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Do Tonight's Rankings Really Matter?

These rankings mean everything and nothing at the same time at this point of the year.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As we wait for tonight’s much anticipated unveiling of the first college football playoff rankings of the season, I want to remind you of last season’s initial rankings. You know, the rankings that had Ohio State 16th. The rankings that had three of the top four spots dedicated to SEC teams, and had our Baylor Bears ranked 13th.

These rankings mean everything and nothing at the same time at this point of the year. Sure, you want to be as close to the top as possible, but Mississippi State held the top spot last year and ended up sixth when the final rankings came out. The eventual champs still had J.T. Barrett playing quarterback, and were slated near the bottom of the rankings. Notre Dame held the number 10 spot initially, and did not even make the top 25 at the end of the season. In fact, six teams that held a ranking when the first poll came out did not have a spot in the final poll.

The biggest drop in initial to final rankings last year was from Auburn who started at 3, and then finished at 19 just ahead of Boise State and Louisville. There are so many great games left in the season that drops like this are possible. The number 12 team at the release of the final rankings, Georgia Tech, was not even ranked when the initial rankings came out.

The initial and final rankings from 2014 are below:

First Rank Team Conference Final Rank Team Conference Difference Ranked in in first, not in Final
1 Mississippi State SEC 1 Alabama SEC 4 Notre Dame (10)
2 Florida State ACC 2 Oregon Pac 12 3 Nebraska (15)
3 Auburn SEC 3 Florida State ACC -1 Oklahoma (18)
4 Ole Miss SEC 4 Ohio State Big 10 12 West Virginia (20)
5 Oregon Pac 12 5 Baylor Big 12 8 East Carolina (23)
6 Alabama SEC 6 TCU Big 12 1 Duke (24)
7 TCU Big 12 7 Mississippi State SEC -6
8 Michigan State Big 10 8 Michigan State Big 10 0
9 Kansas State Big 12 9 Ole Miss SEC -5
10 Notre Dame IND 10 Arizona Pac 12 2
11 Georgia SEC 11 Kansas State Big 12 -2
12 Arizona Pac 12 12 Georgia Tech ACC NR
13 Baylor Big 12 13 Georgia SEC -2
14 Arizona State Pac 12 14 UCLA Pac 12 8
15 Nebraska Big 10 15 Arizona State Pac 12 -1
16 Ohio State Big 10 16 Missouri SEC NR
17 Utah Pac 12 17 Clemson ACC 4
18 Oklahoma Big 12 18 Wisconsin Big 10 NR
19 LSU SEC 19 Auburn SEC -16
20 West Virginia Big 12 20 Boise State Mountain West NR
21 Clemson ACC 21 Louisville American 4
22 UCLA Pac 12 22 Utah Pac 12 -5
23 East Carolina American 23 LSU SEC -4
24 Duke ACC 24 USC Pac 12 NR
25 Louisville ACC 25 Minnesota Big 10 NR

A freshman quarterback led Ohio State to a championship, so I don’t see why Baylor can’t do the same with Stidham. We’ll see how the committee views us in a few hours. Personally, I don’t think the committee does anything. They just let the manatees from South Park pick the 25 teams necessary, and then they go on air to make a case for what they picked. Who knows? Just keep in mind that in no way are these rankings final.

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