There have been 24 teams that made the tournament in the College Football Playoff era. How would the committee rank them?
– Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews
Now that we know how the College Football Playoff committee has gone through its process through the first six years of this grand experiment, what if we took all the precedents and all the thoughts and applied them to all 24 teams that made it into the tournament?
There’s obviously a reason why some teams are ranked where they were in a given season, but the criteria has changed a wee bit here and there – the CFP really likes the four best teams belief – so there’s some adjusting to do.
So let’s say the committee had to seed all 24 teams from 2014 to 2019. How would it rank them?
One key note: pretend we don’t know what actually happens in any of the playoffs. Forget about the results, as amazing or ugly as they might have been. This is strictly going on the merits of each team at the end of each regular season.
One other rule – this is going by what the committee did in each year. So if 2014 Ohio State was fourth in the final CFP rankings and Florida State was third, in this, Ohio State has to be ranked behind Florida State.
The (#) after each team is the final College Football Playoff ranking in a given year.
The all-time College Football Playoff top 24 would be (again, remember, we don’t know how this all turns out in each of the playoffs) …
24. 2016 Washington (12-1)
The Case For: The Pac-12 Championship meant just about everything to the Huskies’ case. They didn’t just beat Colorado (10), they brought a 41-10 stomping.
The Huskies looked like the real deal on both sides of the ball for most of the year, destroying Christian McCaffrey and Stanford (18) 44-6, and rolling through Utah (19) on the road.
The Case Against: The resumé stinks. The Pac-12 was awful in 2016, and the UW non-conference schedule was worse, facing Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State. The hottest team going was USC (9), and Washington didn’t just lose, it lost at home 26-13.
Final Decision: The speed and talent are there, but the resumé wins aren’t. There wasn’t anything in non-conference play to get excited about.
23. 2017 Alabama (11-1)
The Case For: There’s a whole lot of talent on both sides of the ball. When it was focused and rose up from time to time – like against Ole Miss in a 66-3 win – it was fantastic.
The Crimson Tide ended up beating six bowl teams including LSU (17) and Mississippi State (23). Crushing Fresno State 41-10 turned out to be a far better than it looked at the time.
The Case Against: Where were the big wins? The Crimson Tide struggled against a mediocre Texas A&M, it was just okay against LSU and Mississippi State, and while beating Florida State was good, that turned out to be a way overrated Seminole squad. Throw in the double-digit loss to Auburn – the one good team on the slate – and there’s nothing here.
And, of course, there’s the huge problem of not winning a division or a conference championship in a down year for the SEC – Auburn won the West and Georgia won the conference.
Final Decision: On talent and reputation, the Crimson Tide could hang with anyone, and they could certainly get hot and win two games against anyone on this list. But based on eye test and resumé, this team is just okay compared to some of Nick Saban’s juggernauts.
22. 2015 Oklahoma (11-1)
The Case For: As far as non-conference wins go, the comeback against Tennessee (23) on the road is the important tone-setter for everything else. The offense picked up steam from there, scoring 41 points or more nine times, including a 44-34 win at Baylor (17).
In the key final two games of the season, OU came through, taking down TCU (11) 30-29, and beating Oklahoma State (16) on the road in a 58-23 blowout.
The Case Against: The loss was in a rivalry fight with Texas, but it was still unacceptable – the Longhorns suffered a losing season. The defense didn’t always pass the eye test, and overall, the Big 12 was okay, not amazing. Not having a conference championship game isn’t that big a drag, but 11-1 is obviously different than 12-1.
Final Decision: The offense was terrific, and there some nice wins, but beating Tennessee didn’t turn out to be quite like it was supposed to be, and the 11 wins come across as a bit light in the no-big-deal Big 12 of 2015.
21. 2019 Oklahoma (12-1)
The Case For: The offense was spectacular. It was the best in the nation in total yards throughout the season, the defense led the Big 12 in total D and there was a whole lot of pop and explosion finishing second behind LSU.
Beating Baylor (7) twice was impressive, and the win over Oklahoma State (25) adds on another top 25 victory. Unlike a few others on this list. the Sooners won a Power Five conference title.
The Case Against: It took way too much work to get by mediocre Iowa State and TCU teams, and the loss to Kansas State is glaring. It wasn’t a miserable defeat, but considering the overall resumé isn’t all that strong – there was nothing in non-conference play to get excited about – the 12-1 record knocks down the Sooners.
Final Decision: The committee would like the offense, but would be worried about the close calls, and the big wins over Baylor weren’t that great, even if it came against the CFP’s seventh-ranked team. There’s a whole lot not to like according to the overall eye test.