With the rankings released on Tuesday night, four teams find themselves in at the moment while everyone else will be chasing them.
Coach Gus Malzahn said Tuesday that Pettway was diagnosed last Friday during the open week with a broken scapula.
But that didn't mean we weren't going break it all down. Alabama ranks 55th while Georgia comes in at 51st.
The playoff committee ranked Alabama No. 2, Notre Dame No. 3 and defending national champion Clemson No. 4. What if Alabama and Georgia go undefeated and meet in the SEC championship game? In college football worlds of the past, that used to count for more. But the selection committee made a statement about the Dawgs' Notre Dame win. It is also a question that accurately reflects how the committee looks at things. 2 Penn State at home last week.
Alabama has rarely been tested yet, with seven of the eight wins this season coming by double digits. Central Florida, of the second-tier American Athletic Conference, has a narrower path to the bracket.
The Wolverines can also put themselves in position to play the spoiler, which can help boost its rankings stock. The B1G wouldn't mind if teams started dropping like flies in November. Cue the outrage, right? The final rankings that will determine the participants in the College Football Playoff semifinals come out Dec. 3. That Notre Dame game is probably why Georgia is at No. 1 over Alabama.
Michigan is on the outside, looking in. Notre Dame 4. Clemson 5.
The good news is that Miami and Wisconsin have plenty of time to change that. However, they will lose their undefeated status and won't make the Final Four.
Its sole mandate is to pick the nation's four best teams, regardless of conference or geography, he said. Four other teams are unbeaten. This year, the big question is whether the committee prefers quantity or quality. If LSU wins out, it wins the West. To be honest, I'm really not.
Oklahoma edged Ohio State for the fifth spot, most likely by virtue of its early season win over the Buckeyes.
In 2014, Mississippi State debuted at No. 1 but tumbled to No. 7 after losing twice.
The selection committee wants to motivate teams to play big non-conference games. What if Notre Dame ends up with one loss?
There is still time for seeming longshots to make it into the playoff, though.