The College Football Playoff selection committee released its latest batch of rankings Tuesday night and many, including myself, are trying to make sense of it.
Several teams in the top 10 moved, but not how one would have predicted. The logic for the rankings and the movement doesn’t appear to apply equally to all the teams, with some getting punished for the same things others are rewarded for. In the end, the committee ended up losing credibility while seemingly playing politics.
Let me take some time to illustrate some of the questionable decisions.
The top five teams remained the same this week, as Alabama (10-0), Notre Dame (10-0), Clemson (9-1) and Ohio State (5-0) remained in the all-important top four spots, while Texas A&M (7-1) is locked in at No. 5.
The questions start after the top five. And these rankings are important because they set up bowl game pairings.
Iowa State (8-2) jumped to No. 6 after a week off and Florida only dropped from sixth to seventh after losing to a really bad, unranked LSU team at home. The Gators only dropped one spot after that embarrassment? I am not sure how that makes any sense.
Georgia (8-2) beat a bad Missouri (5-4) team that is unranked and somehow jumped Cincinnati for eighth place. The Bearcats are undefeated at 8-0 and the committee apparently penalized them for not playing. But wait a second. Iowa State jumped a spot without playing. Where is the consistency?
And Ohio State has only played two games since November 7 and they’ve stayed in the top four? How does it make sense to punish Cincinnati? Here come the politics. It feels like the committee just made up a rule so it could move the Bearcats down and elevate another SEC team into the mix.
Oklahoma (7-2), Indiana (6-1) and Coastal Carolina (11-0) all moved up one spot, while USC (5-0) jumped two to No. 13. The big loser was Miami (8-2) who fell eight spots to No. 18 after getting blown out by North Carolina. The Tar Heels (8-3) jumped two spots to No. 15.
The real craziness here is Florida. Taking a second loss on the season and doing it against a bad LSU team at home should have sent the Gators tumbling down the rankings. Instead, the SEC school dropped one spot. It feels like a move designed to protect No. 1 Alabama in case the Crimson Tide lose the SEC title game to the Gators. If that happens, the committee could easily justify keeping Nick Saban’s crew in the top four. Now they can say that Alabama lost to the seventh-ranked team instead of a Florida team that should have fallen out of the top-ten.
That move also reinforces the committee’s clear desire to get two SEC teams in the final four by any means necessary. If Clemson loses to Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game, you can almost count on the Tigers falling out of the top four. Never mind that their two losses would have both come against the No. 2 team in the country.
The committee continues to overrate Georgia, a team with two losses that hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 25, and Iowa State, which has two losses and moved to No. 6 despite and embarrassing early season home loss to Louisiana by 17 points.
Tell me how it makes sense that those teams and Florida sit ahead of undefeated Cincinnati and an Indiana team whose only loss came by seven on the road against Ohio State.
Just to summarize, none of this can be tracked sensibly. It just feels like a group of guys throwing stuff at a wall to ensure the ACC and SEC get as many teams in as possible. Especially the SEC.