College Football Research


CFP Thoughts

by Big Al

Just a few thoughts on the first college football playoff rankings.

Ohio State at #1

This one I agree with, and not because I am an Ohio State fan: they have the best resume. Two wins over then-top-10 teams, and a couple of solid wins over good Wisconsin and Maryland teams. They're not always pretty, but they win.

Georgia at #2

They're the defending champs. If they can't be #1, they should be #2.

Michigan at #3

The committee said that the sign-stealing thing is an NCAA issue, not a playoff issue. I agree with that. I'm not happy about this whole flap, but the CFP's job is to pick the best four eligible teams. Unless that changes (it won't; not for a while, if ever) they should be judged on what they do on the field. And they've looked phenomenal on the field.

Florida State at #4
Washington at #5

This one I do NOT agree with. Washington should be #4. They are the best team in the best conference in the country. Yes, yes, SEC RULEZ and all that, but the Pac-12 was unstoppable in the non-conference season. Washington is undefeated and they knocked off Oregon. They deserve to be in the top 4 and above Florida State.

Why None of This Matters

It is exceptionally rare that there are more than two undefeated teams in the FBS. And, when there are three, one of them is usually in some second- or third-tier conference and therefore not going to be taken seriously.

Right now, we have Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, Florida State, Washington, Air Force, and James Madison. Even if three teams go undefeated (which is, as mentioned, unlikely), either Air Force or James Madison are entirely likely to be one of the remaining undefeateds. Neither is getting into the playoffs: one will have no signature wins and the other is ineligible.

Ohio State and Michigan play each other, so at least one of those is definitely losing once. Both Georgia and Washington have tough stretches of three ranked teams, and then a rivalry game. Florida State still has rivalry games, in addition to a November trip to Pittsburgh. And all of these teams still have conference championship games to get through.

The only team I have real confidence in to get through unscathed is Michigan. Penn State is looking a little limp, and UM gets Ohio State at home. The Big Ten West is nothing special. And they will be well-rested from 9 weeks of exhibition games. But even the decent teams haven't managed to score more than 10 points on them, and that has only happened once. And they have never scored fewer than 30. They are going to ease into the playoffs without breaking a sweat.

The second-most-likely is Florida State. Their remaining schedule is a dud before the ACC championship game. Get past the stiffs and then one good team, and they are in.

My biggest doubt (Ohio State excepted - see above) is Washington. The Huskies have a tough stretch of games and then they need to play for the Pac-12 championship. They do not get a week off, and they have been sluggish the last two weeks. I think they're a fantastic team, but they are having struggles right when they have the toughest stretch. They are my top pick to get picked off.


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