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The Playoff Committee’s First Poll – What Does it Mean?

In a word, this early in the season, this first poll means very little at all except to see the mindset of the committee.

The Playoff Committee’s First Poll – What Does it Mean?

By: Larry Burton

Here is the result of the ultimate deciding poll, done by the football playoff committee of 12, in their first poll.

1. Mississippi State

2. Florida State

3. Auburn

4. Ole Miss

Now the also rans

5. Oregon

6. Alabama

7. TCU

8. Michigan State

9. Kansas State

11. Georgia

12. Arizona

13. Baylor

14. Arizona State

15. Nebraska

16. Ohio State

17. Utah

18. Oklahoma

19. LSU

20. West Virginia

21. Clemson

22. UCLA

23. East Carolina

24. Duke

25. Louisville

Now, what does that tell us about the committee? That clearly, they didn’t want to have Alabama in the top four based on the one loss and the sloppiness of the game against Arkansas. It proves that for some reason they don’t show logic by placing Oregon ahead of Alabama. Oregon lost at home to an unranked opponent by 7 points while Alabama lost on the road to a team they have in they themselves have in the top 4. They too had an almost upset at Washington State as Alabama had an almost against Arkansas.

It shows the committee was reluctant to place 5 SEC teams in the top six spots which it could have easily done. It’s seen as a way including more teams from across the nation in the polls top spots. In a sad way, it shows “political correctness” is a concern of the committee over logic.

But does that make Nick Saban’s idea that a win is a win nonsense? No. Not in any way.

What does this first vote mean for Alabama? Nothing. It makes no difference if they made them number one or number 12. If Alabama wins out, they’re in and they know it.

If anything, what this vote means is that they may have done Saban a huge favor and placed a chip on the shoulders of his team. It now gives them something to feel upset about and play with that chip on their shoulder. Personally, I think Saban would have rather then be put down at number ten or twelve. That would be motivation he just can’t coach.

But for Alabama, much like Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Georgia, the message remains the same as before the poll came out, “Win and you’re in.”

The SEC champion will have one spot nailed down in the playoffs no matter what and if Alabama wins out, it will be the at large one loss team in the playoffs based on the grueling schedule and number of top five teams it had to defeat. And the same goes for Auburn and the same goes for Ole Miss should they win out.

Most don’t think there will be a 2 loss team chosen from the SEC or any conference given the anticipated plethora of one loss teams, especially one loss conference championship teams, but a one loss SEC West team does stand more than gamblers chance of making the playoffs, it’s almost a certainty.

So in the end, football will go on as it usually does and has for years, with the real winners and losers being decided on the field and that’s how it should be.

Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter

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