Eight teams the first College Football Playoff rankings got wrong
The first College Football Playoff rankings are out! Naturally, there are differences in opinion. From Florida State to Alabama to Notre Dame, here are four underrated and four overrated teams from the committee's initial top 25.
Getty ImagesRich Barnes/Marvin Gentry/Matt C
Overrated: No. 4 Ole Miss
The biggest surprise in the first College Football Playoff rankings was having Ole Miss in the current playoff field. The Rebs lost last week at LSU and didn't look good at all while doing so. But the committee clearly valued head-to-head wins, otherwise Alabama (No. 6) could have easily taken this spot. Will Ole Miss be in the top four at the end of the year? It's unlikely, but they do get Auburn (No. 3) and Mississippi State (No. 1) at home.
Getty ImagesChris Graythen
Underrated: No. 6 Alabama
Speaking of Bama, the Tide cut to the heart of the 'best' vs. 'most deserving' discussion. On resume alone, they're probably properly rated, with a loss at Ole Miss, but they've dominated most of their other opponents. Give the Tide credit for beating West Virginia out of conference, a win that looks better and better by the week. The question for the Tide is: Would you take Nick Saban's team head-to-head against some of the teams above it? Would you take Bama over Ole Miss if they played again? What about Bama over FSU? It's easy to say yes.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAChristopher Hanewinckel
Overrated: No. 15 Nebraska
Apologies to Ameer Abdullah -- a truly wonderful player -- but there's no way the Cornhuskers should be ranked in the top 15. They have only one loss -- to Michigan State -- but they struggled to beat FCS McNeese State at home, and there isn't a marquee win on the Huskers' schedule. At Northwestern? Rutgers? Miami? Win at Wisconsin in two weeks and Nebraska will add a little more to its case.
Underrated: No. 10 Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish at No. 10 is pretty surprising, since most polls had them in the top 6-8 range, with some even giving them love in the top four. Notre Dame's issue, like Nebraska, is that there isn't a good win on its schedule. Michigan, Stanford and North Carolina haven't panned out, leaving the Irish's loss at Florida State its most 'impressive' game. They'll have opportunities at Arizona State and USC to impress, but this still feels like a couple spots too low for ND.
Getty ImagesJohn David Mercer
Overrated: No. 18 Oklahoma
The Sooners have two losses -- at TCU and home against Kansas State. Their most impressive win is at WVU, and there isn't a close second. They struggled to beat Texas and walloped Louisiana Tech, Tulsa (on the road) and Tennessee to begin the year. That's not a better resume than No. 19 LSU (wins vs. Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky, Ole Miss) or No. 20 WVU (wins at Maryland, at Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State and home against Baylor, with a non-conference loss against Alabama). OU beat WVU head-to-head, which is probably the reason the Sooners got the nod.
Getty ImagesKevin Jairaj
Underrated: No. 12 Arizona
The Cats have one of the most impressive wins of the season, at Oregon, and have been a mostly dominant offensive team. Given the committee has so clearly placed an emphasis on head-to-head and ranked the Ducks No. 5, there shouldn't be a seven-place discrepancy between these two teams. The good news for Arizona fans: They have UCLA, Utah and Arizona State all left on the schedule, so opportunities to move up and bolster their case remain.
James Snook-USA TODAY SportsJames Snook
Overrated: No. 2 Florida State
Yes, the Seminoles have won 23 games in a row. Yes, they're the defending national champions. None of that should matter for 2014, and FSU hasn't been one of the four best teams in the country, let alone one of the top two, by any indication. They rank 24th in total offense at 6.48 yards per play and 41st in total defense (5.09). Give FSU credit for beating Notre Dame and Clemson, but this isn't close to what the second-best team in the country should look like.
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
Underrated: No. 13 Baylor
The Bears lost their most recent game, on the road at West Virginia, and have slipped back in the Big 12 discussion because of No. 7 TCU, No. 9 K-State and others, but they're better than No. 13 in the country. At the end of the regular season, it wouldn't be surprising if the Bears were a one-loss Big 12 champ, because their path there is better than others in the league. They are at Oklahoma on Nov. 8 but otherwise have Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Kansas State all at home. There's a good chance the Bears win out and will be in the playoff discussion.