Although it's not necessarily "the moment we've all been waiting for"--the poll that counts will be released over a month from now--tonight's release of the inaugural College Football Playoff poll marks the beginning of a new postseason era in college football. The rankings, which were compiled by the 12-person playoff committee, were released earlier this evening EXCLUSIVELY on ESPN (hello, ratings!). Here's the full poll then a few assorted thoughts to follow:
- For comparison, here's what the BCS would likely look like after week nine if it was still around:
- The top two are unsurprising as Mississippi State comes in at #1 and Florida State at #2. After that, things were a bit interesting.
- Auburn comes in at #3, likely because their only loss is to #1 and they own a strong road win over Kansas State.
- Ole Miss was a bit of a surprise at #4, but as ESPN noted, they were likely rewarded for their head-to-head win over Alabama, which they should be rewarded for.
- Oregon and Alabama round out the top six of the inaugural poll as the Ducks have bounced back since their loss to Arizona several weeks ago. Alabama shouldn't have much of a gripe about where they start due to the Ole Miss loss, and the Tide have the second-easiest road of the four top SEC teams as they get both MSU and Auburn at home down the stretch.
- One of the best points to note from tonight's broadcast of the rankings: Rece Davis mentioned that at this time last season, Michigan State was ranked 22nd, where UCLA currently sits. The Spartans finished the season inside the top four, which proves the most important point of the evening: these rankings can/should/will definitely change from now until the final, important one comes out. There are a ton of games left to be played, and these rankings will be shuffled quite a bit in the next six weeks or so.
- What will be interesting to see next week is how much weekly results influence these rankings.