Did College Football Playoff Committee Get it Right in Week 12 Rankings?
The College Football Playoff committee released its Week 12 rankings. Who was overrated and underrated in this week’s rankings?
After a crazy series of upsets in Week 11, not that much seemed to change in the College Football Playoff rankings when they were released on Tuesday night. Up to number two is Ohio State, but two of the three top-four teams that lost over the weekend remained in position to reach the semifinal games and the third, Washington, is still in striking distance at sixth.
What is interesting is that the College Football Playoff committee really didn’t rank things radically different than the old BCS standings. The order of the top five is identical between the two Top 25 lists, and the biggest discrepancies come once you fall outside of the top nine.
— Zach Bigalke (@zbigalke) November 16, 2016
So what did the College Football Playoff committee get right this week and what did they get wrong? Click ahead to see thoughts on what the committee got right and what they got wrong in this week’s CFP rankings.
What the College Football Playoff Committee Got Right
First and foremost, there was no way that Alabama was going to be moving out of the top spot after they came out of the other side of Week 11 as the only undefeated Power Five team left in the FBS. And it is hard to fault the decision of the College Football Playoff committee to put Clemson ahead of Louisville in this week’s rankings, given the Tigers’ 42-36 victory head-to-head over the Cardinals back on the first day of October. At this moment things are setting up for a 2016 College Football Playoff championship rematch between Alabama and Clemson in the Peach Bowl.
Looking beyond the top five, the teams that comprise the rest of the top ten are the usual suspects one might have expected to see. Washington is a logical choice to remain in striking distance at sixth, given that they remain the favorite in the Pac-12 at this point despite their loss to USC. The cluster of Pac-12 South teams between 10th and 13th seems like a fair place to rate the three teams that could still win the division, reflecting the overall strength of the conference in 2016.
The absence of both ACC Coastal leaders, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, seems completely reasonable as well after both the Tar Heels and the Hokies suffered second conference losses last week. In general the College Football Playoff committee offered a relatively reasonable Top 25 this week. And yet, they certainly didn’t get everything right.
What the College Football Playoff Committee Got Wrong
How did Michigan manage to stay anchored at third in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings after losing to a three-touchdown underdog? The Wolverines were held to just 201 yards and 14 first downs against Iowa, coughing up two turnovers en route to their first loss of the year. While Iowa is a team comparable to Pittsburgh in terms of their respective level of quality, one wonders what made this loss less worthy of punishment than the defeat suffered by Washington against a ranked USC team.
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A far more egregious decision by the committee was rating Boise State ahead of undefeated Western Michigan in the Group of Five race for the Access Bowl invitation. Boise State certainly has the best statement win against Power Five competition, having taken down Pac-12 North contender Washington State on the road, but their other win against the Pac-12 was against woebegone Oregon State. Western Michigan also has two statement wins against the Big Ten, and while neither Northwestern nor Illinois is as good as the Cougars they are also both better than the Beavers this year. Combined with the fact that Boise State doesn’t control its own fate in the MWC Mountain, this feels like the College Football Playoff committee is trolling WMU.
It is also hard to figure out just what Oklahoma State and Tennessee have done to deserve such high positions in this week’s Top 25. It almost feels like the CFP deliberators have chosen to pretend that the Cowboys never actually lost to Central Michigan. And while the Volunteers did get a head-to-head win over Florida, it seems ludicrous to rank them four spots ahead of the Gators. After all, Tennessee still needs Jim McElwain’s team to lose against LSU in their last conference game of the season just to reach Atlanta and square off against Alabama on neutral turf.
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