AUBURN, Ala. — A lot must happen between now and then, but there’s a path for Auburn to potentially crash the national title player. Right now, in the College Football Playoff rankings, the Tigers are at least sitting pretty for a berth in a high-profile bowl game.
Auburn cracked the Top 10 of the initial 2016 College Football Playoff rankings, which were released for the first time all season Tuesday night. Gus Malzahn’s team is arguably one of the hottest in college football, as it has won five straight games with a resurgent offense and much-improved defense.
Where Auburn is ranked
Auburn (6-2, 4-1 SEC) debuted at No. 9 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2016 season. This is Auburn’s first journey into the Top 10 of the CFP rankings since 2014.
What it means
The College Football Playoff committee has a lot of respect for Auburn’s body of work so far this season. The Tigers’ two losses came against two teams inside the four playoff spots, and neither were blowouts. Auburn even had a chance to beat No. 2 Clemson on a Hail Mary in Week 1.
While the Tigers would need to win out and get some help in order to crash the final four, their ranking this week shows they have a great chance to land in one of the prestigious New Year’s Six bowls at the end of the season. Eight teams outside of the playoff fill out the bowl slate, and the committee only has to take one of the lower-ranked Group of 5 programs.
Auburn hosts Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-3 SEC) on Saturday inside Jordan-Hare Stadium (noon ET on ESPN). The Tigers need to take care of business against the Commodores to keep their SEC championship and playoff hopes alive before a Week 11 trip to Athens to face rival Georgia.