College Football Playoff Rankings Breakdown Nov. 14: Clemson At No. 2?!
The third round of College Football Playoff Rankings of 2017 have come out. Did the committee get them right?
Forget all the speculation, and forget about everything people are going to tell you over the next several days. Here’s the deal.
No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Miami, No 4 Oklahoma, No. 5 Wisconsin, and No. 7 Georgia control their own respective destines. That’s it.
Auburn probably does, too, but it’s not a guarantee if Clemson barely beats Miami in the ACC Championship and if Wisconsin and Oklahoma win out.
Clemson at No. 2? The committee, apparently, loves the win over Auburn.
“Clemson has 6 wins over ranked teams,” said CFP Committee Chair Kirby Hocutt. “We are very impressed with their win over Auburn. Miami has not beaten a winning team on the road yet.”
Yeah, okay, fine, but Clemson also lost to a Syracuse team that won’t go bowling, and it still doesn’t have a win quite as impressive as Miami blasting away the Fighting Irish.
Virginia Tech? Yeah, the win was on the road, but Miami beat the Hokies, too.
It just makes no sense. Basically, the CFP committee argued amongst itself that beating Virginia Tech on the road plus Auburn is stronger than beating the Hokies at home and whacking the No. 3 team 41-8.
And Miami beat Syracuse.
It doesn’t matter since the two play and it’s all about the conference championships, but that’s a whiff.
If this was anyone other than a team named Alabama, with this resume and the struggles against mediocre Texas A&M and Mississippi State teams, it’s not No. 1 right now. It’s fine – it’s impossible to argue too much against the Crimson Tide – but Miami has a great win. Oklahoma has a great win. Clemson has a great win. Alabama doesn’t.
The committee has made it clear that it loves and values road wins over just about everything else. Alabama beat Texas A&M and Mississippi State on the road, but overall, the resume isn’t that much better than Wisconsin’s, but the Badger win over Iowa is far more impressive so far than anything the Crimson Tide have done.
You’re fine, Wisconsin. The No. 5 ranking shows that the committee is cool with you, mediocre schedule and all. Just get to 13-0, with the Big Ten title, and you’re in. If the Badgers were sixth or seventh, that might have been a wee bit of a cause for concern.
You’re fine, Georgia. It doesn’t matter if you were ranked seventh, third, or 24th. You have to win the SEC Championship, and beat Georgia Tech along the way. Win out, get in.
Who has a real beef? Oklahoma. Being No. 4 doesn’t matter – it’s in at 12-1 with a Big 12 championship. However, the argument for Clemson is its resume and road wins – OU’s wins at Ohio State and Oklahoma State are better than anything Clemson has done. The loss to Iowa State stinks- but it’s not as bad as losing at Syracuse.
You want your No. 8 Notre Dame path? There isn’t one without a whole slew of crazy wins, but …. Miami wins out. Georgia wins out. The two losses are to the CFP final No. 1 and No. 2 teams, and there are nine wins over bowl teams. USC destroys UCLA and wins the Pac-12 Championship in a blowout. TCU beats Oklahoma. Ohio State beats Wisconsin.
If there isn’t a path for Notre Dame, then there’s absolutely no path for USC.
You want a deep, deep sleeper? TCU at No. 12. The Horned Frogs will get a rematch with Oklahoma for the Big 12 title. Avenge that loss, boast a road win over Oklahoma State and wins over Kansas State and Texas, and with a lot of help, they can at least get close.
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 SUGAR: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
CFP ROSE: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Miami
Based on what the committee would want as the best matchups and geography …
NY6: ORANGE: No. 7 Georgia vs. No. 19 NC State. The big problem for the ACC getting two teams in? One still has to go to the Orange Bowl.
NY6: PEACH: No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Auburn. The Grouchy Bowl between two teams who’d like to play for the big prize.
NY6 FIESTA: No. 9 Ohio State vs. No. 10 USC. The Rose Bowl you’d like to see, other than the one that’s the College Football Playoff semifinal.
NY6 COTTON: No. 8 Notre Dame vs. No. 18 UCF. The committee would hope the draw of Notre Dame would be enough to help the UCF factor on a national basis.