Entering Tuesday, the Hokies (7-1, 3-1 ACC) control their own destiny when it comes to the Coastal and, dubbed No. 13 in the rankings by the committee, could vie for one of the playoff spots (if a few dominoes fall in their favor along the way).
Over the first three seasons of the playoff, a total of five teams have been ranked in the top four of the initial ranking and gone on to reach the semifinals: Florida State (which was second) in 2014, Clemson (first) and Alabama (fourth) in 2015, and Alabama (first) and Clemson (second) in 2016. Wisconsin and Miami were the bottom two teams in the top ten behind one-loss teams Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State and TCU. Georgia's one close game was at Notre Dame in September, a 20-19 victory.
These initial rankings also give us an indication that the committee values convincing wins very highly. The Tide should finally face some tougher competition with three of their final four games being against now ranked teams. The following two seasons, it was the Clemson Tigers who won their semifinal game and made it to the title game, coming home as the national champs last season with a thrilling win over Alabama. It's worth noting that ESPN analyst Booger McFarland said if both teams got to the championship game with unbeaten records, the only way both teams make the playoffs is if Alabama wins. Being undefeated to the committee means nothing if you aren't playing multiple good teams.
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Although Alabama has been dominant, it doesn't have a win over a team now ranked in the committee's Top 25. Rounding out the top 10 are No. 8 TCU (7-1) and No. 10 Miami (7-0). The Demon Deacons come into town sitting at 5-3, but Notre Dame has already beaten better teams by a lot this year so the committee will be expecting to see Notre Dame win convincingly this weekend.
In the CFP's first three seasons, no conference has placed more than one team in the playoff field in a given season. Here are eight teams that aren't dead yet and can still make the College Football Playoff. Ohio State is No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, five spots ahead of the Sooners. Oklahoma State (7-1) 12.
I can't say I knew MSU would be ranked because I'm obviously not on the committee, but I felt pretty good about it. Time will tell just how serious of a contender that the Miami Hurricanes are this season.