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Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson top 1st CFP rankings

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NEW YORK (AP) - A couple of games played during week two of the season had a major effect on the first College Football Playoff rankings.
 
Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson were the top four teams in the selection committee's initial top 25 released Tuesday night.
 
Oklahoma, Ohio State and Penn State were next as the committee members let head-to-head results and strength of schedule be their guide. The final rankings that will determine the participants in the College Football Playoff semifinals come out Dec. 3.
 
Georgia and Alabama, Southeastern Conference rivals, are both 8-0 and have been dominating their competition. The Bulldogs' one close game was at Notre Dame in September, a 20-19 victory.
 
Committee chairman Kirby Hocutt, the athletic director for Texas Tech, said the Bulldogs had a slight edge over the Crimson Tide because of their victory against the Irish on Sept. 9.
 
The Fighting Irish (7-1) have not lost since, including blowouts of Michigan State (24th), Southern California (17th) and North Carolina State (20th). Those victories and the close loss to Georgia made the Irish the highest ranked among one-loss teams.
 
"The teams ranked three through seven are very evenly matched," Hocutt said.
 
Hocutt said Clemson's six victories against teams with winning records, including Virginia Tech (13th) and Auburn (14th), outweighed a loss on the road to a Syracuse team that is 4-4. That's been a fairly consistent trend in the short history of the selection committee. The members tend not to get too caught up in the notion of a bad loss.
 
Hocutt also said Clemson (7-1) playing the second half against Syracuse without injured quarterback Kelly Bryant was a factor for the committee.
 
On the same night Georgia beat Notre Dame, Oklahoma (7-1) won 31-16 at Ohio State.
 
"For the teams five through seven, their head-to-head results were very important to the committee," Hocutt said.
 
Ohio State (7-1) rallied to beat Penn State (7-1) last Saturday, 39-38.
 
In the latest AP Top 25, Ohio State was No. 3, Penn State No.  7 and Oklahoma was No.  8. Those rankings had some Sooners wondering if the committee would do something similar.
 
"We all just watched it as a team just now," Oklahoma linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo said. "We were all just jumping around yelling. Everybody's hungry. We feel like our foot's in the door, so we want to go ahead and make it happen."
 
The rest of the top 10 was TCU at eight, followed by unbeatens Wisconsin and Miami.
 
Hocutt pointed to strength of schedule as the problem for the Badgers, who were ranked fourth in the latest AP Top 25, and Hurricanes. The strongest team Wisconsin has defeated, Hocutt said, is Northwestern (5-3). Miami has only two victories against teams with winning records.
 
Over the first three seasons of the playoff, a total of five teams have been ranked in the top four of the initial ranking and gone on to reach the semifinals: Florida State (which was second) in 2014; Clemson (first) and Alabama (fourth) in 2015; and Alabama (first) and Clemson (second) in 2016.

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