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College Football Playoff: Georgia tops first CFP rankings; Alabama at No. 2

College Football Playoff: Georgia tops first CFP rankings; Alabama at No. 2
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart (L), shown Jan. 1, 2020, has guided the Bulldogs to an unbeaten record this season. File Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The undefeated Georgia Bulldogs earned the top spot in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2021 season, it was announced.

Fellow Southeastern Conference powerhouse Alabama (7-1) sat behind Georgia (8-0) at No. 2 on the list, which was revealed Tuesday night on ESPN. Michigan State (8-0) opened at No. 3, followed by No. 4 Oregon (7-1).

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"Right away, Georgia was a clear No. 1, but there was a fair amount of conversation about Alabama," committee chairman Gary Barta said. "There was a lot of consensus for Alabama to be second."

Ohio State (7-1) is No. 5 in the initial rankings, one spot behind an Oregon team it lost to Sept. 11. The Ducks are the Pac-12's lone team in the top 25.

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The Cincinnati Bearcats (8-0), meanwhile, debuted at No. 6 and landed the highest-ever ranking for a Group of 5 team -- one spot ahead of the No. 7 position they held during an unbeaten regular season in 2020.

"The committee has great respect for Cincinnati. The win at Notre Dame was a really impressive win," Barta said. "But who else did they beat? Looking at the big picture, we feel six is the right spot for Cincinnati."

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A Group of 5 school has never appeared in the College Football Playoff, which debuted in the 2014 season.

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"We don't talk about a ceiling [for teams]. We look at what's happened so far," Barta added. "And we see Cincinnati as undefeated now, with a big win at Notre Dame. I'm not sure there's a ceiling there."

No. 7 Michigan (7-1), No. 8 Oklahoma (9-0), No. 9 Wake Forest (8-0) and No. 10 Notre Dame (7-1) rounded out the top 10.

The SEC and Big Ten dominated the committee's initial CFP rankings, accounting for five of the top seven spots and 13 of the 25 positions. The SEC owns seven of the top-18 teams.

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College Football Playoff rankings (Nov. 2):

1. Georgia Bulldogs (8-0)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1)

3. Michigan State Spartans (8-0)

4. Oregon Ducks (7-1)

5. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1)

6. Cincinnati Bearcats (8-0)

7. Michigan Wolverines (7-1)

8. Oklahoma Sooners (9-0)

9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-0)

10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1)

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-1)

12. Baylor Bears (7-1)

13. Auburn Tigers (6-2)

14. Texas A&M Aggies (6-2)

15. BYU Cougars (7-2)

16. Ole Miss Rebels (6-2)

17. Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-3)

18. Kentucky Wildcats (6-2)

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19. N.C. State Wolfpack (6-2)

20. Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-3)

21. Wisconsin Badgers (6-2)

22. Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2)

23. Fresno State Bulldogs (7-2)

24. San Diego State Aztecs (7-1)

25. Pittsburgh Panthers (6-2)

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