If the five-year history of the College Football Playoff has taught us anything it is this: Don’t start off third in the initial rankings.
The 13-member selection committee headed by Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens gathered at a hotel in Grapevine, Texas, on Sunday to hammer out its first top 25 of the season. It was revealed Tuesday night.
Ohio State, LSU, Alabama and Penn State are the top four in the College Football Playoff selection committee’s first rankings of the season.
Next up were defending national champion Clemson, Georgia and Oregon. The 13-member committee will produce four more sets of rankings each Tuesday before the only ones that really count come out on selection Sunday, Dec. 8.
The top four in the selection committee’s initial rankings have never all reached the semifinals in the playoff’s five-year history. Eleven of the 20 teams that started in the top four of the CFP rankings have reached the playoff, but, oddly, never the team ranked third.
Over the last five years, 11 of the 20 teams to appear in the top four of the committee’s initial rankings went on to reach the playoff. The hit rate has been going up. In 2014, just one of the initial first four advanced to the playoff: second-place Florida State. That increased to two the next two years. The last two years, three of the initial top four made the playoff.