Leadoff: Why playoff committee ranks UGA No. 1, Miami No. 7


Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early look inside Atlanta sports. 

College Football Playoff selection committee members “begin with a clean sheet of paper each week” as they rank teams, according to committee chairman Kirby Hocutt. Nevertheless, it was no surprise that the committee’s top five teams Tuesday night were the same as a week earlier, including Georgia at No. 1. 

Shortly after the rankings were released, Hocutt discussed this week’s results with reporters on a conference call. 

On the top four: “Georgia, with its undefeated record and its victory over Notre Dame, is No. 1. Alabama, also undefeated and coming off an impressive win over LSU, is No. 2. Notre Dame, with three wins against top-25 teams, is No. 3. Clemson, with a win over a good North Carolina State team and two other wins against top-25 teams, is No. 4.” 

Georgia holds on to No. 1 in playoff rankings

On Wisconsin ranking No. 8 despite being one of four undefeated power-conference teams: “Well, you know, Wisconsin has the (lowest) strength of schedule of any team that is ranked this particular week. Obviously, they got one win against a top-25 team with Northwestern being there in the 25th spot. It's a concern of the committee as we look to rank the very best teams in the country. When the margins of separation are as razor thin as they are, strength of schedule factors into these conversations. But also, the difference between this committee and any other ranking system in the past has been that you have 13 individuals that get to watch these games. We get to watch how Wisconsin plays each and every week, and that factors into our conversation and our decisions as well.” 

On unbeaten (and Mark Richt-coached) Miami’s move from No. 10 last week to No. 7: “The selection committee and all of us had seen a couple of their wins come in dramatic fashion, (so we) wanted to continue to watch and evaluate Miami. And we were very impressed with their performance against a solid Virginia Tech team that is ranked 17th this week. Very impressed with Miami defensively. … That strengthened their resumé more than, I would say, Wisconsin strengthened their resumé with a win over a three-win Indiana team.” 

RELATED ...

Georgia holds on to top spot in playoff rankings, heading into game at No. 10 Auburn. See story here.

Georgia players continue to ignore the rankings. See Seth Emerson’s story here.

The Bulldogs and Falcons provide a tale of two seasons, Jeff Schultz writes. Read his column here


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