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by | College Football Insider

Mock Selection Committee: Gators' loss makes picking this week's top four easy

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The CBSSports.com playoff selection committee gets this week's top four teams neatly packaged for playoff readiness after Florida's 17-9 loss to Georgia in Jacksonville.

Every member of the 10-voter panel -- which mocks a weekly playoff selection two years in advance of the real, yet-to-be-finalized format -- took Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame.

College Football Final Four
Semifinals Championship
1. Alabama Alabama OR Notre Dame
4. Notre Dame
2. Oregon vs. Oregon OR Kansas State
3. Kansas State

Not everyone agreed on order of finish. But the final tally has Alabama (150 points) strengthening its grip on the top spot, while Notre Dame's (125) marquee road win in Norman wasn't enough to unseat No. 2 Oregon (134 points) or No. 3 Kansas State (131).

The Ducks and Wildcats keep pounding teams, winning by a combined 125-38 last week over Colorado and Texas Tech. It's not their fault the preseason favorites in their conferences -- Southern California and Oklahoma -- are maddeningly inconsistent and might lessen the perceived value of the Pac-12 and Big 12.

Speaking of inconsistency, we've seen four undefeated teams ranked among the top five drop a game in each of the past four weeks. Wouldn't be shocking if at least one team from the current top four followed the path of Florida State, LSU, Florida State and South Carolina. Bill Snyder's crew might have the easiest road to perfection if it gets past two-loss Oklahoma State this week in Manhattan. After that, it's TCU and Baylor on the road and Texas at home in the finale.

If this foursome holds firm, the system will accomplish what it set out to -- pit the four best teams against each other.

Who wouldn't want to see Alabama's five-star-recruit factory against Notre Dame's take-your-lunch-money defense in a 1-4 semifinal matchup?

Winner would play Oregon or K-State. Fun had by all.

After all, Notre Dame's parachute into this year's discussion has been impressive. After a lackluster win over Brigham Young two weeks ago, Notre Dame got one top-four vote on our panel. This week, the Irish received three second- or third-place votes.

One team drops, however, and a slew of SEC teams in the Nos. 5-8 range will be making their case. Georgia vaulted into the No. 5 spot despite absorbing two seventh-place votes based on its 35-7 loss to South Carolina last month.

Don't write off Florida State just yet, either. Running through the rest of the ACC schedule and knocking off Florida in Doak Campbell in late November could push the Noles into the fourth spot should at least one undefeated team fall and Alabama defeats LSU and other craziness ensues.

As there have been heated debates about which teams belong in the BCS title game, the playoff argument surely will shift to which teams are the fourth- and fifth-best.

In that case, Sunday morning evaluations won't get any easier, especially if the SEC consistently has two teams in the top-four mix. It's been speculated that the All-SEC championship game last year nudged the BCS into a format change. The outrage could settle a bit, but it won't vaporize entirely.

On the back end, undefeated Louisville is holding strong at No. 9 but doesn't have the schedule to advance much more. No. 10 Clemson gives the ACC two top-10 teams.

Each week, executive director Jerry Palm compiles the ballots and a different committee member provides a summary of the results each week. College football presidents and commissioners, you're welcome.

CBSSports.com playoff selection committee: Tony Barnhart, Dennis Dodd, Bruce Feldman, Tom Fornelli, Jeremy Fowler, Jerry Hinnen, Matt Hinton, Chris Huston, Jerry Palm, Chip Patterson.

Selection Committee
Team Total Barnhart Dodd Feldman Fowler Fornelli Hinton Patterson Huston Palm
Alabama135111111111
Oregon122232234222
Kansas State118323342333
Notre Dame111444423444
Georgia92766557565
LSU87555876777
Florida82997665686
Florida State77678788959
Louisville491010101110158912
Clemson49889912--121011
Oregon State3711131112149131410
Oklahoma3413121513--1011128
S. Carolina27----131091110----
Stanford11----1215--14--1513
Texas A&M11----14----12--11--
Miss. St.101214--14--------14
Boise State10--11----11--------
Texas Tech815------151314--15
USC41415--------15----
Nebraska3--------------13--
La. Tech3--------13--------

Jeremy Fowler is a national college football insider with CBSSports.com. Fowler joined CBS in 2012 after covering the Minnesota Vikings for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for two seasons and covering the Florida Gators for the Orlando Sentinel for two years. Fowler is also a contributor to the CBS Sports Network.
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