Rankman's annual disclaimer: If you took a gander at the inaugural Super 16 and noticed a goose on top (OK, a Duck), don't take it personally. These rankings are presented to marginally inform, cajole, entertain and annoy. If your favorite team isn't in the top 16, rest assured it is listed in somebody else's top 128. The new four-team playoff allows for more fun and flexibility, so placing Oregon ahead of Florida State should not be an impeachable offense. The rankings are organic more than they are about Oregon. Expect a deep drop-off, for example, should the Ducks lose Saturday's home opener to South Dakota. Of course, if the 13-person selection committee needs help deciding the playoff teams in December, I'm still listed in the Yellow (journalism) pages.
1. Oregon; Rankman practices "Duck and Cover" drills after starting season with Eugene in top spot.
2. Florida State; Note: All crab leg jokes regarding Winston must be submitted before 5 p.m. each Monday.
3. Alabama; Prediction: Kiffin's first bubble-screen call will result in a five-yard gain. And Saban will love it.
4. Oklahoma; Roster set pending any last-minute NCAA waiver requests for shady transfer players.
5. UCLA; Linebacker/running back Myles Jack thinks this season could go one of two ways.
6. Auburn; Same game plan as last season: win game on deflected pass and another on 109-yard return of missed field-goal attempt.
7. Ohio State; Injury to quarterback Braxton Miller puts Akron in mix for Ohio's "Employees of the football month."
8. South Carolina; Spurrier will miss Clowney's speed around end, but not around town in a car.
9. Georgia; Richt wins perseverance award for lasting 13 years in Athens without winning national title.
10. Baylor; Bears No. 10 in almost every preseason rankings index, though Old Farmer's Almanac has cloudier forecast.
11. USC; Is it really fair to expect Sarkisian to know the name of every head coach he's going against?
12. Michigan State; Not unreasonable to suggest, after Ohio State bombshell, that Spartans belong at No. 7.
13. Louisiana State; Betting mortgage payment that tailback Leonard Fournette becomes a household name by Halloween.
14. Stanford; The Farm has come so far since 2007 that a ranking this low is now considered insulting.
15. Mississippi; You'd think the school could get better quarterbacks out of the Manning Passing Academy?
16. Notre Dame; Adjusted rankings after academic scandal moves Irish to last team in the Super 26.
First four out: Wisconsin, Arizona State, Kansas State, Clemson.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times