TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In a surprise, Alabama football earned the No. 2 spot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night.
Kirby Hocutt, the CFP’s committee chairman, said Georgia’s 20-19 victory against Notre Dame — the No. 3 team in the CFP rankings — gave the Bulldogs a “slight edge” over Alabama.
Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State rounded out the top 6. The final rankings will be released on Dec. 3.
The team in the top spot of the initial CFP rankings has failed to win the championship, including Alabama last season.
Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) is the only team to make the playoff in each of its first three seasons. The Crimson Tide lost in the semifinals against Ohio State in 2014, defeated Clemson to win the 2015 national title and lost to Clemson in the championship game last season.
“I could care less about the poll. What significance does the poll have right now?” Saban said Monday. “All we’re talking about here is the challenge of our season, and where we’re going to be in the poll if we don’t play well in the next four games. I’m focused on the next four games. I could care less about the poll. You won’t see me wasting any time watching TV or watching who’s 1, who’s 2, and it really doesn’t matter.
“What really matters is how you play the rest of the season, how you focus the rest of the season and how you stay focused the rest of the season. If our players think anything of it, then that could be a problem and an issue too. These are the things that we try to categorize as poison that you really don’t want your players to be focused on or thinking about.”
What’s next for Alabama football?
Alabama hosts No. 19 LSU (6-2, 3-1 SEC) on Saturday inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
Alabama enters the matchup leading the SEC in scoring offense, rushing offense, total offense, scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense.
The Crimson Tide lead the series 51-25-5, including a 10-0 victory last season in Baton Rouge. Alabama has won six in a row and 8 of the last 10.
Following the matchup with LSU, Alabama plays at Mississippi State, hosts Mercer and plays at Auburn in the Iron Bowl to close out the regular season.