Of note, during Ohio State's national championship season in 2014 the Buckeyes entered the playoff rankings at No. 16, the lowest ranking to win the title in the history of the college football playoffs.
If Alabama beats LSU and reaches the SEC Championship, then falls to the Bulldogs or Wildcats, provided they finish with one loss, it could be the flawless storm that leaves MI out of the playoff, even at 12-1.
While the Wildcats have been a bit underrated for much of the season, the College Football Playoff committee gave them plenty of respect, ranking them No. 9 - one spot ahead of Ohio State - in their first rankings of the season. Has the committee not seen Utah State play - the same can be said for Houston which is playing at a level similar to Utah State by just crushing its competition.
On average, two teams in the first four have finished in the final four.
Yes, and once again it's the conference whose fans enjoy bugging the rest of us with their "S-E-C" chants. A Utes loss would send this two-loss team likely below Iowa.
How can this happen?
New rankings will be revealed every Tuesday by the 13-member committee until the final selections are announced December 2. Meanwhile, Alabama wins out after its loss to LSU. SEC West foe LSU sits at No. 3. This scenario would leave two SEC teams with identical 12-1 records.
Georgia (7-1) knows if it wins out and repeats as SEC champion, it nearly certainly will be back in the four-team College Football Playoff.
Texas checked in at No. 17 after losing to Oklahoma State in Stillwater last weekend. If the Mountaineers can win those two hard matchups and take care of business in its other two games (TCU and at Oklahoma State), it would head to the Big 12 Championship Game with a formidable 11-1 record.
But don't write off the Big 12 and Pac-12 just yet.
Wazzu came in higher than we thought it would, but upon close inspection it's clear the Cougars still need lots of help to reach the top four.
This is the first of six weekly rankings released by the selection committee, with final rankings to be revealed on December 2 when the four semifinal teams will be announced along with teams participating in the remainder of the New Year's Six bowl games. Rounding out the selections were Clemson and Notre Dame at #2 and #4 respectively.
USU visits Hawaii and Boise State in November, with San Jose State coming to Logan in between.
The full rankings are below. LSU, blemished at 7-1 but with a dominant victory over Georgia, got the third slot. Oklahoma 8. Washington State 9.
No. 14 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan - This isn't a must-lose for the Wolverines, but the earlier Michigan could go down, the better for the Sooners. Texas 18. Mississippi State 19. They come off their most dominating performance so far, a 41-7 pummeling of No. 22 North Carolina State in what was billed as a tight showdown between the ACC's last two undefeated teams.