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College football rankings: 3 SEC teams in top 4


We are only two weeks from the College Football Playoff committee’s initial rankings for the 2019 season. Those Tuesday night affairs generally aren’t big newsbreakers – we often can figure out which teams will be ranked where by the always-consistent committee – but the chairman’s comments trying to explain the rankings sometimes are illuminating.

The committee’s big mission in two weeks will be to give us a gauge on how it will rank the likes of Baylor and Minnesota, which are undefeated and still could be in two weeks.

Between now and November 5, Baylor plays only West Virginia, in Waco. Minnesota plays only Maryland, in Minneapolis.

The Baylor and Minnesota schedules are backloaded – Baylor plays Oklahoma and Texas in November; the Golden Gophers play Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin in November.

Will the committee rank Baylor and/or Minnesota based on their record or based on their schedule?

That’s a relevant question, because the same can be asked about OU/Florida or Auburn/Clemson or Alabama/Oregon comparisons. College football’s historic love affair with unbeaten teams no matter how soft their road has been slowly dissipating over the years. But it isn’t gone yet.

This week, I’ve got three SEC teams ranked in the top four. One-loss Florida and one-loss Auburn each have an outstanding victory that unbeatens OU, Ohio State, Clemson and Alabama can’t match. That’s how the committee should rank teams – compare schedules and reward teams that played a difficult slate.

Here are the rankings, and remember, they are not based on what I think will happen. They are based on what has happened. Who you played, where you played and how you did:

1. LSU 7-0: The Bayou Bengals host Auburn on Saturday. If Auburn wins, I’m almost positive I’ll rank Auburn No. 1, Florida No. 2 and LSU No. 3. Each with a loss to one of the other in that top three. If you don’t believe me, hide and watch.

2. Penn State 7-0: The Nittany Lions have put together a solid resume’. Really solid. Pitt, Iowa and Michigan are among the teams Penn State has beaten.

3. Florida 7-1: The Gators didn’t look like much when they squeaked by Miami on a neutral field in August and barely survived at Kentucky in September. But Florida looks pretty dang good now. The win at South Carolina was solid.

4. Auburn 6-1: That neutral-field win over Oregon looked fabulous on August 31. The Ducks haven’t lost since and are in the top 10. What’s the next word up from fabulous?

5. Oklahoma 7-0: Until the November slate of quality opponents arrive, the Sooners have a better chance of falling than rising. Kansas State this week. Off next week.

6. Ohio State 7-0: Things are about to get interesting for the Buckeyes. Three of their final five games are against Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan.

7. Oregon 6-1: Don’t sleep on Oregon making the College Football Playoff. The Ducks still have some quality games left (Southern Cal, Arizona State), plus a likely Pac-12 title game against perhaps Utah, which could even be 11-1.

8. Clemson 7-0: The Tigers’ schedule is like those PGA Tour events played at multiple courses. Most of the good players are on Pebble Beach. Clemson is playing Spyglass Hill. Not that Spyglass is a bad course. It’s just not Pebble Beach.

9. Alabama 7-0: Welcome to the top 10, Bama. Unlike Clemson, though, the Crimson Tide soon will start playing Pebble Beach.

10. Notre Dame 5-1: Sort of odd to rank the Fighting Irish ahead of Georgia, since the Bulldogs would be in next two or three teams listed and Georgia beat the Irish. But three things: 1) Notre Dame has the next two best wins (Virginia and Southern Cal) among the Irish/Bulldog victims; 2) the Notre Dame-Georgia game was in Athens; and 3) Notre Dame didn’t lose at home to South Carolina.

Related Photos
LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson (2) tries to fight off a tackle by Mississippi State safety Brian Cole II (32) after a pass reception during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson (2) tries to fight off a tackle by Mississippi State safety Brian Cole II (32) after a pass reception during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f742fc7da168bf1676c0987566c01872.jpg" alt="Photo - LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson (2) tries to fight off a tackle by Mississippi State safety Brian Cole II (32) after a pass reception during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)" title="LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson (2) tries to fight off a tackle by Mississippi State safety Brian Cole II (32) after a pass reception during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)"><figcaption>LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson (2) tries to fight off a tackle by Mississippi State safety Brian Cole II (32) after a pass reception during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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