SEC loads 7 teams into first CFP rankings

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With the way that the College Football Playoff Committee feels about the SEC, you could nearly feel it coming, so when MI football was ranked outside the top five Tuesday, in the first edition of the playoff rankings, it shouldn't have surprised anyone. A one-loss Crimson Tide team probably opens the door to a two-SEC team playoff once again.

As far as Notre Dame is concerned, this is just confirmation that all they need to do is win to get in.

But Notre Dame's placement behind LSU is a bit concerning because it reflects a slight lack of respect from the committee.

The last two seasons, none of the eventual playoff teams were ranked worse than sixth (Ohio State in 2016) in the committee's first ranking.

Considering 2010 was the last time three teams entered bowl season undefeated, don't be surprised if at least one team slips up, leaving someone else to challenge for a semifinal trip to either the Orange Bowl or Cotton Bowl.

While some might react with a sour face to staring behind three teams from one conference in Georgia, LSU and Alabama, the Sooners already have a leg up on one of their previous two College Football Playoff campaigns. Clemson is the ACC's lone team up top while the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 have a few teams in the mix.

That being said, here's the intel we can glean from the committee's first rankings of 2018.

The top four at the end of the season advance to the College Football Playoff.

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LSU is the only one-loss team inside the top four.

"UCF is an excellent team, and as you know, they're undefeated". The computer rankings would sometimes generate controversy, and left teams feeling snubbed on more than one occasion.

Especially with the next ranked teams Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma, who play in Power 5 Conferences, lurking right behind Notre Dame.

The first set of rankings from the College Football Playoff committee was released on Tuesday, and it includes both of the schools in Iowa in the football bowl subdivision (FBS).

Penn State is set to face MI this weekend in a game that will essentially make or break the legitimacy of the Nittany Lions' playoff hopes. The top four nearly certainly will change by this time next week, after Alabama and LSU meet Saturday night in the Bayou, and there are three other games featuring teams in the top 20 that could cause further movement. The teams have traded blowout wins the last two meetings.

Switching to the Big 10, Michigan (7-1) leads the way at No. 5 after recent wins over Wisconsin and rival Michigan State.

Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back and former USC player Ronnie Lott; former Arkansas, Clemson and Rice coach Ken Hatfield; and former Arizona Republic sports columnist Paola Boivin also are starting three-year terms. A&M closes the season with a showdown against No. 3 LSU.

Whether or not the Eagles make a home for themselves in the CFP rankings is likely dependent on their matchup with Virginia Tech this weekend.

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