The initial College Football Playoff rankings were released yesterday and the committee has created a bit of a stir in their first ranking of the season.
Traditional thinking would have the only undefeated teams from the Power Five conferences in the top four spots. While Alabama, Clemson and Michigan did hold true to form, Washington was leapfrogged by one-loss Texas A&M. College Football Playoff Committee Chairman Kirby Hocutt referenced Texas A&M’s strength of schedule, specifically their two more wins against teams with better than .500 records than Washington as the main reasoning why.
The committee is obviously impressed with the Aggies and it’s hard to blame them. If they were so impressed however, they should have went ahead and ranked them ahead of Michigan. Texas A&M has a strength of schedule of 26 which is considerably higher than Michigan (49) and Washington (69). If strength of schedule is the reason why the Aggies are ahead of the Huskies, then it should be the reason they are ahead of the Wolverines. The point is moot obviously if these Power Five leaders remain undefeated. Ultimately, the games will be played on the field and those four control their own destiny.
Speaking of controlling your own destiny, Louisville clearly does not. People will say these initial rankings don’t matter because things will change. That is incorrect when regarding Louisville. We learned tonight that they are essentially out of contention for the playoffs. One thing that won’t change is their weak remaining schedule. They would need Clemson to lose two of their next three games against far inferior opponents to sneak into the ACC Championship game. Hard to imagine a one-loss team that doesn’t play in its conference championship game, that has already started sleep walking through its remaining games getting in over multiple conference champions.
Its was good to see Auburn get the respect they deserve at number nine after bouncing back from two tough loses to Clemson and Texas A&M. I was surprised to see a one-loss West Virginia team ranked at 20 and behind nine total two loss teams. Penn State was higher than expected at number 12. They were probably given too much credit for beating an under-performing Ohio State team. I thought putting Boise State right behind Western Michigan at number 24 was a subtle dig at Western Michigan. This gives the committee the option to move Boise State ahead of Western Michigan even if both win out based off of Boise’s remaining stronger schedule. Either way, both Bronco teams are the only Group of Five teams represented.
This is the first college football ranking so we know something crazy is going to happen. More than likely a big shake up will come and make the committee’s job much more difficult and that is when the real fun starts.