The College Football Playoff Committee released its rankings Tuesday night.
Mississippi St. remains atop the rankings, Oregon jumped ahead of Florida State into second, FSU drops to third after numerous unimpressive wins, and TCU–not Alabama–jumps into fourth after Auburn’s loss to Texas A&M sent them from a playoff spot. Alabama, Arizona State, Baylor, Ohio State, Auburn, and Ole Miss round out the top ten.
Breitbart Sports college football writers John Pudner, Dylan Gwinn, and Daniel J. Freeman offer their reactions to the committee’s rankings.
Four Spots for Five Teams
In my October 29 post, I wrote that if Arizona State beat Notre Dame, then Florida State and Oregon (or whoever won the Pac-12) controlled their own destiny—and that is playing out correctly. They are both in, and Arizona State is perched to replace Oregon if the Sun Devils win out. The other two spots are tough. ESPN is now pushing the possibility of no SEC teams, which I believe is ridiculous because, based purely on Massey Ratings, the SEC has four of the top five teams. So, it is hard to replace them for beating each other. If Alabama beats Mississippi State, and both win out, then you should put both in. That makes for the toughest discussion because at that point TCU, Alabama, and Mississippi State would all strongly deserve to be in—but if Oregon and Florida State win the rest of the way you really have five teams that are really hard to leave out. If TCU’s best road win is over #30 West Virginia and Alabama’s is at #10 LSU, and Mississippi State has that as a road win and a win at #4 Mississippi, then I would have to leave TCU out. Luckily for them, I am pretty confident one of the other four will lose (outside of assuming Mississippi State loses at Alabama).
Resume over Reputation
This week the committee chose resume over reputation. Alabama has reigned as the gold-standard in college football for more than five years, yet their status as CFB royalty didn’t cause the committee to overlook what should have been a loss against LSU on Saturday night. Instead, the voters did the right thing and vaulted a TCU team that hammered K-State into the playoff and left the Tide on the outside looking in. Nor did the committee allow Florida State’s “favored nation” status from last year to continue indefinitely; the Seminoles’s best win, a razor-thin victory at home over Notre Dame, didn’t look nearly so impressive after Arizona State’s throttling of the Irish this weekend. A lot of football remains before we know who will get into the playoff. Clearly though, no one will get in on reputation alone.
Committee Did the Right Thing
“SEC bias” believers can take the week off, as only one SEC team appears in this week’s top four of the playoff rankings. The selection committee, once again, did the right thing, especially in adding TCU at number four. TCU has played very impressively on both sides of the ball and has a more impressive resume than Baylor, its only loss. Although TCU jumped Alabama, the Tide has a clear opportunity to get into the top four with its upcoming games as well as a possible berth in the SEC championship game.
—Daniel J. Freeman
Follow Daniel J. Freeman on Twitter @djfree, Dylan Gwinn @themightygwinn, and John Pudner @jpudner.