NEW YORK (AP) — A couple of games played during week two of the season had a major effect on the first College Football Playoff rankings.
Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson were the top four teams in the selection committee’s initial top 25 released Tuesday night.
Oklahoma, Ohio State and Penn State were next as the committee members let head-to-head results and strength of schedule be their guide. The final rankings that will determine the participants in the College Football Playoff semifinals come out Dec. 3.
Georgia and Alabama, Southeastern Conference rivals, are both 8-0 and have been dominating their competition. The Bulldogs’ one close game was at Notre Dame in September, a 20-19 victory.
Committee chairman Kirby Hocutt, the athletic director for Texas Tech, said the Bulldogs had a slight edge over the Crimson Tide because of their victory against the Irish on Sept. 9.
The Fighting Irish (7-1) have not lost since, including blowouts of Michigan State (24th), Southern California (17th) and North Carolina State (20th). Those victories and the close loss to Georgia made the Irish the highest ranked among one-loss teams.
“The teams ranked three through seven are very evenly matched,” Hocutt said.
Hocutt said Clemson’s six victories against teams with winning records, including Virginia Tech (13th) and Auburn (14th), outweighed a loss on the road to a Syracuse team that is 4-4. That’s been a fairly consistent trend in the short history of the selection committee. The members tend not to get too caught up in the notion of a bad loss.
Hocutt also said Clemson (7-1) playing the second half against Syracuse without injured quarterback Kelly Bryant was a factor for the committee.
The rest of the top 10 was TCU at eight, followed by unbeatens Wisconsin and Miami.