Mississippi State was ranked first in the inaugural College Football Playoff rankings in 2014. The Bulldogs, who lost two of their final three games and finished seventh, were one of three initial top-four teams that did not make four-team field.
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The Week 10 College Football Playoff rankings are exciting and do give insight into how the 12-person committee is weighing wins, losses and schedules, but the first rankings are not an accurate look at the future.
Seven of the 12 playoffs teams over the first three years of the format were not ranked in the top four of the first rankings. Each year, at least two teams that were not among the initial top four made the four-team field.
Alabama was ranked sixth in the first College Football Playoff rankings in 2014. The Crimson Tide won out and were the top seed in the first-ever playoff. Oklahoma also won out in 2015 to become the fourth seed after starting 15th. And Ohio State did the same last year, moving from sixth to third.
The table below shows what the final four teams were ranked in the first rankings. For example, as noted, in 2014 Alabama was sixth in the initial rankings before grabbing the top seed, and Oklahoma jumped from 15th to fourth in 2015.
Three initial top-four teams finished outside the top 15, including Texas A&M last year. The Aggies were fourth in Week 10 but unranked in the final rankings. They remain the highest team to ever fall completely out of the final rankings. The next closest are Notre Dame and Nebraska, who both went from 10th to unranked in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
The lowest-ranked team to move into the field was Ohio State in 2014. The next closest teams are Oklahoma (No. 15 to No. 4 in 2015) and Michigan State (No. 7 to No. 3 in 2015).