Ohio State at No. 10 while Michigan State and Wisconsin both are unranked in the opening week of the poll.
Georgia lost to LSU, has a win over No. 11 Florida and plays at No. 9 Kentucky on Saturday. That title is now reserved for West Virginia. Texas will trail Oklahoma and West Virginia in the Playoff rankings, but it'll be a good ways outside of the top 10.
It's probably the question I've seen most often from MI fans: What if Alabama loses at LSU and then wins out, and LSU, Georgia or Kentucky finish as a 12-1 SEC champ?
These first two scenarios pit MI against Alabama because the Crimson Tide is the one outlier that can survive an average resume due to sheer dominance and the recent history of its dynasty. They started at No. 18 a year ago but were snubbed from the playoff and finished 2017 undefeated and ranked No. 6.
If form holds, two of the top four teams in the first CFP ranking of the season will go on to play in the national semifinals. "I know that", Swinney said. The highest-ranked Group of 5 conference champion earns a spot in one of the New Year's Six Access Bowls. But it seems the committee cares only about resume.
In all four years of the CFP era, a team that started 12th or worse either made the playoff or was the first team left out: 2017 Ohio State (started 13th, finished fifth), 2016 Penn State (started 12th, finished fifth), 2015 Oklahoma (started 15th, made the playoff) and 2014 Ohio State (started 16th, won the title).
The rankings, announced Tuesday on ESPN, name the four teams now selected to participated in the postseason for the national championship. Victor could still be a non-factor if it loses in the SEC championship game or before that juncture.
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