The College Football Playoff committee released its first rankings on Tuesday night, and there was a surprise at the playoff field. After Alabama, Clemson and Michigan, Texas A&M surpassed Washington for the No. 4 spot.
It was an interesting decision -- one that prompted many to wonder if the committee did this strictly to strike up talking points amongst media and fans -- and frankly, the wrong one.
As a matter of fact, the committee got quite a few teams wrong in their initial rankings. Here are nine.
To the Broncos' credit, they are not only undefeated -- the only non-Power 5 team that can claim that -- but they didn’t dodge anyone, facing and beating a pair of Big Ten teams in Northwestern and Illinois.
Basically, the Broncos have done everything a mid-major could be asked to do, and they are still being punished for it. Shame on the committee for that.
No. 16 Utah (underrated)
Yes, the Utes have a bad loss against Cal a few weeks back but challenged themselves out of conference with a tough game against BYU, and they also beat a suddenly red-hot USC team, which has won four games in a row since that loss.
If anything, it feels like the Utes are being punished for playing and losing a nail-biter last week against the best team in the Pac-12, Washington. Especially when you consider what team is one spot ahead of them.
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No. 15 Colorado (overrated)
What Mike MacIntyre is doing this season is one of the most underappreciated stories in college football, but this ranking is laughable. The Buffaloes have played one ranked team – at Michigan – and got stomped, and their best win is a 10-5 squeaker against Stanford, which has lost three of their last four games.
By the way, if the Buffs have two losses (the same number as Utah), and one of them is to USC (a team the Utes beat), why is Utah behind them?
No. 14 Oklahoma (underrated)
You can say what you want about Oklahoma’s early season struggles, but those struggles came after the Sooners did exactly what the playoff committee has asked teams to do in recent years: Schedule tough out-of-conference opposition. The Sooners took the committee’s words to heart and played both Houston and Ohio State, two games they obviously lost.
So what has happened since? The Sooners have ripped off five in a row to sit at 6-2 overall and in first place in the Big 12. Frankly, it feels like Oklahoma is being punished for that non-conference schedule, especially when you consider that fellow two-loss teams like Penn State and LSU are ahead of them. Speaking of which …
Still, let’s not get too crazy on the Bayou Bengals here. The only team they’ve played that was “ranked” all year was Ole Miss, which immediately fell out of the polls after they lost to LSU and sit just 3-5 overall. They also lost to two teams that were unranked when they played, but are clearly the two best teams on their schedule: Wisconsin and Auburn.
LSU will have a chance to move up in the polls – starting Saturday against Alabama – but this is too high, right now, for their current body of work.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsDerick E. Hingle
No. 11 Florida (overrated)
Bahahahahahahahahaha ... hahahahahahhaa ...
Oh wait, the playoff committee is serious?
The Gators have played a grand total of one ranked team, at Tennessee, where they lost to a team that has gone on to lose three of four since. Their best win is against who, 4-3 Kentucky? A plummeting 4-4 team under Kirby Smart?
Like LSU, Florida will have a chance to prove me wrong (starting this week at Arkansas). But right now, there is no way they deserve to be ranked this high.
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No. 6 Ohio State (overrated)
Considering where teams like LSU, Colorado and others are ranked, recent play seems to be a big sticking point with the selection committee. So how do you justify Ohio State being ranked this high, when their last three games have been a narrow overtime win over Wisconsin, a loss at Penn State and a narrow win over Northwestern?
It seems hard to justify putting the Buckeyes ahead of Louisville, which is also a one-loss team that has blistered virtually everyone they’ve played. Of the Cardinals’ seven wins, six have come by double-digits and five of seven have come by 30 or more points.
Frankly, a case could be made that Lamar Jackson and Co. are the best one-loss team in college football. No one outside of Columbus would make that argument for Ohio State.
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No. 5 Washington (underrated)
Sure, I know the biggest gripe with Washington is that their non-conference schedule was soft. Their only Power 5 opponent was Rutgers, which is terrible. But in defense of the Huskies, these games are scheduled years in advance, and no one could have predicted when this game was scheduled that 1) Washington would be a playoff contender or 2) that Rutgers would be one of the worst teams in major college football.
As Herm Edwards once said, “You play to win the game,” and Washington has won every game on their schedule, in a major Power 5 school. Why punish them?
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No. 4 Texas A&M (overrated)
This isn’t intended as an indictment on A&M; what they’ve done, against a brutal schedule, is as good as anyone in the country. At the same time, you can’t pretend like that loss to Alabama didn’t happen either.
What makes me most angry about this ranking is the committee got the hopes and dreams of every Texas A&M fan up simply for a little PR buzz. Unfortunately, it’s going to be crushing for Aggies fans if they were to win out, Washington does the same, and the Huskies pass them, which will happen under that scenario.
Point being, this isn’t an A&M thing, but instead a committee thing. And shame on them for doing this, simply to get us in the media talking.