Ohio State is No. 1 in the College Football Playoff selection committee’s initial rankings of the season. Georgia is No. 6, the highest ranked one-loss team.
The rankings, released Tuesday night, have LSU at No. 2, Alabama at No. 3 and Penn State at No. 4. Defending national champion Clemson is No. 5. The top five teams are undefeated.
Georgia is followed in the rankings by three other one-loss teams: No. 7 Oregon, No. 8 Utah and No. 9 Oklahoma.
The Bulldogs are ranked ahead of those three teams despite a bad home loss to South Carolina. Committee chairman Rob Mullens said that loss was offset by Georgia’s victories over Notre Dame and Florida.
“I think the separator for (Georgia) at this point was the two top-15 wins,” Mullens said on a conference call after the rankings were revealed.
Florida, with defeats to LSU and Georgia, is the committee’s highest-ranked two-loss team at No. 10. Notre Dame, which also has two losses, is No. 15.
Ohio State, quarterbacked by Justin Fields, a transfer from Georgia, got the committee’s top ranking after two months of dominant performances on offense and defense.
LSU got the No. 2 spot ahead of Alabama on the strength of the Tigers’ marquee wins over Auburn, which is No. 11 in the committee’s rankings, and Florida. LSU and Alabama meet Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The committee’s choice of Penn State at No. 4 ahead of Clemson was a bit of a surprise. “Penn State’s strength of schedule gave it an edge over an impressive Clemson,” said Mullens, citing the Nittany Lions’ wins over Michigan (the committee’s No. 14 team) and Iowa (No. 18).
The No. 6 ranking puts Georgia in good position to reach the playoff if it wins its four remaining regular-season games and the SEC Championship game.
The 13-member selection committee will re-rank the teams each of the next five weeks, culminating Dec. 8 with the rankings that will set the field and bracket for the four-team playoff. The committee, which met Monday and Tuesday in Grapevine, Texas, includes six current athletic directors (Oregon’s Mullens and Georgia Tech’s Todd Stansbury among them), three retired coaches and four others.
One of the playoff semifinals this season will be played in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The other semifinal will be in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
College Football Playoff rankings
1. Ohio State (8-0)
2. LSU (8-0)
3. Alabama (8-0)
4. Penn State (8-0)
5. Clemson (8-0)
6. Georgia (7-1)
7. Oregon (8-1)
8. Utah (8-1)
9. Oklahoma (7-1)
10. Florida (7-2)
11. Auburn (7-2)
12. Baylor (8-0)
13. Wisconsin (6-2)
14. Michigan (7-2)
15. Notre Dame (6-2)
16. Kansas State (6-2)
17. Minnesota (8-0)
18. Iowa (6-2)
19. Wake Forest (7-1)
20. Cincinnati (7-1)
21. Memphis (8-1)
22. Boise State (7-1)
23. Oklahoma State (6-3)
24. Navy (7-1)
25. SMU (8-1)
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