The NCAA unveiled its first of seven Top 25 rankings Tuesday night, which will ultimately have the top four teams placed into a much-desired playoff to determine its national champion. The selection committee will ultimately pick the four teams to play in the national semifinals and set the matchups for the other four big New Year’s Day bowls that are part of the playoff rotation.
The first ranking has Mississippi State at the top, followed by Florida State, Auburn and Mississippi. The Bulldogs and the Seminoles are both undefeated at 7-0, with the Tigers at 6-1 and the Rebels at 7-1.
As with any ranking system, and nothing unfamiliar with college football, controversy always follows, as did discussion last night into this morning on social media as well as the sports television and talk radio. Among those not in the top four are 16 teams in the FBS with just one loss, which includes all the teams ranked from No. 5 (Oregon) to No. 17 (Utah). In that mix is Michigan State, ranked No. 8 at 7-1, and Notre Dame, ranked No. 10 at 6-1.
Big Ten teams Nebraska (No. 15, 7-1) and Ohio State (No. 16, 6-1) are also in the discussion.
Much of the complaining from the general masses has been why four of the top six are from the SEC’s Western Division, to which Mississippi State, Auburn, Ole Miss and Alabama (No. 6) all reside. Mississippi State already has a win over Auburn and Mississippi over Alabama, but all four teams will face at least one other member of the division before the end of the year.
Florida State’s banner win came in the controversial finish over Notre Dame two weeks ago, to which Irish fans aren’t happy starting at No. 10 with that being its only blemish. Notre Dame entered the week ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, one spot ahead of Ole Miss and two ahead of Michigan State, whose best win to date was a nailbiter at home against Nebraska. The Spartans play Ohio State this weekend in what likely will determine the Big Ten Eastern Division champion.
Notre Dame will take on Navy this weekend before heading to Tempe next weekend to take on No. 14 Arizona State.