College Football Playoff Rankings Breakdown Oct. 31: Committee Got It Right
The first College Football Playoff Rankings of 2017 have come out. Did the committee get them right?
The College Football Playoff committee got it dead-on right.
At least it did up top.
I’ll kick when it’s warranted – like leaving out Penn State from last year’s CFP – but the committee deserves a kiss for showing that the process really does work.
The big test was the No. 1 spot. I think Alabama is the best team in college football, and you think Alabama is the best team in college football, and if push came to shove, the College Football Playoff committee probably really and truly believes that it thinks Alabama is the best team in college football.
But Georgia has two better wins – Notre Dame and Alabama – than anything Alabama has done, has a stronger overall schedule, and has been even more dominant, considering the Tide struggled just a wee bit late against Colorado State and Texas A&M.
I said wee – I didn’t say Alabama was bad in any way.
It doesn’t really matter, but putting the Dawgs up top proved that the process is strong, the process works.
And the committee got it right on down through the top 12. Yes, if Georgia is No. 1, then theoretically, Notre Dame should’ve probably been second. After all, the Irish have the blowout wins over Michigan State, USC and NC State – all are better than anything Bama has done – and that one loss was to the top team by one.
But okay – for now, there’s no need to get into a twist over that.
Clemson has the resume wins over Auburn, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Boston College and Georgia Tech to offset the Syracuse loss – fourth is fine.
Oklahoma (5) beat Ohio State (6) who beat Penn State (7) – all good. TCU’s win over Oklahoma State is enough to get to eight, Wisconsin (9) hasn’t played anyone and Miami (10) isn’t all that great for an unbeaten team.
But if you’re not happy, don’t worry about it a lick. Remember, all that matters is if you win your Power Five conference championship going unbeaten or with just one win.
Wisconsin, Miami, Alabama – don’t get into a twist over being ranked too low. Win out, and you’re in.
Please, analysts, don’t use the word precedent when it comes the CFP rankings. The rankings are thrown out and the committee starts from scratch next week, and the week after, and right on down the line. And that’s the beauty of this. There is no precedent being set by rankings until the very end, and then those are what undergoes the scrutiny. With that said …
Okay, so who’s lurking? Auburn at 14 might be the most interesting team to keep an eye because of what’s next. It’s the highest two-loss team, and it soon gets No. 1 Georgia and closes out with No. 2 Alabama.
The loss to No. 19 LSU wasn’t too awful, and the close call at No. 4 Clemson was acceptable. If it wins out and take the SEC Championship, it’ll have an interesting argument.
Also in an interesting spot is LSU at 19. The loss to Troy is devastating to the resume, but it gets Alabama this weekend, it beat Auburn, and while it doesn’t totally control its own destiny, it’s not far off if Mississippi State loses again. Of course, beating a grouchy No. 2 Bama is a doozy of a first step.
Who’s the big winner? TCU. Again, this all changes up each week, but starting out at No. 8 isn’t all that awful considering the clunker against Iowa State last week. Beat Texas this week, and with Oklahoma still to play, there are plenty of chances to get up higher in a hurry. Win the Big 12 with one loss, and it’ll probably find its way in.
The biggest loser? The Pac-12. Washington at 12? USC at 17? OUCH. Yeah, Arizona slipping in at 22 is great, Washington sliding in at 25 is nice, and Stanford at 21 is okay, but it’s not like the conference is going to get any more respect as the season goes on. That doesn’t mean the Huskies can’t get into the College Football Playoff if they go 12-1 with a Pac-12 title, but they’d better be great along the way.
So, based on these first rankings, what would the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six be? Of course, the rankings will be different at the end of the rainbow, but if this was it …
CFP PEACH: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Clemson
CFP ROSE: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
Based on what the committee would want as the best matchups and geography …
NY6: ORANGE: No. 10 Miami vs. No. 6 Ohio State. Orange has to take an ACC team, UCF would add in-state intrigue, but the puzzle pieces don’t quite fit. The best matchup would be OSU vs. Oklahoma in the Cotton, but obviously they already played.
NY6: SUGAR: No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 8 TCU. In reality, the SEC Championship loser will almost certainly be here. But there wouldn’t be much of a complaint getting the Nittany Lions.
NY6 FIESTA: No. 9 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Washington. Someone would be forced to take the top Pac-12 team. Welcome to the battle of teams with bad schedules.
NY6 COTTON: No 5 Oklahoma vs. No. 18 UCF. There’s a chance the committee would still the Group of Five in the Fiesta against the Pac-12 team and sacrifice that bowl as the weak link in the TV ratings chain.