College Football Playoff rankings 2017: Miami Hurricanes are No. 10 on Oct. 31

Miami planted its flag in Tallahassee on Oct. 7, and coach Mark Richt (right) celebrated with his team. (Getty Images)

[Coach slams Miami’s offensive performance vs. UNC]

After missing the cut in the first three years of the new system, Miami made its College Football Playoff rankings debut when the 13-member selection committee released its first 2017 rankings Tuesday.

Miami’s starting position: No. 10.

“Undefeated team at No. 10? Wow,” said ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer, after the spot was announced.

But the Hurricanes (7-0, 5-0 ACC) can move up in the rankings — quickly.

Their opponent Saturday, Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1), is No. 13.

Its opponent in two weeks, Notre Dame (7-1), is No. 3.

Both games are at Hard Rock Stadium. Both games will go a long way in determining whether this is a dream season for UM, or merely a memorable one.

“We just control what we can control,” linebacker Shaq Quarterman said. “If we win, there’s no way we can be denied.”

Miami, which is 7-0 for the first time since 2013 and second time since 2003, was ranked No. 9 in the most recent Associated Press top 25 and No. 6 in the coaches’ poll. It was 18th in the preseason polls.

The first CFP top four was No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Clemson.

The rest of the top 10: No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 TCU and No. 9 Wisconsin.

Six one-loss teams — those ranked third through eighth — checked in ahead of Miami.

ESPN broadcaster Chris Fowler said his reaction on seeing the rankings was this: “I thought the three most aggrieved fan bases would be Miami, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.”

Kirk Herbstreit, Fowler’s broadcast partner, said the committee is “looking at teams that have been challenged” and which teams looked the best, and applauded the group for not putting too much stock in a team’s spotless record.

Even though Miami hasn’t played a top-15 team yet, coach Mark Richt believes they’re “a good team, obviously. We’ve won a lot of games and we play hard. We do a lot of things that winning teams do.”

Richt previously said he asked players if they would be the Miami team that finally wins the Coastal Division and represents that side of the ACC in Charlotte on Dec. 2. That’s something UM hasn’t done, as few who follow the team need be reminded, since UM joined the ACC in 2004.

“The response is, it’s definitely us,” Quarterman said. “We have the chance, too.”

UM can clinch the division Saturday (8 p.m., ABC) with a win and a Virginia loses to Georgia Tech.

“We know what’s on the table,” Quarterman said. “We can’t afford to lose. Miami, we don’t have the room or the margin for error at all. We have none. We focus on every game like it’s our last.”

When they spoke to reporters earlier Tuesday, Hurricanes players and coaches didn’t think too much of the to-be-released poll.

“It might make somebody happy that we’re ranked somewhere in that poll,” said Richt, whose team has not lost since Oct. 29, 2016 at Notre Dame, a span of 12 games.

“Those polls — I mean, there’s a better gauge today than two months ago, where everybody should be. I think there’s definitely a legitimacy to the poll. But it doesn’t matter where we are right now.

“If we win, we’ll go up. If we lose, we’ll go down. That’s all there is to it.

“We win every game by one, my guess is we’ll be in the deal.”

Tight end Chris Herndon said he would head to the Miami women’s basketball game and then to chapel, rather than sit by the television. Defensive end Chad Thomas and safety Jaquan Johnson had no plans to watch.

“It’s pretty exciting knowing people are talking so highly of us,” Herndon said, “but we have a lot of work to do and a long season ahead of us.”

UM athletic director Blake James said Monday there “isn’t a chance” the Hurricanes wouldn’t make the four-team playoff if Miami wins its last four games and the ACC championship.

“You look at the level of competition in the ACC, the success of programs in our league — if we were fortunate enough to be able to go [through] the league championship without losing, I have full confidence as the champions of the ACC, we would be part of the four-team playoff,” James said.

The committee ranks conference championships — but said it won’t deny a team without a conference — as well as strength of schedule, head-to-head results (when available), common opponents and “other relevant factors.”

Committee chair Kirby Hocutt — the UM Athletics Director from 2008-11 — said there was a “passionate” debate about teams No. 3 through 7. He didn’t comment on Miami at No. 10.

The CFP rankings will be released every Tuesday until Sunday, Dec. 3, when the committee will select four playoff teams among its final top 25. The top four in the final rankings are paired for Jan. 1 playoff bowls (Rose, Sugar). The winners play in the Jan. 9 national championship in Atlanta.

More Canes over here

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[Richt day-after UNC: Rosier, Coastal, OL]

[Miami to debut all-black uniforms vs. VT]

[Canes unbeaten, but drop in AP poll]

[Miami-VT: prime-time, nat’l TV]

[Hoops: Walker shines in secret scrimmage]

[Randy Shannon is Florida’s interim coach]

[5 things we learned: UNC edition]

[Players, Richt not pleased by performance]

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[Berrios wanted UNC to respect the ‘U’]

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