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OPINION | WALLY HALL: CFP contenders still have lots to play for

As the cutest trick or treaters were getting candy, the College Football Playoff Committee announced its first rankings of the season, and there was just one little trick.

It named Ohio State No. 1, followed by Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and Washington, the only Power 5 programs still undefeated.

However Georgia, the two-time defending national champion, has been No. 1 in most polls since before the season started, while Michigan has fought its way up to No. 2.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the committee's Final Four will be the same when it announces the final rankings even after Michigan beats Ohio State.

If Washington wins its final four games, it will have a solid argument it belongs in over a one-loss Ohio State, but the Huskies have to go to No. 20 USC and No. 16 Oregon State. They also host No. 18 Utah and rival Washington State.

One can only wonder if the selection committee considered the NCAA probe into Michigan for allegedly trying to steal signals, and that's why it was No. 3.

Both are 5-0 in Big Ten play, but the Wolverines have outscored conference opponents 229-31 while the Buckeyes came out on top by a total of 145-49.

Surprisingly they have only one common opponent, Indiana. Michigan beat the Hoosiers 52-7, while Ohio State topped them 23-3.

Ohio State does have two wins over current top 25 teams and Michigan has zero. It probably didn't help the Wolverines that its athletic director, Warde Manuel, who is on the selection committee, had to recuse himself from all talks that included his employer.

Another wrinkle in the rankings was Texas was No. 7 and Oklahoma No. 9, but the Sooners beat the Longhorns 34-30 on a neutral field.

Although in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter, the SEC and Pac-12 each had six teams in the rankings. The Big 12 had 5, Big Ten 3, ACC 2 and the AAC and Mountain West had one each. Notre Dame was the only independent coming in at No. 15.

Not making the ranking was James Madison, which is 8-0 and very good but as a first-year member of the Sun Belt Conference is not bowl eligible.

Only twice since the CFPs began in 2015 has Alabama not made the field. The most recent was last season and the Crimson Tide, who hold the records for playoff wins with nine and championships with three -- talking only of CFP championships and none of the other real or imagined ones the Tide faithful claim -- but are in danger of not making the field again.

If they won out and beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, the Tide would still need for Texas to lose another game because the Longhorns beat them at Tuscaloosa.

. . .

Daniyal Robinson played for Porter Moser, now the Oklahoma basketball coach, at Arkansas-Little Rock and then became an assistant coach for the Trojans and several other successful programs before landing the head coaching job at Cleveland State.

In his first season he went 21-14 and 14-6 in the Horizon League, which was good enough for second place.

Robinson, a well-respected and well-liked person, has found programs connecting the community to the basketball team's academics.

He and his wife Kim are the proud parents of three children, two boys and a girl. The daughter, Devyn, is currently making her own headlines as a starting middle blocker on the No. 1-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team.

Devyn is 6-2, a two-time All-American and was named to the NCAA all-tournament team her sophomore year.

The Badgers are 20-1 and their only loss was 3-2 at Nebraska. They have shut out 16 opponents this season.

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