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How The CFB Playoff Committee Is Stacking The Deck Against The Big 12

It’s not a conspiracy theory if everyone can see it happening before our eyes.

A detail view of the College Football Playoff logo - Getty Images - Tom Pennington

How The CFB Playoff Committee Is Stacking The Deck Against The Big 12

You’ve seen them, you’ve complained about them, and you’ve contemplated homicide as a result. The College Football Playoff Committee released their rankings Tuesday night to little, or no, fanfare other than from SEC and Big 10 country. Yes, the Big 12 was snubbed again.

Undefeated Oklahoma State was left out of the top four for the likes of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame who have only one loss. The Sooners, fresh off their dominant win in Waco against the Baylor Bears were able to make the biggest jump for the conference to seventh, but were not able to break into the top four like many predicted.

The SEC, Big 10, and Notre Dame seem to have the clearest path into the final four while the remaining teams and conferences are hoping to win-out, and pray for chaos. Why does everyone else have to pray for chaos though?

The Committee has made its plan clear. Set up traps for the Big 12, while simultaneously perpetuating the myth that their top four (and Iowa) have great resumes. Please, don’t bother busting out the tinfoil or start picturing the committee as reptilian alien overlords from beyond the moon, the proof is there.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen my thoughts on this prior. Thankfully, LandGrant Gauntlet grants us a much higher character limit. So here we go.


Ah yes, the smart guys out in crazy Palo Alto, California. With the Cardinal you get that slow, not so flashy offense and defensive prowess that the Committee is crushing on harder than a 13-year-old girl staring at a Justin Beiber poster.

Last week, they were sitting pretty at eighth and had visions of winning the Pac-12 and vaulting into the playoffs. Donald Duck and friends had other plans though.

Stanford lost, at home mind you (this is important later), to an average Oregon team. An Oregon team that has started to play better of late, but still well below their recent success. Losing at home to an unranked 6-3 squad this late in the year, while already having a loss, should be the final nail in the coffin of any playoff hopes, right?

Apparently not. Stanford dropped a whopping three spots from eighth to eleventh. What?!?! Why?!?! How!??! When?!?! What?!?!

Its simple. Notre Dame needs that big win at the end of the year to justify their ranking and keep them at arm’s length from the Big 12 champion. Also, as an extreme fail-safe, it sets up an 11-2 Pac-12 champion, that plays Stanford’s style, to trump a chaotic Big 12 champion, if that team has two losses.

Texas Christian

Here’s where the real fun begins. TCU, coming off a sloppy performance in which their star quarterback, Trevone Boykin, was hurt with an ankle injury, dropped like a rock to 18. After a win! This is not only terrible for the purple frogs, but for their future competition.

The Committee felt that the sloppy win against Kansas, coming off a thrashing in Stillwater in which they lost their Biletnikoff-caliber receiver Josh Doctson (now out for the year), was grounds to drop them three spots in the rankings. The same number of spots Stanford dropped after picking up their second loss.

Looking ahead to this weekend, if Oklahoma takes care of business in Norman, it will all but drop TCU from the rankings. And take away any credit for beating them for the Sooners and Oklahoma State. Furthermore, climbing from 18 into the top four is all but impossible should they manage to win out, and win the conference.

Basically the Committee is saying, ‘TCU is a Big 12 team, and when they finally played their first big opponent, they lost. So they are now an average team.” Okay…


Why are they here? Oh yes! Coach McKhakis.

It’s certainly not because of their record. The two best teams on their schedule, Utah and Michigan State, the Wolverines lost to. They do have some wins though. They went on to beat football powerhouses like Indiana (in double overtime), Rutgers, and Oregon State. Yes, that is most certainly deserving of a near top-ten ranking. Although, beating Indiana is apparently a really good win, just ask Iowa.

Sarcasm aside, why are they here? To justify Ohio State’s ranking and body of work when the Buckeyes beat them of course. Or, if a miracle occurs and the Wolverines pull the upset, then Michigan could spoil everything for the Big 12 by pole vaulting over the rest of the top-ten, which you totally shouldn’t try to perform in khakis.


I’m not big on bashing a service academy, but my dad was in the Air Force so Ill proceed to do just that.

Navy is currently Notre Dame’s biggest win. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. The Fighting Irish have beaten Temple, a USC with an interim-coach, and the Naval Academy. That’s their claim to fame. Well, unless you count beating up on the hapless Horns as well.

Navy, on the other hand, has beaten a who’s-who of nobodies aside from Memphis – who was undefeated at the time, but everyone in the college football cosmos was unwilling to anoint Memphis as some great team. But now, since Navy beat them, and has only lost to Notre Dame, that Memphis win all the sudden becomes a “great” win over a “great” team. Hmm…

To be frank, Notre Dame has to have a great win against a highly ranked opponent, because remember, the Irish’s best win is a two-point loss to Clemson.

Ole Miss

No, no. I don’t even want to touch this one. Okay, I’ll do it.

Mississippi jumped back into the rankings at 22 this week after a bye, following the loss to Arkansas…

‘Wait, Arkansas beat LSU, this four loss team is better than we thought. Quick, put Ole Miss back into the rankings!’ – CFB Playoff committee, probably.

Alabama still needs a good loss AT HOME!


*exhales* “Bama had a great win on a neutral site in the first week of the year against a solid Badger squad.”


Also, Iowa desperately needs that second top 25 win to stay ahead of Oklahoma State.


The Big 12 appears to be set up to fail. Realistically there is still a great chance for Oklahoma State or Oklahoma to make it into the final four, if one is able to take care of business. Yet the sheer nail-biting that will occur is more than a little disturbing. The Big 12 is a conference with a ton of talent, a lot of pride, and great programs. The Committee appears to disagree with this based on their penchant for slow, low-scoring affairs made popular by pre-tear-away-jersey football. There are traps everywhere for the Big 12, and nothing but wide open, green pastures for the competition. Strap in football fans, it could get ugly.


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