Analyzing the Selection Committee’s First Rankings

Chris Schisler

Last evening on ESPN, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee announced its first version of their rankings. It was the first of weekly announcements. It was an historic night but it was wildly over hyped on ESPN. The rhyming poem and dramatic voiceover was a bit much. It was the first look into the work of the all important committee; something we were reminded of ad nauseam. Here are my thoughts on the first actual rankings that matter.

There are no surprises in the top 2 slots. The remaining undefeated powers, Mississippi State and Florida State sit at 1 and 2. The 3 and 4 spots are where the controversy begins. Auburn is ranked number 3 and Ole Miss is ranked 4th. Both teams are very good so its not like we can call it ridiculous (In my personal rankings Auburn is 4th and Ole Miss is 5th).

Alabama being ranked 7th is a straight up crime (The Crimson Tide are No.3 on my list). I understand that Alabama lost to Ole Miss but since then they have destroyed 2 SEC teams. They walloped Texas A&M 59-0. Ole Miss just lost to LSU exposing the flaws of Bo Wallace. Why does Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss hurt them that much? Ole Miss lost to a good but not great LSU Tigers. They keep saying body of work is a huge factor. Alabama’s body of work is simply more impressive than that of the Ole Miss Rebels. Luckily, Alabama has plenty strength of schedule remaining; if they win out they will be a top 4 team.

The committee has contradicted itself a couple times in their first rankings. They made a clear point to not overreact to the moment with Ole Miss, who lost to LSU. They then overreacted to TCU’s 82 points against Texas Tech. TCU is ranked 7th. They only have been defeated once, to Baylor who is ranked 6 spots lower. The huge contradiction is that Ole Miss is way ahead of Alabama because of head to head results while TCU is way ahead of Baylor.

My next complaint is that Notre Dame surely gets a lot of love for doing a whole lot of nothing. The Fighting Irish have one signature win, against Stanford. Stanford now has 3 losses. Their real accomplishment was looking good enough against Florida State to hide their incredibly soft schedule. There is no team in the entire country that would get this much credit for beating Michigan, Purdue and Rice. They barely scraped by UNC giving up 43 points in the process. In my personal rankings (as meaningless as they might be) Notre Dame is ranked 18th.

There is a lot that is great about the Playoff Rankings. 3 of the 4 playoff seeds are currently held by SEC West teams. This is a good thing because the SEC, more specifically the SEC West is a cut above every other conference. In my opinion the 4 best teams are from the SEC West. The committee did not worry about over including the SEC; they put who they thought to be the best teams in the 4 spots. Its also great that 1 loss does not eliminate a team from contention.

At the end of the day the committee did a decent job so far. Its important to remember that their work is far from over as there are games into December. The committee is in the ballpark of being right and the rankings will correct themselves if the best teams win.

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