<
>

CFP: Bama, Clemson, Michigan and one-loss Texas A&M are top 4; unbeaten Washington at 5th

play
Why is Texas A&M ahead of Washington? (1:20)

Kirby Hocutt, College Football Playoff Selection Committee Chairman, explains why Texas A&M is ranked fourth ahead of an unbeaten Washington team. (1:20)

Alabama, Clemson and Michigan are the top three teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings -- but it's the fourth and fifth spots that will have fans and pundits talking.

One-loss Texas A&M is fourth, followed by undefeated Washington. The top four teams at the end of the season will advance to the semifinals, which this year are set for the Fiesta and Chick-fil-A Peach bowls on Dec. 31.

The Aggies (7-1) lost at Alabama 33-14 two weeks ago and have played four ranked opponents. The Huskies are 8-0 after last weekend's 31-24 win at Utah -- the team's second win this season over a ranked opponent.

"We had a lengthy discussion on the spot," selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said. "Washington is a well-balanced team and they had a good win on the road against Utah. But in the committee's mind Texas A&M has played a stronger schedule."

If the standings held through the end of the season, both the Pac-12 and Big 12 would be shut out of the playoff, thanks to two SEC teams getting bids.

The Crimson Tide are 8-0 heading into Saturday's game at LSU. Clemson is also 8-0 after coming from behind to beat Florida State last Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida. Michigan (8-0) beat Michigan State last week, but has played only one ranked opponent all season (a 14-7 win at Wisconsin).

Ohio State (7-1) is sixth, followed by Louisville (7-1), Wisconsin (6-2), Auburn (6-2) and Nebraska (7-1).

Florida (6-1), Penn State (6-2), LSU (5-2), Oklahoma (6-2) and Colorado (6-2) are Nos. 11-15, followed by Utah (7-2), Baylor (6-1), Oklahoma State (6-2), Virginia Tech (6-2) and West Virginia (6-1).

North Carolina (6-2), Florida State (5-3), Western Michigan (9-0), Boise State (7-1) and Washington State (6-2) round out the top 25.

Western Michigan, a 52-20 winner on Tuesday night, would advance to a New Year's Six bowl if it remains the highest-ranking Group of 5 team.