Five reactions and what we learned from the first rankings from the College Football Playoff committee.
5. Rapid-Fire First Reaction To Latest College Football Playoff Rankings
To the ESPN analysts, and to everyone else, remember, these rankings aren’t like the normal ones we’re all still used to. It’s not as easy as one-team-loses-drops-one-team-wins-and-moves-up. These rankings get thrown away and the committee starts over next week.
As always, remember, go 12-1 and win your Power Five championship, and you’ll at least get really, really close to the pin. It all sort of works out, but this year could be very, very different. It’s extremely possible that two Power Five conference champs are left out. HOWEVER …
Don’t forget about the New Year’s Six games. If these first rankings hold, then Florida (10) will almost certainly get a NY6 game by winning out – it has a relatively easy path – and if you’re Wisconsin (13), you got a nice break considering there’s a loss to Illinois on the resumé. The Badgers have to dream the both Ohio State and Penn State get in – more on that in a moment – putting the Rose Bowl in play. Also, lurking at 15, Notre Dame would almost certainly creep on up into NY6 at-large range – Cotton Bowl – if it goes 10-2.
Baylor being at 12 is a big deal. If Oklahoma destroys the Bears in Waco, that No. 9 seed gets a big, giant boost. The Sooners need that, and they need No. 23 Oklahoma State to keep winning. Also, that loss to Kansas State (15) is technically better than No. 8 Utah’s loss to USC, and it soon could be better than Oregon’s loss to current-11 Auburn. Don’t quite count out OU yet.
Technically, for right now, No. 16 Kansas State should be ranked ahead of No. 9 Oklahoma. Oklahoma hasn’t beaten a CFP-ranked team, and the win over Texas might just be the lone win – so far – out of the seven against a team that will go bowling. Kansas State’s losses were to No. 23 Oklahoma State and No. 12 Baylor – Oklahoma has yet to play either one. So, for the moment, yeah … in theory, the Cats should be higher.
Why, exactly, is Oklahoma State 23rd? The 26-13 win over Oklahoma State? Iowa State isn’t ranked, neither is TCU. Texas and Texas Tech aren’t ranked, and the Cowboys lost to both of them, along with their loss to Baylor.
Minnesota got DOGGED. It doesn’t really matter – beat Penn State, and everything changes in a big hurry – but No. 17, compared to Baylor at 12? It’s not like the Bears have done anything wonderful other than beating an overrated No. 24 Oklahoma State.
Cincinnati, it’s all there for the taking. Basically, the American Athletic Conference winner takes the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six spot unless it has two losses. Boise State might be at 22, but it has a whole lot of traffic to get through if Cincinnati (20), Memphis (21), Navy (24) or SMU (25) takes the AAC at 12-1.
The committee got the midsection right. It didn’t punish Wisconsin (13) for the loss to Ohio State, and while the Illinois loss stunk, it was, apparently, just close enough – as inexcusable as it was – to still get the nod against of Michigan (14), and with both of them ahead of Notre Dame (15).
The committee got a whole lot right, but …