College Football Playoff committee gets the headlines it wants
It cannot be stressed enough that the College Football Playoff rankings do not matter until Sunday, Dec. 8. I mean, they do not matter AT ALL. Very few people understand that, however, and the College Football Playoff committee knows good at well that people—most of all the national media—are going to talk, talk, and talk some more. As such, the committee is going to do everything it can to feed the fire, even if it means getting a lit bit crazy with the rankings. After all, there is no harm in messing around here and there on Nov. 5. The committee does not have to get it right until Dec. 8. Yes, that’s two full months of letting the top teams play it out on the field.
No, the committee members are not stupid. They are well aware that they’ll be able to justify all kinds of moving and shaking in their rankings over the next seven weeks. Alabama and LSU go head-to-head on Saturday, for example (check out our free NCAA football picks for this week’s games). Georgia is outside the all-important top four right now, but with just two more wins over unspectacular competition it will get a chance to make a statement in the SEC Championship. Defending champion Clemson, which is also on the outside looking in at the moment, is a lock for the playoff if it runs the table.
Is Ohio State really No. 1?
So who cares if the rankings may be slightly off at the moment? Not the committee!
It certainly didn’t get things entirely wrong on Tuesday, but handing the top spot to Ohio State definitely came as a surprise to many. The Buckeyes, who were +250 to be ranked No. 1, have been blowing out their opponents on a consistent basis—but they have defeated anyone better than 13th-ranked Wisconsin in their most recent outing on Oct. 26.
By comparison, LSU (an even-money favorite to snag the top spot) boasts three wins over opponents who were in the top 10 at the time (Texas, Florida, and Auburn). Quarterback Joe Burrow has been on fire to the extent that he is now favored to win the Heisman Trophy.
On the outside
Behind SEC rivals LSU and third-ranked Alabama, Penn State landing in the No. 4 slot also made headlines. After all, that means Clemson currently finds itself left out of the party. Neither team has beaten anyone particularly good, although Texas A&M was ranked 12th when it lost to the Tigers 24-10 on Sept. 7.
Coming in on the heels of No. 5 Clemson are one-loss teams Georgia, Oregon, Utah, and Oklahoma. Georgia is in if it wins out, while either Oregon or Utah would be in the mix with a Pac-12 title and Oklahoma will have a case if it goes undefeated the rest of the way to lift the Big 12 trophy.
With two months to go, everything is still left to play for. And the committee knows it better than anyone.