In perhaps the most surprising moment of the initial College Football Playoff rankings reveal on Tuesday, a one-loss Texas A&M team was slotted at the No. 4 spot ahead of unbeaten Washington.
The Huskies are a consensus Top 4 team in the polls, but the selection committee valued Texas A&M’s performance more highly, in spite of a loss to No. 1 Alabama.
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit was on the panel analyzing the results on television as they were unveiled, and he gave his initial take on the Aggies sliding in front of the Huskies:
“I think we all around the country had a collective eyebrow raise,” Herbstreit said in the moments following the unveil. “We saw that Texas A&M there at No. 4, but I think the committee– If you Washington right now, just take a huge breath. Relax, because I still feel like the ball is in their court. They still control their own destiny. If they take care of business, they will be fine. But it is shocking with the first release of these rankings to see an undefeated Washington, coming off their best win of the year on the road in a tough place to play against Utah, to be sitting behind a team with one loss.
“But it just goes to show you the respect that they have for the teams that A&M has played and all I can say is that if Washington keeps winning they’ll be just fine.”
The panel went on to discuss the importance of the Pac-12 conference championship game to Washington’s case to potentially leap Texas A&M down the road if all things remain equal. As things stand at the moment, the Aggies would not have the opportunity to boost their resume with a conference championship game appearance as Alabama is in line to win the SEC West. That picture can change if the Crimson Tide drops games to Auburn and LSU and the Aggies win out.
Texas A&M (7-1) has Mississippi State, Ole Miss, UTSA and LSU remaining on its schedule. Meanwhile, Washington (8-0) has Cal, USC, Arizona State and Washington State left to play.