Someone was bound to get upset about the initial rankings from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. In fact, other than upsetting people, it’s difficult to understand what purpose they serve, especially as we go forward and weekly rankings will, invariably, reveal inconsistencies.

Most of the upset people are elsewhere. Alabama isn’t used to being No. 3, where they landed in the initial poll, but that ranking seems fair. The Crimson Tide has not reached the meaty part of its schedule. That starts Saturday against No. 2 LSU. Ohio State came in at No. 1, based on the ease of its wins and a quality victory over Wisconsin. That’s fair.

Whether any of this is “motivational” for Alabama in Saturday’s showdown with LSU is anyone’s guess. Extra motivation isn’t really necessary for the game many Alabama players already consider their biggest rivalry. A win for either the Crimson Tide or the Tigers would solidify their position, obviously. Even a close loss isn’t going to dent LSU’s argument, which probably has to be the biggest concern for Clemson, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah among others. That group will be pulling for LSU to win out, preferring to take their chances with Alabama having only one more chance (at Auburn) for a marquee win.

By Sunday morning, the current rankings will crumble into dust. The committee will reconstitute them in a different form next Tuesday and such will be the weekly process until December when the final rankings (the only ones that matter) are released.

In the next set of rankings, Alabama will either have a win over LSU or a loss to LSU, plus various shades of gray within the black-and-white resulted. Was it close? Did Tua Tagovailoa play? What impact did that have?

Here’s a quick hint to all those answers: every factor will matter to precisely the extent that the Committee wants it to matter in order to reach the desired results at the end. That’s certainly not something Alabama has had to complain about in the brief history of the CFP. People grumbled about the seedings last season when Notre Dame as a semifinalist was a golden-helmeted free pass for someone.

But the Crimson Tide hasn’t been mistreated. It received a bid without even winning its division’s spot in Atlanta in 2017. (Ohio State once received the same courtesy, so if you are seeking a pattern, look to the big names.)

There will also be a lot of buzz about “strength of schedule.” One suggestion: note the “experts” who act like that’s a big deal on November 6 (when the season is about two-thirds complete) and then gradually back off of that as certain teams’ SOS goes up as they play highly-ranked opponents in November. Not every team in contention for a spot has to worry about those pesky decent teams popping up down the stretch.

If it all gets to be too much, just think back to 2014 when Ole Miss and Mississippi State were in the Top Four of the initial rankings.

If that doesn’t give you perspective, nothing will.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt

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