The College Football Playoff committee released its first rankings for the 2022 season this week, with Tennessee, Ohio State, Georgia, and Clemson taking the first four slots. Michigan, Alabama, TCU, Oregon, Southern Cal, and LSU round out the top ten, with Ole Miss sliding in at number 11. Look folks, I’m going to come right out and say it: being included in the top 15 of the CFB Playoff rankings is good. There, I said it.
In all seriousness: the most notable thing about the Rebels’ placement in the initial rankings is that the committee ranks LSU one spot ahead, despite being a two-loss team. Obviously, in a dream scenario, Alabama beats LSU, Ole Miss finds a way against the Tide in Oxford, and makes this initial assessment irrelevant. But, if LSU and Ole Miss have the same result against Alabama, win or loss, the committee may continue to rank LSU ahead of Ole Miss, potentially bumping the Rebs down a spot in the bowl pecking order.
Besides Alabama and LSU, no one ranked ahead of Ole Miss faces a major test this weekend, aside from Tennessee and Georgia, but the loser of that matchup will still be ranked in the top 7 or so even in the event of a blowout. Next week, in addition to the Bama/Ole Miss matchup, Oregon faces Washington, LSU travels to Fayetteville, and TCU takes on Texas. In other words, several of these top 10 teams will either bolster their resumes, or get taken down a few pegs. This is the point in the season where the name of the game is to stay healthy, stay focused, and survive the next battle.