Five reactions and what we learned from the bowl pairings and the final rankings from the College Football Playoff committee.
5. Rapid-Fire First Reaction To Final College Football Playoff Rankings
This committee keeps on catching breaks. There was no real call to be made here, because outside of the Pac-12 Championship, the conference championships AGAIN went by the book.
There was no Virginia upset over Clemson. Wisconsin didn’t pull through against Ohio State, and Georgia certainly didn’t make this crazy with a win over LSU. Utah losing to Oregon made this easy – the CFP didn’t have to do the Utah vs. Big 12 Championship side-by-side taste test.
The committee has yet to rule on what happens if a powerhouse 12-0 team loses in a conference championship if there are four other viable options.
In the end – outside of the top four – the committee made a statement: beat good teams. It nailed the Alabama-behind-Auburn call last week – something the other polls didn’t do – and it threw out the eye-test because the Tide resumé wasn’t all that great.
Yeah, there was that close call against Auburn and the firefight against LSU, but no wins over College Football Playoff top 25 teams was the killer. The same went for Utah at 11. In the end, the the Utes just didn’t have any wins. And with that …
The committee got the SEC/Pac-12 order wrong. It didn’t matter in the end, but if this was truly a clean ranking, (6) Oregon had to be ahead of (11) Utah, and both had to be behind (12) Auburn, and all of them had to be behind (9) Florida. It didn’t matter in the end, but in terms of process. that would’ve made it right.
Again, in the eyes of the committee, big wins were more impressive than close losses to good teams. Georgia was given a free pass for that South Carolina gaffe because it beat (9) Florida, (12) Auburn and (15) Notre Dame. (8) Wisconsin stayed ahead of Penn State on that blowout win over (14) Michigan and the victory over (18) Minnesota.
(7) Oregon got that “that’s why pencils have erasers” treatment after just losing to Arizona State a few weeks ago. That was cheerfully ignored in the final rankings like it never happened – at least outside of the loss column.
It doesn’t seem to matter when teams lose to other teams that the committee really, really likes, and that’s why …
The Gators didn’t catch a break, at least in the rankings. Again, it didn’t really matter – they got the Orange Bowl – but the one big win was over (12) Auburn. It didn’t seem to make a difference that the two losses were to (1) LSU and (5) Georgia – big wins mean more than acceptable losses to this group.
Notre Dame will never join a conference unless it absolutely has to, but this would’ve been the year for that Friends With Benefits relationship with the ACC to take the next step.
The Irish get one of the ACC’s bowl spots, but they can’t take the Orange Bowl position unless they’re an at-large team. The Camping World Bowl against Iowa State is fine, but playing Florida in Miami would’ve been better for everyone.
The Baylor love at the end was a tad strange. The committee didn’t like the Bears all that much throughout the process, and then it decided to give them that No. 7 spot to close despite (25) Oklahoma State being the only win over a CFP Top 25 team.
So there are two strange scenh to go to the Rose Bowl, or it has to be blown out. Losing to the Utes 24-17ish probably puts tdEC Championship, it’ll be 2 Clemson vs. 3 Georgia in one semifinal, and the No. 1 seeded Ohio State Buckeyes are “rewarded” by playing the 4-seed … LSU.