Defying the Associated Press poll and much recent history, the undefeated Georgia Bulldogs (8-0) occupied the top spot of the initial College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday evening, one above the undefeated Southeastern Conference colossus Alabama (8-0).
Rounding out the top six were Notre Dame (7-1), the defending national champion Clemson (7-1), Oklahoma (7-1) and Ohio State (7-1).
The committee will continue to announce weekly rankings until the final set is released Dec. 3, after all the conferences play their championship games. At that point, the top four teams will be matched in the two national semifinals — the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl — to be held on New Year’s Day.
The winners will meet in the national championship game on Jan. 8 in Atlanta.
Under Coach Nick Saban, Alabama is in the middle of what is perhaps the greatest run in college football history. It has won four of the past eight national championships (and came within 4 points of a fifth title last season), and it has won its last three game against Georgia, including a meeting in the 2012 SEC title game.
But the 13-member playoff selection committee, which includes current athletic directors, former coaches and others, adjudged Georgia the superior team at this point in the season, at a time when the Bulldogs have played two ranked teams — including a win on the road at Notre Dame — while the Crimson Tide have played none. Alabama hosts No. 19 Louisiana State (6-2) Saturday night.
Georgia’s next game is at home against South Carolina (6-2) on Saturday.