College Football Playoff Rankings
On November 15, the College Football Playoff committee faced some tough decisions after five of the top teams all fell to unranked or lower ranked teams. The No. 2 ranked Clemson fell to unranked Pittsburgh, No. 4 Washington lost to No. 20 USC, No. 8 Texas A&M lost to unranked Ole Miss, and No. 9 Auburn lost to unranked Georgia. In addition, arguably the most surprising upset of Saturday was No. 3 Michigan losing to unranked Iowa by a field goal. With those five upsets, the top-25 and especially the top 10 was bound to be shaken up.
However, the top four of the rankings weren’t as shaken up as people thought it would be. Alabama stayed at the top seat, while Ohio State predictably moved up three spots to No. 2. Michigan stayed at No. 3, and Clemson only fell to No. 4.
It was surprising Clemson only fell to four and Michigan stayed at the same seat. This indicates the committee thinks highly of the Big Ten and overall records also play a big factor. Louisville and Penn State were two teams on Saturday that were trailing in the fourth quarter, but were able to grind out the win. As a result, Penn State moved up two spots to No. 8 over Texas A&M and Auburn and Louisville moved up one spot to No. 5. Some fans wonder if Louisville is out of the top four because of their loss to Clemson.
It was also an interesting choice for the committee to put Michigan over Clemson, which implies they care more about the quality of each team’s loss, favoring Michigan, over strength in schedule, favoring Clemson. This point is further proven when the committee decided to put Washington at No. 6 over Wisconsin at No. 7. Wisconsin has that additional loss, but their schedule is a much tougher one.
Ohio State predictably moved up three spots to No. 2 and if they win the last two games they should see themselves in the playoff. Ohio State has three wins over current top-25 teams and their only loss is to a top-10 team in Penn State.
However, if Penn State wins out and Michigan loses to Ohio State in two weeks, the Nittany Lions will go to the Big Ten Championship game, leaving Ohio State no chance to win the Big Ten. Now, the question would be whether a two-loss conference champion gets in the playoffs over a one-loss team like Louisville or now No. 6 Washington. This shines light on how impactful the Michigan loss on the playoffs really is.
Therefore, this is the first year the committee might potentially have to decide whether or not two teams from the same conference deserve to go to the playoff, or deciding which of the power-five conferences should be left out. Depending on which way the selection committee is leaning towards, that is huge for the Big Ten, especially Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State.
Alissa Devine is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.