After a smooth couple of weeks for the College Football Playoff Committee in which most pundits largely agreed with the committee’s rankings, they threw their first curveball of the season that has people scratching their heads. It also appears that the committee has gotten back to disregarding the Big 12.
The Sooners moved up just one spot to number four, which is good, but they were jumped by Miami despite beating #11 Oklahoma State in Stillwater and dominating #6 TCU at home in consecutive weeks. It also seems as if the committee has forgotten that Oklahoma dominated Ohio State in Columbus giving the Sooners three wins over top 13 teams in this week’s rankings.
Alabama moved up to the top spot as most people expected, but the rankings quickly turn a puzzling turn as Clemson moved up to the number 2 spot followed by Miami and Oklahoma. Wisconsin manged to rise to number 5 with their 67th ranked strength of schedule (SOS), and Auburn reached the six position after their impressive victory of Georgia. To the committee’s credit, they dropped Georgia six spots to number seven and behind two-loss Auburn. The top 10 was capped off with Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State.
Clemson moving up to two is definitely the shock of the night. They have not been playing well of late, and the committee is essentially giving them a pass for losing at below .500 Syracuse because their quarterback was injured entering the game and eventually exited while they were already losing. Check out this comment from committee chairman and Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt during a conference call after the rankings were released.
Very interesting comments by Kirby Hocutt on conference call.
Said Oklahoma isn't higher b/c of Iowa State loss.
Then said committee factors in Kelly Bryant's injury when factoring in Clemson's loss to Syracuse.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 15, 2017
This is absolutely maddening. Iowa State debuted at number 15 in this committee’s rankings, and now they are dragging down Oklahoma’s resume because they lost by four at West Virginia and by seven at the last minute to Oklahoma State? Again, Syracuse has a losing record. It was noted that Clemson has the most wins over teams with a winning record with six; however, how many of those are impressive wins? Their top three wins are over #6 Auburn, #19 NC State and now unranked Virginia Tech. Compare that to Oklahoma’s top three wins mentioned earlier.
The Sooners undoubtedly have the best offense in the country, and they showed last weekend that they can put points on anybody when they scored 38 points in the first half on a top 10 defense in all of college football. The committee clearly favors teams that play great defense, but they ignore their weakness on offense. The national narrative of Oklahoma not being a championship contender because of their defense had died off this week after the TCU game, but apparently the committee is still not on board.
It is alarming for Oklahoma and the Big 12 that the Sooners have not been given more respect after two of their most marquee victories in consecutive weeks. The trend of the committee once again disrespecting the league continued with fellow Big 12 schools TCU and Oklahoma State being named at numbers 12 and 13, respectively, which puts them behind five other two-loss teams. And finally, we knew Iowa State would fall from the rankings after their second straight tough loss, but it was shocking not to see the Mountaineers make it back into the rankings after winning at Kansas State. To make the slap in the face sting a little more, Boise State got the nod over West Virginia. Boise State has only played two Power 5 schools, and they have lost to both of them.
The other trend that reared its ugly head again was the over ranking of Big Ten teams. Ohio State and Penn State have strength of record (SOR) rankings of 15 and 14, respectively, yet are ranked 9 and 10 in the CFP rankings, and Ohio State has the higher SOS at 35. For comparison, Oklahoma State has a SOR of 10 and SOS of 12 while TCU sports a SOR of 11 and SOS of 29.
If there is a bright side to this story, hopefully these rankings put a chip on the Sooners’ shoulders and provides the motivation to not have a let down the last couple weeks.
Week 12 CFB Playoff Rankings
- Notre Dame
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Oklahoma State
- Washington State
- Mississippi State
- Michigan State
- NC State
- Boise State