On Nov. 2, the College Football Playoff selection committee released their first rankings of the year.
Up until then, everything this season has been based on the AP poll, which has no actual bearing on the playoffs.
It should be said that these rankings should be taken with a grain of salt, there are still plenty of high-profile matchups left in the season, and it is extremely likely that this top four won’t be the same when it comes playoff time.
It is still interesting to look at what the committee thinks of the teams thus far and try to predict who will be there at the season’s end. The committee’s official rankings are as follows:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Wake Forest
- Ole Miss
- Texas A&M
- San Diego State
- North Carolina State
- Mississippi State
One of the most interesting things to look at is where the committee decided to place Cincinnati. No team that isn’t in a power five conference has ever made the playoffs, and for the past couple of seasons, the team closest to doing so has been Cincinnati. They are currently undefeated and have a win over Notre Dame, who they have in the top ten. Yet Cincinnati can’t crack the top four just yet.
Another big surprise is the ranking of Michigan State and Michigan. It has caused some controversy this week with the Wolverines being ahead. They played each other very recently, and it was the Spartans who won, but still following their loss to Purdue, Michigan moved ahead.
Alabama comes in at the second spot despite their loss to a then unranked Texas A&M. They probably would have come in second even if they were undefeated due to the play of Georgia, so it is weird to see their loss seem to be completely ignored.
Ohio State appears in the top four in these rankings. They still have games against Michigan State, Michigan, and the potential Big Ten championship game. If they were to win all of those, I have no doubt they’ll remain, or even move up, in the top four.
One thing to potentially look at is how teams are finishing out their schedules. Ohio State has two top seven matchups in their last two games meanwhile Georgia plays Charleston Southern this week.
Mississippi State somehow manages to make these rankings despite the fact that they have four losses this season. My mind immediately says that there has to be a team somewhere more deserving of that spot.
My biggest problems with these rankings come from the inconsistencies. Everyone knows being undefeated is important. Yet Cincinnati is behind teams with losses.
Personally, I’d bump Ohio State up to third, then drop Oregon and put Cincinnati in their place as the fourth team. I feel like they are good enough to compete with anyone.
Making these playoff rankings is a difficult job and one that will almost always come with some intense scrutiny. It will certainly be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out, and who ends up in that final four.