Nix and Harsin

Quarterback Bo Nix and coach Bryan Harsin celebrate in Auburn's win over Ole Miss

In Tuesday’s first release of rankings by the College Football Playoff Committee, Auburn checked in at No. 13.

It is the 29th time that the Tigers have been ranked by the College Football Playoff Committee, with their highest rank coming at No. 2 after an upset of Alabama in 2017.

Even with a rank of No. 13, the Tigers still have a path to making the playoff at the end of the season. Auburn plays against three more teams that are currently ranked, the first being a road test this weekend against No. 14 Texas A&M, followed by a home game against No. 17 Mississippi State and finally a home match-up against No. 2 Alabama in the Iron Bowl. 

If the Tigers are able to win out, it will set up an appearance in the SEC Championship game against the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs. 

According to the ESPN College Football Playoff Predictor, the Tigers stand a 64 percent chance of making the final four if they win out — including in the SEC Championship — but those odds fall dramatically if they lose one game. They stand a 16 percent chance if they lose to the Aggies and win out, and stand a less than one percent chance if they lose to the Crimson Tide.

Of the teams that the Tigers have faced, Ole Miss checked in at No. 16 and Georgia is ranked No. 1. The Tigers defeated the Rebels but had a significant loss to the Bulldogs.

One of the biggest takeaways from the committee's rankings is that they hold a high value on head-to-head match-ups. Mississippi State defeated No. 18 Kentucky last week, and is ranked ahead of them despite having three losses. Similar examples were seen with Oregon being ranked ahead of Ohio State despite a recent loss and Wisconsin being ranked ahead of Iowa despite having three losses.

This is the sixth time that the  Tigers have been ranked in the first iteration of the playoff rankings. They were No. 3 in 2014, No. 9 in 2016, No. 14 in 2017, No. 11 in 2019, No. 22 in 2020 and now No. 14 in 2021.

The six ranked SEC teams are as follows: No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama, No. 13 Auburn, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 16 Ole Miss, No. 17 Mississippi State and No. 18 Kentucky.

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