Kansas State University

Kansas State climbs to No. 7 in playoff rankings

K-State defensive back Dante Barnett (22) celebrates after intercepting a pass against Oklahoma State on Saturday in Manhattan.
K-State defensive back Dante Barnett (22) celebrates after intercepting a pass against Oklahoma State on Saturday in Manhattan. The Wichita Eagle

Kansas State moved two steps closer to a spot in college football’s first playoff Tuesday.

The Wildcats passed Michigan State and Mississippi and climb to No. 7 in the playoff rankings, putting them within striking distance of a spot in the top four as they prepare to face No. 6 TCU on Saturday in Fort Worth. Both teams trail the top five of Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn, Oregon and Alabama.

K-State, ranked ninth in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls, was expected to move up in the playoff rankings after Mississippi lost to Auburn last week. It was somewhat surprising that the playoff selection committee also moved K-State past Michigan State, which had an off week.

“As we said last time, our meeting this week would begin with a clean sheet of paper, and it did,” said selection chairman Jeff Long. “We firmly believe this is one of the strengths of the committee. We have 12 individuals who work each week to decide who the best teams are in college football. We are not bound by last week’s results and we watch the games with a fresh perspective each week.”

The Wildcats can further boost their playoff stock with a strong finish. After facing TCU, they will travel to play No. 23 West Virginia and No. 12 Baylor. They have already defeated No. 15 Oklahoma.

Not that K-State players are looking that far ahead.

“When the first playoff rankings came out I looked at them and saw where we were,” linebacker Will Davis said. “I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Coach (Bill) Snyder says it all the time — it’s not about where you are right now, it’s about where you end up. We are going to play all 12 games and see where we are when the season ends.”

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

Playoff Rankings

Record

1. Mississippi St.

8-0

2. Florida St.

8-0

3. Auburn

7-1

4. Oregon

8-1

5. Alabama

7-1

6. TCU

7-1

7. Kansas St.

7-1

8. Michigan St.

7-1

9. Arizona St.

7-1

10. Notre Dame

7-1

11. Mississippi

7-2

12. Baylor

7-1

13. Nebraska

8-1

14. Ohio St.

7-1

15. Oklahoma

6-2

16. LSU

7-2

17. Utah

6-2

18. UCLA

7-2

19. Arizona

6-2

20. Georgia

6-2

21. Clemson

6-2

22. Duke

7-1

23. West Virginia

6-3

24. Georgia Tech

7-2

25. Wisconsin

6-2

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will issue weekly rankings each Tuesday, with the final rankings being announced Sunday, Dec. 7. The playoff semifinals will match the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 4 seed, and No. 2 will face No. 3. The semifinals will be hosted at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015. The championship game will be on Jan. 12, 2015 at Arlington, Texas.

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