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REACTION: College Football Playoff committee frustrates, confuses and disappoints

Courtesy of Adam Shondel
Ohio Stadium is in Columbus, Ohio, and is home to the Ohio State Buckeyes

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, and the committee is failing us as fans.

They released their first rankings on October 31st, and whether you start from the top and go down or the bottom and go up, there are immediate issues. 

Coming in at No. 25 are the Air Force Falcons, with a record of 8-0. The AP has them at 17, but being a team that does not bring in a lot of money they are of little use to the committee, which is most likely the reason they are barely even in the top 25.

Tulane at No. 24 is no issue, and 23-21 features three Big 12 teams who are all 6-2. 

Kansas State is ranked 23rd, Oklahoma State is 22nd, and Kansas is 21st. 

The first major inconsistency is displayed with Oklahoma State being placed a spot behind Kansas, who have an identical record and beat them.

From looking at this, it would seem that head-to-head matchups are not too high up on the priority list.

However, if we look at the teams ranked 20-16, head-to-head matchups appear to be valued. USC sits at No. 20 with a record of 7-2, no problem. 

UCLA is ranked 19th and is 6-2; one of those losses came to Utah, who is also 6-2 and is ranked 18th. This makes sense, as the two have an identical record, and the team that won the head-to-head matchup is ahead. 

The Tennessee Volunteers are the lowest-ranked SEC team at No. 17, and the Oregon State Beavers, who are 6-2, come in at No. 16. 

The Beavers have wins over UCLA and Utah, so it makes sense that they are ahead of both. 

It is evident when looking at 20-16 head-to-head matchups are valued, but for some unknown reason, it is not when it comes to Oklahoma State and Kansas.

Notre Dame is ranked 15th with a 7-2 record; they trail LSU, who is 6-2. 

The Cardinals of Louisville sit at No. 13 with their 7-1 record. 

The Missouri Tigers are ranked 12th, with just a loss to LSU as their only blemish; they’re 7-1. 

The Penn State Nittany Lions are just outside the top 10 at No. 11 with a record of 7-1. Possibly, the committee’s best group of teams is 15-11.

However, this group of teams does make for some exciting hypotheticals. 

If LSU were to beat Alabama, it is possible that they would be ahead of the Ole Miss Rebels, who are No. 10. 

This would not sit well for Ole Miss, as they have a better record than LSU, and they beat them. 

If Louisville loses to a .500 Virginia Tech team this week, they would almost certainly drop below the Irish, who are at No. 15, even though the two would have nearly identical records, with the Cardinals being 7-2, the Irish would be 8-2, and the Cardinals beat the Irish earlier this year.

Looking into the top-10, Ole Miss, with their 7-1 record, starts us off at No. 10. 

The next three teams have fans all over the country scratching their heads. 

The Oklahoma Sooners are ranked ninth, the Alabama Crimson Tide found themselves at eighth, and the Texas Longhorns are ranked seventh; all are 7-1. 

The committee values the Longhorns’ win against Alabama, putting them a single spot ahead of The Tide; however, the Sooners, who beat the Longhorns, sit behind both of those teams. 

At No. 6 are the Oregon Ducks, one spot behind the team who beat them in week 7, the Washington Huskies. 

Another interesting possibility here is if Washington loses to USC, they would drop behind Oregon, even though they’d have the same record, and the Huskies beat the Ducks.

Florida State appeared in the first 4-team College Football Playoff in 2014, and if the season ended today, they would be in the final 4-team playoffs as NCAA is moving to a 12-team playoff starting in 2024. 

The Seminoles are ranked fourth. 

The Michigan Wolverines, who one could argue have looked like the most dominant team so far, are ranked third. 

The problem with them is that they haven’t played any notable opponents, so it’s hard to put them too high. To their credit, especially in recent weeks, they have steamrolled those inferior opponents. 

The two-time defending national champions, the Georgia Bulldogs, come in at No. 2. They haven’t looked all that great at times, but they do have a couple of good wins over Kentucky and Florida. 

At number one for the first time since 2019 is Ohio State. This is a team that has struggled throughout the year. 

Their defense is much improved, giving up 10 points per game, but their offense scores nearly two touchdowns per game less than last year. They have two top-10 wins against Notre Dame and Penn State, which is what the committee chairman Boo Corrigan emphasized when asked why the Buckeyes were given the top spot. 

Just about any unbiased fan who has watched Ohio State would say they have no business having a No. 1 next to their name. 

Every one of the ESPN analysts hosting the rankings release show said Ohio State has the best résumé, but none said they are the best team.

The playoff should be about getting the four best teams in the playoff, not the teams with the best résumés. 

The CFP committee, at times, appears to put in the four most deserving teams. What happens when the four most deserving teams make it is blowout after blowout in the playoffs. 

Yes, Ohio State deserves to be ranked number one, but they simply have yet to look like the best team in the country. 

They have not looked better than Georgia, and they have not looked better than Michigan.

What is frustrating about this committee is that they are not consistent with what they value on a week-to-week basis. 

What appears to be important this week may not be next week. All we can do is sit and hope for the best.

Demetri Manousos is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

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