Have you ever watched a game and felt like throwing your remote through the television before the snap, knowing what was about to transpire could only be negative? That happened twice in Week 9 with two nationally-ranked teams suffering similar outcomes away from home as a result of matching, head-scratching decisions. 

Fourth-down calls made in the second half by Lane Kiffin and Mark Stoops backfired miserably and directly resulted in No. 16 Ole Miss and No. 18 Kentucky potentially squandering opportunities to reach the New Year's Six this season among the top SEC finishers.

The dice roll from the Kiffin, the Rebels' coach, wasn't as shocking as Stoops electing to have the Wildcats punt on fourth down with 7:51 to play and his team trailing by 14 points at Mississippi State, but it was bad nonetheless. There's an analytics major somewhere saying Kentucky made the right call, but numbers are objective and don't account for the feel for the game -- notably momentum -- when the opposing offense is dominating.

More on that in a moment, but first, Tuesday's initial College Football Playoff Rankings effectively downplayed No. 6 Cincinnati's value as one of the nation's lone remaining unbeatens and beefed up the SEC's elite-tier locomotive, placing Georgia and Alabama in the top two spots, respectively. Calls for playoff expansion were immediate on social media along with unfairness accusations aimed at the CFP Selection Committee.

All of this will be sorted out in the coming weeks with the CFP Rankings expected to change significantly. It's time to discuss recent fourth-down faults in detail before returning to the final four discussion.

Kiffin, Stoops need do-overs

We'll start with Kentucky's faceplant in Starkville, Mississippi, to a three-loss team that's now won three of its last four games. The Wildcats trudged through a mind-numbing cycle on what not to do offensively amid the constant chattering of cowbells and ill-advised throws from quarterback Will Levis, who tossed three interceptions for the first time in his career.

Perhaps the lack of confidence in the throw game is why Stoops elected to punt on fourth-and-10 midway through the fourth quarter, giving the ball back to an offense Kentucky hadn't stopped all evening. There was nearly 8 minutes left in the game when Mississippi State took possession up 31-17, and the Wildcats never saw the football again.

See what happens when you play too conservative? 

Sadly, no one asked Stoops why he punted in the fourth quarter of a two-score game to a quarterback who was dicing up his secondary with brain surgeon-like precision. Will Rogers was 30 of 33 for the game when the Wildcats punted. Rogers followed with a 6-for-6 effort on the Bulldogs' final possession, converting twice on third down via short gains to Jaden Walley and Jo'quavious Marks.

Rogers' final stat line -- 36 of 39 for 344 yards and a touchdown--— included a record-breaking 92% completion mark, the most in a single game by an SEC quarterback with at least 30 passing attempts.

Stoops, a defensive guru of sorts, outsmarted himself there. It's baffling to think he believed the Wildcats could get Mississippi State off the field, score a touchdown, then get another stop or recover an onside kick against an opponent who was mashing the accelerator pedal on Kentucky's throat from the middle of the second quarter onward.

In the SEC West, Kiffin's choice to go for it at Auburn's 13-yard line with 1:08 left in the the quarter trailing 28-20 was a bit more predictable, but it was still the wrong decision. His defense had already forced three empty possessions in the quarter to keep Ole Miss within striking distance in front of a hostile crowd, not to mention a previous fourth-down try inside the red zone had failed.

So Kiffin went to the wishing well again on fourth-and-7 and the play was over as soon as Matt Corral handled the snap. The Rebels missed a block on the right side of the line, and Corral was pressured almost instantaneously, forcing an incomplete heave through the end zone.

Kiffin looked befuddled on the sideline, asking his players what happened on the whiff, but this was on the coach. Kiffin has gambled on fourth down a college football-high 34 times this season, and to his credit, the Rebels are converting at a 70% clip. But this was inexcusable. Take the points.

"When it doesn't work, it doesn't work," Kiffin said. "We could have kicked those field goals."

The Rebels went 1 of 4 on fourth down in the game, easily their worst showing of the season. 

Does Cincinnati even have a playoff path?

C'mon. You knew this was coming. The committee has shown collectively in the past that it rewards teams in the strongest leagues for quality wins but can move the goalposts whenever it feels necessary to fit a narrative. CFP chairman Gary Barta blamed unbeaten Cincinnati's strength of schedule for the Bearcats' No. 6 ranking in the first release Tuesday night.

"The committee has great respect for Cincy. The win at Notre Dame was a really impressive win," Barta said. "When you look at who they've played after that, who else did they beat?"

Group of Five programs have been told in the past to essentially "schedule harder," which is exactly what Cincinnati has done with wins over Notre Dame and Indiana this season, both on the road. By comparison, No. 5 Ohio State has one win over a team inside the CFP Rankings, Minnesota, which is somehow slotted at No. 20 despite a dreadful loss to Bowling Green and only two wins over teams with winning records, Maryland and Purdue

Moreover, the fact the committee decided SMU is not worthy of a spot in its top 25 means the committee basically controls Cincinnati's path to a final four berth in some respects. The Bearcats, who play the Mustangs in a couple weeks, thought that could've been another notch in their belt.

The committee justifies its ranking of one-loss Alabama at No. 2 over several unbeatens by pointing to the Crimson Tide's 40-point win over No. 17 Mississippi State, one of two three-loss teams currently ranked inside their top 25. The Bulldogs are the only team in America with three victories over opponents ranked inside the top 20; however, the committee intentionally glossed over bad losses to LSU and Memphis to boost Alabama's resume.

The Big Ten East and SEC West have passed the eye test this season as college football's strongest divisions and are being rewarded for it in early November. This was the most predictable outcome in the first poll, but fluctuation is coming, so be prepared.