Gut Reactions to The Second Set of College Football Rankings

By Eric Seger on November 8, 2016 at 8:19 pm
Gut reactions to the second set of College Football Playoff rankings.

Here we are once again—time to get with our online buddies and talk meaningless college football polls.

Not a whole lot changed this week (at least in terms of the way the College Football Playoff committee views things) but Ohio State did move up one spot to No. 5 in Tuesday's slate of rankings after owning Nebraska 62-3 at home and Texas A&M's loss to Mississippi State.

But wait! The Aggies didn't fall too far. More on that in a bit.

Here are five gut reactions to the second set of rankings.

Four Big Ten Teams Are Fighting for One Spot

The committee slotted four Big Ten teams—No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 10 Penn State—in the top-10 on Tuesday night. The Badgers and Nittany Lions both have two losses but could very easily play their way into the College Football Playoff should they win out and get some help.

Wisconsin is in a better spot than the Nittany Lions, however, because it plays in the Big Ten West. Should the Badgers win out then beat an unbeaten Michigan or 1-loss Ohio State in the conference title game they would have a very strong argument to make the Playoff. Penn State needs some major assistance to even get to Indianapolis (shout out to Pitt!)

But as it looks right now, the Big Ten has the best percentage to get a team to the College Football Playoff. Could two go, should Ohio State narrowly beat Michigan at home at the end of the month? Why not? It is unprecedented in the short history of the Playoff but if the committee feels the Wolverines and Buckeyes are two of the best teams available they could put them in the final four.

Please Stop With Texas A&M

This might be because I am likely never going to be sold on Kevin Sumlin as a head coach but I found it extremely comical his Aggies only fell to No. 8 on Tuesday after losing to Mississippi State. I realize quarterback Trevor Knight, their best player, got hurt in that game but it continues to show how a loss to Alabama basically is looked at as a victory.

Playoff committee head Kirby Hocutt said the difference between putting Texas A&M at No. 4 last week and not doing the same for Ohio State this week as a 1-loss team is because the Aggies lost to the No. 1 Tide and the Buckeyes fell to No. 10 Penn State. I understand that but don't see a reason the Aggies should still be a top-10 team after losing to a .500 football team.

Like, seriously—is Sumlin on the committee?

Knight is out for the season with a shoulder injury so this likely will all work itself out in the end. And I suppose the committee couldn't justify ranking Auburn (who lost to the Aggies) Penn State or any other 2-loss team ahead of Texas A&M.

But its No. 8 ranking shows that Texas A&M got credit for losing by 19 at Alabama while Ohio State got punished for losing by 3 at Penn State at night. Not feeling that.

Oklahoma's Move=Massive Plus For Ohio State

When it's all said and done, I think Oklahoma could easily be looked at as the nation's best 2-loss team if Wisconsin loses again. Both of those teams lost to Ohio State and another top team (Michigan for the Badgers, then-No. 15 Houston for the Sooners). Houston's tumble hurts Oklahoma but if the committee looks at the teams and where the opponents are ranked when games are played, it shouldn't matter.

Because Oklahoma moved up to No. 11 on Tuesday, that gives Ohio State two wins over teams in the top-11 with a chance to grab another against Michigan at the end of the season. Only the Wolverines can say they have a better resume in the Big Ten right now because they also have two wins over top-11 teams and are unbeaten. However, the Buckeyes beat Oklahoma and Wisconsin on the road. Michigan beat Penn State and Wisconsin at home and the only time it left its home state this season to date is to whip Rutgers.

So even though Oklahoma escaped Ames, Iowa, and the Iowa State Cyclones last Thursday, the fact it moved up is big, positive news for Ohio State. Should the Sooners win out, they will easily be in the top-10—maybe even higher. Great for Ohio State's chances at the Playoff.

Let's Talk Chaos

OK so what if Michigan loses this weekend at Iowa and then at Ohio State. Penn State would get the nod as Big Ten East champ provided it wins out. If the Nittany Lions win the conference championship game against another top-10 team (like Wisconsin) where does that put Louisville?

The Cardinals are likely going to win out but not get a chance to win the ACC since they lost to Clemson. The Tigers should go undefeated and are fortunate to be on the same side of the conference as Louisville so as to not have to meet them again in the ACC Championship Game.

So if that scenario above happens, you would have a 2-loss Big Ten Champion, a 1-loss Ohio State, 1-loss Louisville, undefeated Alabama, unbeaten Clemson and unbeaten Washington. Who would you put at No. 4?

It'd be hard for the committee to pick Ohio State or Louisville over Penn State because neither of those teams won their conference. But then again—all of this is hypothetical.

Above all, it is best to be lucky and good.

Keep Rowing The Boat!

Western Michigan is playing Kent State on Tuesday night and at the time of this post losing by 14 to the Golden Flashes. P.J. Fleck has some serious work to do to keep his team unbeaten.

It would be fun to see the Broncos win out and I still like their chances. What if—and this is a major if because I give Auburn about a 2 percent chance of beating Alabama—Western Michigan is the lone undefeated team in the country before bowl season? It would be interesting to see how high the committee would rank it.

The Broncos are very good and have some big wins this season against Big Ten schools. Also: remember when Ohio State fans got upset the Buckeyes *only* beat them by 26 last season? I do. Good times.

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