In the world of potential scenarios, a gut-wrenching one would have occurred in the Magnolia State this weekend had Mississippi State knocked off Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl forcing fans of the Maroon and White to wait to learn their playoff fate, but in the end, it looks like the Bulldogs never would have had a chance to play for the college football championship after the College Football Playoff committee announced their top four teams Sunday.
The committee placed four undisputed conference champions in the playoff field when they ranked Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State as the top four team. Two Big 12 teams shared a championship, and neither team made it to the playoffs, unable to hold off an Ohio State team on its third-string quarterback after the Buckeyes obliterated the Wisconsin Badgers.
Jeff Long, chairman of the playoff committee, later mentioned on ESPN that Ohio State's performance in a 13th game gave them a chance to impress the committee, an opportunity Mississippi State would not have had.
While Long added that the committee does not deal in hypotheticals, having seen the decision of the committee, it seems unlikely that a non-conference champion would have been able to make the playoff. With TCU dropping from No. 3 to No. 6, it also goes to prove that the committee does start fresh every week, and it does not seem as if the current rankings play into the discussion for future rankings. Even if the Bulldogs held the No. 4 position coming into the weekend, nothing would have worked to secure this position.
A few other nuggets of the conversation with Jeff Long after the announcement of the committee seemed to show some changes that teams should make to their schedule. Perhaps first of all, any conference should make sure they have a declared, on-field, champion. Additionally, with discussion of Baylor's non-conference schedule coming up, teams may have to be willing to take on tougher non-conference opponents, even if it means risking a loss.