College Football Playoff Rankings reactions: Tennessee overrated, Ole Miss underrated in new top 25

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We are nearing the end of the 2023 college football season, and the race for the College Football Playoff is heating up. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee released its rankings on Tuesday, and the most notable change was near the top as Washington leaped Florida State at No. 4. 

The Seminoles handled North Alabama with ease on Saturday, but lost starting quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender Jordan Travis to a season-ending leg injury in the first quarter. At the same time, the Huskies were in the midst of beating No. 16 Oregon State on the road in Corvallis, which gave Washington its third win over a current top 25 team in addition to its home win over No. 6 Oregon and road win over No. 15 Arizona

Washington’s resume is far superior to that of Florida State’s, which only includes two wins over ranked teams — a neutral site win over No. 14 LSU to open the season and an overtime win at No. 24 Clemson. Washington jumping Florida State is just fine. In fact, it’s appropriate. Sure, FSU fans are probably furious about it, but the painting isn’t complete yet, which is especially the case for the Seminoles. 

We don’t know what kind of team Florida State really is with Tate Rodemaker at the helm under center. He could be the second coming of Cardale Jones, who led Ohio State to the title in 2014 as a third-stringer. Without that information, there’s no reason to keep the Seminoles ahead of a Washington team that has won — albeit ugly at times — all of its games and has a better resume on paper. 

The committee always says that it factors in injuries, but it doesn’t specify “how” that process plays out. If Rodemaker goes out there and shines, that will likely impress the committee more than it would had Travis stayed healthy. Or, if Florida State squeaks by, the committee could view the current version of the Seminoles a product that isn’t CFP worthy.

In the end, it might matter. If Florida State wins out and tops No. 10 Louisville in the ACC Championship Game, that would be a beautiful stroke of the paintbrush to close out the picture, especially under the direction of backup quarterback. For now, though, it’s perfectly fine for Washington to be No. 4 while we wait for the paint to dry.

Where else did the committee miss? Let’s break down the overrated and underrated teams in the latest edition of the CFP Rankings.

There is simply no reason for the four-loss Volunteers to be ranked. They have been blown out in each of their previous two games — against No. 9 Missouri and No. 1 Georgia, respectively — and lost three of their last five dating back to the 34-20 loss to No. 8 Alabama on Oct. 21. Plus, the fourth loss was to a Florida team that has yet to reach bowl eligibility. The rushing attack, which was the strength of the Volunteers for the majority of the season, has fallen off of a cliff over the last two weeks. Simply put, there’s nothing about this team that suggests that it’s remotely close to being a top 25 team. Conspiracy theory: It’s almost like the committee wants to keep SEC teams in the rankings to boost higher-profile teams in the conference. 

Underrated: No. 12 Ole Miss

The Rebels offense is about as dangerous as it gets. Quarterback Jaxson Dart can light things up through the air with Tre Harris and a talented receiving corps. Running back Quinshon Judkins is a monster on the ground. The defense creates havoc in the backfield, ranking third in the SEC in tackles for loss (73). Plus, they have quality wins over No. 14 LSU and at No. 23 Tulane. Compare that to No. 11 Penn State, which only has one quality win (No. 17 Iowa) and is extremely limited through the air, and there is no justifiable explanation to have the Nittany Lions ahead of Lane Kiffin the Rebs. 

 

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