4 takeaways from the 1st CFP Rankings

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It's that time of year again where the college football world gathers on Tuesdays to argue online over the decisions made by the 13-person College Football Playoff committee.

The first edition of the 2021 rankings dropped Tuesday, and, to nobody's surprise, Georgia was the top team in the country. It was after that when things got interesting.

Here are four takeaways from the most unpredictable CFP rankings drop in the eight-year history of the format.

The committee can't quit Alabama

Find something you love in life like the CFP committee loves Alabama. The Crimson Tide have made the semifinals in six of the seven years the format has been around, including three appearances as a one-loss team. They're on track to do that again after being placed at No. 2 ahead of undefeated Michigan State. So, why is Alabama only behind Georgia in the rankings?

The Crimson Tide do have those two top-25 wins over both of the Mississippi schools, but they both find themselves outside the top 15. The best team on Alabama's schedule, No. 15 Texas A&M, beat the Crimson Tide as a double-digit underdog with its backup quarterback.

Those five wins versus Power 5 teams that are .500 or better are incredibly misleading. Florida is 2-4 against other Power 5 squads this year and padded its resume with wins over FAU and South Florida to start the season. The same goes for Tennessee, which received a boost from two victories against Bowling Green and Tennessee Tech. Miami is also 2-4 versus Power 5 opponents.

Should the Crimson Tide win out, they'll have a road victory over No. 13 Auburn and a triumph over No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship on their resume. That'll be more than enough to put them in the semifinals. But to have them at No. 2 in the first edition is far too soon for that type of respect.

Oregon over Ohio State the right call

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After the AP Poll somehow ranked Ohio State ahead of Oregon on Sunday, the committee restored some sense of order by putting the Ducks at No. 4 ahead of the Buckeyes.

The only team to beat Ohio State this season is Oregon. The only team to hold the nation's most explosive offense under 30 points this year is Oregon. The only team to win a game at Ohio Stadium since 2017 is Oregon. Putting the 7-1 Buckeyes ahead of the 7-1 Ducks in the first edition of the CFP rankings would've been a terrible look for a committee that's said to value head-to-head results.

That's not to knock Ohio State. The Buckeyes are likely one of the top-four teams in the country. Winning out over the rest of their schedule, which would include victories over No. 3 Michigan State and No. 7 Michigan, as well as the Big Ten Championship, will put them in the CFP semifinals. They just haven't done enough to be ahead of a team they lost to that sports the same record. Thankfully, that's how the committee felt as well.

Thanks for coming out, Cincinnati

Congratulations to undefeated Cincinnati for becoming the first Group of 5 school in the eight-year history of the CFP to garner a top-six ranking. However, it didn't take long for any resulting euphoria to dissipate when committee chair Gary Barta spoke after the rankings were released.

Who else did they beat? How about every single team Cincinnati has played since the calendar flipped to 2020, outside of a three-point loss to Georgia - which is at the top of the committee's rankings - in last year's bowl game. The Bearcats' win at Notre Dame wasn't just a road victory over a top-10 opponent - it was the Fighting Irish's first home loss in 26 games.

Cincinnati has a very easy remaining schedule and will finish undefeated barring a significant upset. The fact the committee has never put a Group of 5 school in the top six before tells us the Bearcats were always a long shot to make the semifinals. They should have at least been in the top five in the first edition of the rankings before other schools could pass them based on strength of schedule.

Oklahoma shouldn't worry

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Oklahoma's perfect 9-0 record might be enough to convince the AP voters it's a top-four squad, but not the CFP committee. The Sooners found themselves all the way back at No. 8 in the first edition of the rankings, behind four teams that have one loss. While that may be cause for panic for some in the Oklahoma fanbase, they shouldn't be too worked up, as the Sooners likely control their own destiny.

Lincoln Riley's outfit enters its bye week with zero wins over currently ranked teams, something the program desperately needs to boost its resume. Luckily, Oklahoma faces No. 12 Baylor, a strong Iowa State team, and No. 11 Oklahoma State to finish the season. A perfect run would mean a likely rematch with one of those three programs in the Big 12 Championship. That should be enough to get the Sooners to the semis with a number of teams ahead of them still slated to face off in head-to-head matchups.

4 takeaways from the 1st CFP Rankings
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