Chip Patterson: ‘Never See Initial Four Equal Final Four’

It’s safe to say that the College Football Playoff committee combs through every quasi-relevant game in America every week. In fact, some of the committee members may even comb through the same film twice.

Scott Ferrall finds this amusing. You can watch film of, say, Alabama’s 43-37 September home loss to Ole Miss as many times as you want. It doesn’t change the outcome.

“The play-by-play doesn’t change, the box score doesn’t change, and it’s not like video games where you can cut if off and hit restart,” CBSSports.com college football writer Chip Patterson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “What happened happened. It was not a good loss for Alabama. It was a loss and it is the reason Alabama is slotted behind LSU in the college football playoff standings.”

Indeed, the initial rankings came out Tuesday night, with Alabama (7-1) slotted fourth behind No. 3 Ohio State (8-0), No. 2 LSU (7-0) and No. 1 Clemson (8-0).

As for Ole Miss? The Rebels (7-2) are all the way down at 18.

“This is still a really big problem,” Patterson said. “While Ole Miss is a two-loss team and sitting all the way down at 18, that’s only one SEC loss. Ole Miss still has the head-to-head advantage against the Crimson Tide, which means that while Alabama could be way ahead of Ole Miss in the College Football Playoff rankings, depending on how things go down the stretch, it could be Ole Miss – not Alabama – in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. That could mean that the SEC’s best chance of getting into the College Football Playoff isn’t there.”

No. 5 Notre Dame, meanwhile, is on the outside looking in – at least for now – but has to like its chances going forward. The Irish play just one ranked team the rest of the way – a road game against No. 11 Stanford (7-1). If Notre Dame wins that game – and if Stanford goes on to win the Pac-12 – the Irish would be a safe bet to make the playoff, especially since their only loss came by two points at No. 1 Clemson.

“I think it’s really interesting to look at a lot of these one-loss teams,” Patterson said. “We are 100 percent going to see some shake up between now and then. And I know we’ve only got a small sample size – just one year of the College Football Playoff – but I bet if we spin this forward, it is going to be very rare (where the first four is the final four). I would argue we might never see a year where the initial four equal the final four.”

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