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Alabama sits atop CFP rankings; SEC’s strength of schedule improves

Once again for those in the back: If you’re on the cusp, then who you beat matters more than who you lost to.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Louisiana State John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Halfway through its four-week update, not much has changed at the top of the College Football Playoff rankings, well, except for the fait accompli of Michigan joining the fold, a development most had already assumed for the last few weeks — Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan are your top four seeds and in that order.

More proof is rolling in (as if we needed it,) that losses take a distant back seat to the wins on-hand: the CFP has been a very consistent lot in that respect, even if the losses have been whoopings. Thus, Georgia picking up a solid win in Kentucky mattered enough to bump them to No. 5. LSU, with the nation’s No. 1 SOS, still sits at No. 7 and are ranked ahead of one-loss conference-leading Washington State (No. 9), West Virginia (10), and UCF (13) — the latter interestingly lost a spot after defeating then 5-3 Temple: the defense is so bad that it horrified the committee. Florida and Auburn, which both have lost some iffy games, still have quality wins on the resume and are rewarded accordingly.

Looking closer to home, the SEC’s overall SOS has been buffed a lot with the interconference sniping: Auburn (24). Mississippi State (16), Florida (15), Kentucky (11), Georgia (5), LSU (7) and Alabama (1) all check in this week. That leaves three more quality win opportunities remaining on Alabama’s schedule, and it does build-in a buffer should the Tide drop one of its remaining games — Alabama can lose one and still very much be at play for a No. 4 spot over, say, undefeated Notre Dame or the one-loss winners of the B12 / P12. This is especially true given how the Committee has (rightly, I think) negged the Pac 12: it’s just not a good league at all.

Here are the committee chairman’s, Rob Mullens, remarks:


So, does anyone seem too high? Too low? Who ultimately makes the field of four?