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3 takeaways from Nov. 11's new College Football Playoff rankings

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Head-to-head matchups and win-loss records might not mean as much as one would think.

The third edition of the College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night, and there was plenty of controversy. Oregon over Florida State at No. 2! TCU at No. 4, over Alabama and Baylor! What did we learn from the selection committee this week?

1. Overall resume can trump win-loss record, sometimes

With one-loss Oregon at No. 2 and unbeaten Florida State at No. 3, that appears to be the case. The Ducks are coming off a 24-point win over then-No. 17 Utah, and the Seminoles just wrapped up a 14-point victory over unranked Virginia. And yes, FSU's best win, a nail-biter over Notre Dame, was severely dented when the Fighting Irish fell to Arizona State, 55-31.

But the 'Noles still have a pretty major resume advantage over Oregon. They haven't lost; the Ducks have. Plus, Oregon's previous best win looks a lot worse after Michigan State's 49-37 defeat at the hands of Ohio State.

But, the committee still likes Oregon's body of work better. Chairman Jeff Long said the Ducks received the nod because of their three wins over current top-25 teams, with two coming on the road. FSU, on the other hand, has just two wins over ranked competition. In the committee members' eyes, that extra top-25 win outweighs a loss. We've rarely, if ever, seen that kind of thinking from traditional polls when comparing power-conference teams.

2. Head-to-head matters, but only when "all other things are equal"

Baylor and TCU are from the Big 12, and both teams sport 8-1 overall records and 5-1 marks in conference play. Baylor defeated TCU, 61-58, on Oct. 11. And yet, the Bears are down at No. 7, and the Horned Frogs are ranked fourth. Why doesn't Baylor's head-to-head win matter?

Long says the rest of their respective resumes are too different:

It's largely due to the two top-25 wins that TCU has and their overall schedule. Baylor, obviously, has only one top-25 win. Head-to-head comes into play when all other things are equal. So if they are equal in the eyes of the committee, then we will use that head-to-head to make that determination. But at this point, I think three consecutive weeks, we've said that [Baylor's] body of work, their strength of schedule is not the same. They've gotten closer together. Thus far, head-to-head has not been a determining factor.

Of course, because of that head-to-head win, Baylor would claim the Big 12 tiebreaker should both teams win out. And the conference has said it would submit Baylor as its champion to the committee if everything shakes out that way, though the Big 12 wouldn't lobby for Baylor and the committee's under no obligation to accept a hypothetical lobbying anyway.

3. These are humans who are making it up as they go

Over the last three weeks, fans and pundits alike have eagerly anticipated the new rankings, hoping to learn how the Playoff selection committee thinks. As it turns out, the committee itself is still learning how it thinks.

Take No. 4 TCU over No. 5 Alabama. Why do the Frogs get the edge for what would be the final Playoff spot?

"They both have top-10 losses,'' said Long. "TCU's win against Kansas State, a very impressive win against a higher-ranked team. Alabama, a close overtime win at LSU. This week, given all things considered, a very slight edge to TCU.''

Before releasing its first set of rankings, the selection committee laid out the factors it would consider. Margin of victory was not one of those factors. But Long indicated margin of victory played a part in ranking Nos. 4 and 5 this week.

Going back to the Oregon-Florida State debate, the committee took into account the Ducks' offensive line injuries that played a part in their loss to Arizona. However, the Seminoles' linebacker corps was seriously depleted in their win over then-No. 25 Louisville, and they were without suspended Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston in a victory over Clemson, which is currently ranked No. 19. If Oregon gets some leniency for losing while missing players, shouldn't FSU be rewarded for winning in spite of the same?

It's possible that no one will really know how the committee thinks until a full season of rankings has played out.