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College Football Playoff rankings stunner: Trio of unbeatens, including Cincinnati and Oklahoma, land well outside top-5

Georgia was No. 1 and defending champ Alabama No. 2. After that? Chaos.
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The top-ranked team carried no suspense.

And perhaps the No. 2 team likewise wasn't all that much of a surprise.

After that? The College Football Playoff rankings, their initial release Tuesday night, featured a singular trait shared by this wacky season now two-thirds of its way through the regular season: Chaos.

Three undefeated teams were ranked outside of the top 5, including Big 12 leader and annual CFP contender Oklahoma, as well as Atlantic Coast Conference front-runner Wake Forest and would-be Cinderella, Cincinnati.

The Bearcats (8-0) landed at No. 6, the Sooners No. 8 and Wake Forest at No. 9.

“The Committee has great respect for Cincinnati,” CFP chairman Gary Barta, Iowa's athletics director, told ESPN as the rankings were unveiled. “The win at Notre Dame was a really impressive win.

“Who else did they beat?”

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Behind top-ranked Georgia and defending CFP champion Alabama was third-ranked and undefeated Michigan State as well as No. 4 Oregon. The team that suffered its lone less to the Ducks, Ohio State, landed just ahead of Cincinnati at No. 5.

One-loss Michigan preceded the undefeated Sooners and Demon Deacons while one-loss Notre Dame completed the top-10 teams in Tuesday's first compilation.

The CFP selection committee has seven new members on its 2021 panel, and as the group's first in-season conference call with reporters unfolded Tuesday night, Barta stressed that prior seasons' success carries no merit with the selection process and also emphasized that the committee was in “consensus” in its placement of one-loss Alabama in the No. 2 spot.

If Alabama wins out, it would face top-ranked Georgia in the SEC Championship game. The Bulldogs already have secured their spot in the SEC's title bout with last weekend's 31-7 thumping of rival Florida.