Alabama No. 1 in first College Football Playoff rankings, three more SEC teams in top 10
Alabama is No. 1 in the initial rankings from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, rankings that featured five SEC teams: four of them in the top nine.
The current playoff field with Alabama is No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Ohio State.
If those rankings hold, Alabama would have its choice of semifinal location, where it would likely choose the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans for proximity. The Crimson Tide would face Ohio State, while the Rose Bowl would feature Notre Dame against Clemson.
"Alabama this year, they're 7-0 and in every area — offense, defense, special teams — I think they've won all of their games by at least 15 points," Gary Barta, College Football Playoff Selection Committee chair and Iowa athletics director, said in a teleconference. "They're averaging almost 50 points a game now. There were so many things about Alabama that led them to put them in the No. 1 spot."
The SEC owned the rest of the top 10: No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Florida and No. 9 Georgia. Texas A&M and Florida were partially separated by the Aggies' win over the Gators, 41-38.
"No matter how close teams are or where they are, we look at several factors; head-to-head is one of those factors," Barta said. He added Texas A&M benefitted from its lone loss coming to Alabama.
Barta said Georgia's win over No. 21 Auburn was a quality win for the committee in ranking the Bulldogs ahead of Oklahoma, Miami and others.
Auburn was the lone ranked SEC team outside of the top nine.
Among Group of 5 teams, Cincinnati was at the top at No. 7. BYU's spot at No. 14 drew criticism from the ESPN crew during the televised announcement. Group of 5 representation from there was Coastal Carolina at No. 20, Marshall at No. 21 and Tulsa at No. 25.
2. Notre Dame
4. Ohio State
5. Texas A&M
13. Iowa State
19. North Carolina
20. Coastal Carolina
23. Oklahoma State
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson