The Committee's second rankings have been released, and the Auburn Tigers are still in the Top 4 and looking good for the College Football Playoff. It would appear the Tigers are in the driver's seat as long as they win out. But are they?
First, let's take a look at just what the rankings are...
|7||Kansas State||Big 12|
|8||Michigan State||Big Ten|
|14||Ohio State||Big Ten|
|23||West Virginia||Big 12|
What It Means
Georgia fell to #20, LSU is #16, Ole Miss to #11, and Kansas State rose to #7. Those are teams Auburn has played or will play. Alabama will be ranked in the Top 25 when Auburn plays them more than likely. I could see them possibly falling out if they lose to both LSU and MSU, but I doubt that happens. So this should all make Tigers fans feeling happy and secure in Auburn's destiny should the Tigers win out.
As it looks right now, this would still have Auburn playing Florida State in Pasadena in an exact rematch of last year's BCS Championship Game in the first semi-final game.
Where Does Auburn Stand:
Soooo, is there a possible scenario where Auburn wins out and still doesn't end up in the playoff as long as MSU goes to the SEC Championship game? Yes. Yes there is.
If you look at the way these rankings are set up, the worst possible outcome for the committee is for Mississippi State to beat Alabama, win the SEC Championship, and for Auburn to still win out. It would be hard to argue that Auburn's schedule isn't one of - if not THE - hardest in the nation. The Tigers would have a number of "quality" wins against Top 25 opponents and all of them on the road.
However, if the Committee weighs conference championships above other qualifiers, then there is a chance that the PAC 12 and BigXII get their champions in. Even if that champion is a 1-loss Kansas State. You have to figure Florida State is a lock at this point. A 1-loss Oregon? They're in. So where is the spot left over for Auburn in that scenario?
The committee can make whatever choices they want. They have set out criteria for how they will judge teams in the end, but we don't know just how closely they'll follow those. Jeff Long did say tonight that Auburn was a "solid #3." So what does this all really mean?
It means we need to be pulling for MSU to end the season with two SEC losses so that Auburn goes to the SEC Championship Game. There are still a few weeks left in the season for all of this to play out, though.