On the same night the first College Football Playoff Committee Rankings of 2017 were released, the college football week got underway with a pair of MAC games. But the race to the final four continues in earnest on Saturday when every team in the committee's top 25 will hit the gridiron, knowing where they stand and what's at stake.
Here 's the complete Selection Committee Rankings:
The committee didn't fail to surprise with its initial release, putting Georgia ahead of Alabama for the top spot and slipping Notre Dame into the 3-hole. Most surprising was its placement of two undefeated Power 5 Conference teams - Wisconsin and Miami - behind a half-dozen 1-loss teams.
It's still early, but there are some major disparities between the various rankings.
My ballot in the FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll on Sunday put the only four remaining unbeaten Power 5 Conference teams in slots 1 thru 4, with Alabama leading the way ahead of Georgia, Miami and Wisconsin. My computer rankings, the CCR Top 130, has Alabama and Georgia at 1st and 2nd, but puts Wisconsin 4th and Miami 6th.
I voted Notre Dame 7th and my computer rankings have the Irish 12th. The Sportswriters (AP Poll) have Notre Dame 5th and the Coaches rank the Irish 8th.
The combined 174 humans who voted in the FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll, the Coaches' Poll and the AP Poll gave Alabama 169 of 174 first-place votes. The 13 humans on the committee put 'Bama in 2nd.
Using the committee's rankings as the guide, this week's slate of games includes No. 4 Clemson at No. 20 N.C. State State; No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 11 Oklahoma State; No. 7 Penn State at No. 24 Michigan State; and 13th-ranked Virginia Tech at No. 10 Miami.
In those games, the computer likes Clemson by 7.32, Oklahoma State by 1.95, Penn State by 18.20, and Virginia Tech by 0.98.
There is also No. 7 Penn State at No. 24 Michigan State; No. 21 Stanford at No. 25 Washington State; and No. 22 Arizona at No. 17 USC.
In those games, the computer takes Penn State by 18.20, Stanford by 2.60, and USC by 12.74.
Keep an eye on Iowa State at West Virginia, too. The Cylcones have already out-performed everyone's preseason expectations (probably even their own, if they were to be honest) and head to Morgantown with a No. 15 ranking by the playoff committee. I also voted them 15th on my ballot in the FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll. The computer goes with WVU by 5.06.
There are no FBS vs. FCS battles this week. FBS teams are 83-9 (.902) vs. the FCS this season, and 1,213-117 (.912) since 2003.
These are the FCS victories in 2017:
September 23: Western Illinois 52, Coastal Carolina 10
September 16: North Carolina A&T 35, Charlotte 31
September 16: Idaho State 30, Nevada 28
September 9: South Dakota 35. Bowling Green 27
September 9: New Hampshire 22, Georgia Southern 12
September 2: Liberty 48, Baylor 45
September 2: Howard 43, UNLV 40
September 2: James Madison 34, East Carolina 14
August 31: Tennessee State 17, Georgia State 10.
98 FBS teams are playing 98 games vs. FCS members this year, down substantially from the 110 FBS schools that played 113 games vs. FCS squads last year.
Alabama - Won 39 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Won 17 straight home games (FBS longest). Won 13 straight road games (FBS second-longest). Won 22 straight conference games (FBS longest). Hosts LSU on Saturday.
Oklahoma - Won 14 straight road games (FBS longest). Visits Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Miami (Fla.) - Won 12 straight overall (FBS longest). Hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Baylor - Lost 8 straight overall (tied for FBS longest), Lost 11 straight conference games (tied FBS longest). Visits Kansas on Saturday.
UTEP - Lost 8 straight overall (tied for FBS longest). Visits Middle Tennessee on Saturday.
Coastal Carolina - Lost 11 straight conference games (tied FBS longest). Visits Arkansas on Saturday.
Kansas - Lost 45 straight road games (FBS longest). Hosts Baylor on Saturday.