SQ College Football Playoff Panel: Did The College Football Playoff Selection Committee Get It Right?
It took until Week 10, but the first rankings that actually matter are finally in. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee released its first top 25 rankings of 2015 yesterday (Tuesday), and there were quite a few surprises to say the least. We know you have questions about the rankings, and we're here to discuss the issues at hand. So here's our reaction to the initial rankings.
Who was the biggest snub to not be included in the top four?
Brian Peel: For me, it has to be TCU. The Horned Frogs have looked great the past few weeks after struggling a little bit early in the season and maybe, just maybe, their defense is starting to figure things out. The truth is, TCU will almost certainly make a CFP appearance if they win out considering in their final four games they play three teams ranked 15th or higher, including road games against the two Oklahoma schools and closing out the season against a Baylor team knocking on the top four as well. The fact TCU is ranked 8th currently is rather shocking. Come on people, do we really want to keep Trevone Boykin out of the Playoff?
Sean Berger: Baylor has to be the biggest snub. While Brian brings up a great argument for TCU, Baylor should be the team that feels the most jaded. The Bears have done everything asked of them and then more. They far and away lead the nation in scoring offense (61.1 points per game), total offense (686.1 yards per game) and plays from scrimmage of more than 30 yards (39). Although the team's strength of schedule is lacking, there is no question that Baylor has dominated its competition.
Is there a team you felt should’ve been ranked higher or lower?
Brian: Besides TCU being higher, I would have Michigan State above Baylor and Oklahoma State at least a few spots above their current No. 14 ranking considering they are undefeated. Michigan State has simply played a better schedule than Baylor and I’m personally not someone who puts a ton of stock in margin of victory because I feel the way teams run their offenses often dictates how a badly a game can get out of hand. The Spartans have had several close games this year, but they don’t run an up-tempo, spread attack that can often lead to blowouts like you have seen in Baylor’s games this year.
Clemson at the No. 1 doesn’t feel right to me as I just don’t see the ACC as a quality conference this year and Alabama being No. 4 despite the loss means the committee is still convinced the SEC is the best conference in the country.
Sean: I definitely feel like the three undefeated teams from the Big 12 (Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State) all deserved to be ranked higher. I already gave my reasoning for Baylor above while Brian stated his case for TCU. Additionally, Oklahoma State really should be higher than 14th. If the Committee is truly basing their rankings on each team's recent performance then how is Oklahoma State not at least in the top 12? I get that's not a big jump, but after scoring 128 total points in your past two games, that's better than what most teams are doing in a three or four game stretch.
However, the team that I really think deserves to be ranked higher is Houston. Coming in at No. 25 in the initial poll, the Cougars are worthy of being in the top 20, or maybe even the top 15 with the way they've played this season. Tom Herman has turned this team around and has them dominating everyone that gets in their way. If Memphis is ranked 13th, then there's no way that Houston should be ranked this low.
Do you think the committee got the rankings right?
Brian: The Committee got three of the four teams right; Alabama probably shouldn’t be in the top three with their one loss coming to an Ole Miss team that hasn’t looked great this year. Of course, the fact that both Alabama and LSU are in the top four right now means a spot will open up, considering the two are playing essentially an elimination game this weekend. It will be very tough for the loser of that game to climb back into the top four with the competition in the country this year.
Sean: I mostly fall in line with Brian. I find it hard to place Alabama in the same company with Clemson, LSU and Ohio State right now after losing to Ole Miss earlier in the season. Overall though, I feel like the Committee did a decent job given the way that teams have performed this season. The AP Poll and Coaches Poll didn't really agree with each other so why should the College Football Playoff ranking be any different? You could make a case as to why each of these teams should be ranked in the top four, but you could also argue why each shouldn't be.
Do you think the top four will be the final four that play in the College Football Playoff?
Brian: Clemson has the easiest road of the current top four and I don’t see anyone knocking them off, especially if they get past Florida State on Saturday. Ohio State has a couple of difficult matchups left on their schedule including Michigan State, Michigan, and potentially an undefeated Iowa team in the Big Ten Championship but their is no doubt they will be favored in all three of those games.
Given that they play each other this weekend, the loser of Alabama-LSU will probably not make the CFP which likely leaves one spot open for either Notre Dame, Baylor, or TCU. Who knows though, it is college football after all and everything can change on just one Saturday.
Sean: As we saw in 2014, only one team that was ranked in the initial top four made it to the College Football Playoff, and that was Florida State. The others that eventually made the Playoff (Oregon, Alabama and Ohio State) were ranked outside and had to climb in later on in the season. So, I think it's safe to say that these rankings will definitely change.
Clemson has a tough bout against Florida State on Saturday as well; don't be too surprised if you don't see either of these teams in the top four by the time the final rankings are revealed.