Coming on the heels of a 17-7 Egg Bowl victory over Mississippi State, Ole Miss has moved up one spot to No. 11 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.
Though the Rebels (10-2, 6-2 SEC) have a zero percent chance of making this season’s CFP, Lane Kiffin and company’s 10-win campaign could be an early preview of where the team would stand in the 12-team playoff model which will be implemented next year.
Based on the format of the expanded model, the Rebels would be making their first-ever CFP appearance with a shot to battle it out against other top teams to claim the national title. Hypothetically, if there were 12 teams included this year, Ole Miss would be traveling to Columbus to face off against the Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1 Big 10). The winner of that contest would then hop on a plane to Glendale, Ariz. to play Washington (12-0, 9-0 Pac 12) in a quarter-final match.
If Kiffin’s squad happened to roll past the Huskies, they would have to win just two games to bring a national championship trophy to a fanbase that has remained loyal through good, bad, and very ugly seasons.
Using tonight’s rankings, here’s how a 12-team playoff would look based on the approved 6+6 format.
*6 auto bids to highest ranked conference champs
*6 at-large bids to next highest ranked teams
*top 4 champs get byes
*5-8 seeds host on-campus 1st round games pic.twitter.com/ONHhAiaLtr
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 29, 2023
The results of the upcoming conference championship games taking place this weekend would alter the status of where teams stand in the hypothetical playoff bracket. However, Ole Miss’ current standing in the CFP rankings would all but fully guarantee their presence in the first-ever expanded playoff come next year.
As things stand for the current season, In the most recent projection from CBS Sports, Ole Miss is predicted to play No. 16 Iowa (10-2, 7-2 Big 10) in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Most college football experts have the Rebels on the outside looking in at a possible appearance in one of the selection committee’s non-playoff bowl games — Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Peach Bowl — which are played amongst the highest-tiered teams in the nation not in contention for a national championship.
“I personally think that our two losses came from the best two teams in the country — on the road in very hostile environments. It’s something we can’t really control, but you look at the rankings and I feel confident that our team could go in and compete with anybody in the country,” Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart explained why he felt the Rebels deserved to be in a New Year’s Six bowl. “It’s out of our control, but I think we’re in a really good spot for it.”
Where Ole Miss will head in the postseason will be determined during the December 3 Selection Sunday announcements, and while the team may not land in an access bowl, Kiffin’s bunch has done enough on the field these past few seasons to give Rebel fans hope of competing for a national championship.