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Mizzou cracks College Football Playoff rankings at No. 24

November 28, 2018

COLUMBIA, MO. • For the first time in four years, Missouri has entered the College Football Playoff rankings, checking in at No. 24 in the penultimate rankings of the season released Tuesday.

The Tigers (8-4), riding a four-game winning streak into the postseason, last appeared in the CFP rankings in the final week of the 2014 regular season, when Gary Pinkel’s team was No. 16 before beating Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl.

The latest CFP rankings were full of good news for Mizzou.

Florida (9-3) and Louisiana State (9-3) both stayed in the top 10 at No. 9 and 10, respectively, making it more likely they’ll both be chosen for New Year’s Six bowls. That means less competition for Missouri and the other SEC bowl-eligible teams in the SEC’s Pool of Six. With No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Georgia plus Florida and LSU likely slated for New Year’s Six bowls, that leaves seven bowl-eligible SEC teams for the Citrus Bowl and the Pool of Six.

The Citrus Bowl has first selection of SEC teams after the New Year’s Six and could go with No. 15 Kentucky (9-3). The only other SEC teams that figure to be in the running are No. 18 Mississippi State (8-4) or No. 19 Texas A&M (8-4).

From there, the SEC league office assigns an SEC team to each of the Pool of Six teams in consultation with the bowls and the schools. Those bowls are the Outback, Gator, Music City, Belk, Texas and Liberty. With four SEC teams in the New Year’s Six, that means there won’t be enough SEC teams to fill the league’s spots in the Birmingham and Independence Bowls.

By earning a CFP national ranking, Mizzou should have an edge over Auburn (7-5), South Carolina (6-5) and Vanderbilt (6-6) in the SEC selection process. There’s still a chance the Tigers could land in the Gator Bowl but likely won’t fall beyond the Music City Bowl.

The final CFP rankings will be released Sunday. Missouri coach Barry Odom earns a $25,000 bonus if the Tigers finish in the CFP top 25. Only 13 teams in the current rankings have a game this weekend, so the Tigers should stay in the rankings again Sunday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS

1. Alabama (12-0)

2. Clemson (12-0)

3. Notre Dame (12-0)

4. Georgia (11-1)

5. Oklahoma (11-1)

6. Ohio State (11-1)

7. Michigan (10-2)

8. UCF (11-0)

9. Florida (9-3)

10. LSU (9-3)

11. Washington (9-3)

12. Penn State (9-3)

13. Washington State (10-2)

14. Texas (9-3)

15. Kentucky (9-3)

16. West Virginia (8-3)

17. Utah (9-3)

18. Mississippi State (8-4)

19. Texas A&M (8-4)

20. Syracuse (9-3)

21. Northwestern (8-4)

22. Boise State (10-2)

23. Iowa State (7-4)

24. Missouri (8-4)

25. Fresno State (10-2)

LSU fell from No. 7 to 10 with Saturday’s seven-overtime loss at Texas A&M but by staying in the top 10, the Tigers should have the credentials to be selected for a New Year’s Six bowl, most likely the Peach or Fiesta.

“Impressive wins over Georgia and Mississippi State,” said Oregon athletics director Rob Mullens, the chairman of the CFP. “Their loss, although they have three, happened to be the No. 1 team, on the road against the No. 9 team, and seven-overtime game against another ranked opponent. They’ve played five games versus CFP top-25 teams, strong résumé, overall a quality body of work.”

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