We here at CBSSports.com decided not to wait two years for the first playoff, the details of which are still being hashed out. We formed our own selection committee to hash things out right now, weekly, until the end of the season.
Our committee is composed of CBSSports.com's four senior writers, bowl/numbers/BCS guru Jerry Palm, Heisman Pundit Chris Huston and four college football bloggers. (See roster below.) The weekly task is to decide which four playoff teams would make it in right now if a playoff were in effect.
Without the use of computers, the group of four we settled on this week differs slightly from what the BCS spit out in its updated standings. Although support for Florida has grown following their demolition of South Carolina, Oregon remains in control of the No. 2 spot behind Alabama. While the Ducks' résumé hasn't been anything to write home about, Chip Kelly's offense is playing as well as anybody in the country and the defense looks like it may be the best in Eugene in some time.
|College Football Final Four|
|1. Alabama||Alabama OR Kansas State|
|4. Kansas State|
|2. Oregon||vs. Oregon OR Florida|
The biggest movement occurs at the No. 4 spot, where Kansas State surged past Notre Dame after trailing by just four points a week ago. This becomes a perfect illustration of how the new playoff discussion shifts the debate from who is in the title game to who is the fourth and final team that makes it into the playoffs.
Clarity about who deserves to face top-ranked Alabama in the first semifinal will likely come this Saturday, as Notre Dame travels to Oklahoma for what will be the Irish's biggest test of the season. Notre Dame made just one voter's top four and came in as low as seventh on two ballots following a lackluster showing against BYU. Kansas State returns home and will try to avoid a letdown game against an improved Texas Tech team that can beat you on offense or, surprisingly this season, defense. No team may be playing as well as the Wildcats right now (they scored on their first eight possessions over the weekend), but nobody has the Irish's résumé either, all things the selection committee had to balance out with their votes.
Still, one can't help but wonder how QB Collin Klein -- coming off a seven TD performance against West Virginia -- and the Wildcats would match up against a Crimson Tide defense ranked No. 1 in the country in four major statistical categories. What might the Master of Manhattan, Bill Snyder, have up his sleeve to foil college football's current coaching king, Nick Saban? The two may meet in this year's title game in Miami, so perhaps this isn't a total exercise in what-if.
Undefeated Rutgers sneaks into the top 15, leapfrogging over Big East rival Louisville to become the highest ranked non-Big Five conference team and eligible to wind up in a possible seventh bowl that is part of the new postseason system. Once again, no Big Ten team is ranked and the ACC remains shutout of the four-team playoff.
Our mock executive director, Jerry Palm, compiles all of the ballots each week. Among our committee, we're each voting for a top 15, and one of us will write a summary to go with the results released each Monday. Unlike the real committee two years from now, we have no allegiances here. We're only interested in opening a window to the future.
(CBSSports.com playoff selection committee: Tony Barnhart, Dennis Dodd, Bruce Feldman, Bryan Fischer, Tom Fornelli, Jeremy Fowler, Matt Hinton, Chris Huston, Jerry Palm and Chip Patterson)