Roundtable: Breaking down a fourth College Football Playoff rankings

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The fourth book of a College Football Playoff rankings were denounced Tuesday evening, so SI.com dispatched 3 of a experts — Martin Rickman, Colin Becht and Gabriel Baumgaertner — to plead a tip 4 and a unavoidable gibberish that accompanies a playoff decision.

Colin Becht: We knew we’d have change in a College Football Playoff tip 4 with Alabama’s win over Mississippi State. Some of a biggest questions streamer into this week’s rankings endangered how high a Crimson Tide would arise and how distant a Bulldogs would fall. Both teams can be comparatively confident with a preference committee’s answers on Tuesday night as Alabama climbed to No. 1 and Mississippi State usually forsaken to No. 4. Wins over Vanderbilt this week and Ole Miss in Week 14 would expected send a Bulldogs into a playoff. Oregon during No. 2 and Florida State during No. 3 lifeless out a committee’s tip four.

Ohio State also rose in a rankings for a second true week after a Buckeyes survived a snowstorm in Minnesota to kick a Golden Gophers 31-24. Urban Meyer’s organisation leapfrogged Baylor while a Bears were on a bye week to urge to No. 6. TCU, final week’s No. 4 team, fell behind a mark with Alabama’s arise nonetheless still confirmed a corner over Baylor, notwithstanding a Bears’ 61-58 feat over a Horned Frogs.

Martin, we saw a lot of shifts in this week’s rankings, both nearby a tip and among a teams usually fighting to stay in a tip 25. What astounded we a most?

• ELLIS: Alabama takes over a tip mark in a new playoff rankings

Martin Rickman: I consider I’m many astounded that Marshall is still unranked. Look, we know that a cabinet is punishing Marshall for a schedule. That’s fine. But they’re undefeated. At some indicate we have to prerogative wins rather than losses. Minnesota didn’t dump a mark notwithstanding losing to Ohio State. Clemson stayed in a tip 25 after losing to Georgia Tech. Auburn stayed in a tip 15 after removing stomped by Georgia. It’s roughly as if a cabinet feels like a detriment is improved than a win during this indicate given it justifies your strength of report somehow. “Look we played a good team, that group wouldn’t be good if we had beaten them.” 

That’s a same problem plaguing Florida State during this indicate too. If a ‘Noles had mislaid to Louisville or Clemson, afterwards Louisville or Clemson would be ranked aloft and a Seminoles could contend they mislaid to a “pretty good football team” like each other group in college football (except a Thundering Herd). There has to be some magnitude of motive that says a win is important. I’m not observant Florida State’s report is a gauntlet, nonetheless a ‘Noles haven’t lost. They keep winning. If you’re going to discuss a suspicion of ‘game control’ (which isn’t a thing in a initial place), we should acknowledge that there are dual undefeated teams left and both are substantially being disrespected.

What about you, Gabriel? Are we confident with a rankings as a whole? Would an Alabama-Mississippi State, Oregon-Florida State semifinal joint if a deteriorate finished now get we excited?

Gabriel Baumgaertner: After final week’s comparatively lifeless affair, we don’t know that I’d wish to watch Mississippi State and Alabama again, nonetheless Marcus Mariota vs. Jameis Winston? I’ll take two!

One has to start feeling for Baylor during this point, right? The Bears hardly got a graduation when they thrashed a preseason playoff favorite in Oklahoma, and they can’t burst a group (TCU) that they kick in a head-to-head matchup. Now, they lay next Ohio State, a group that mislaid to a Virginia Tech group that competence not be bowl-eligible by a finish of a year. The evidence opposite Baylor adult to this indicate has been non-conference schedule, nonetheless Art Briles and co. seem to be pang from their whole schedule. This is where, **conspiracy alert**, we suspicion of Andy Staples’ style bias argument from dual weeks ago. Alabama didn’t have that marquee win until it kick Mississippi State final week, now it’s ranked No. 1 even nonetheless Oregon has degraded 3 teams in a CFP tip 25. Baylor keeps drifting past a opponents, nonetheless it’s (somehow) turn an supposed evidence that “you can’t infer it would have kick TCU on a neutral field,” and a cabinet has simplified they have no skeleton to put them in, or anywhere near, a tip four. Baylor’s win over a Horned Frogs is, unquestionably, a many undervalued win of any vital feat among a tip 8 teams.

• RICKMAN: Bama rises, Miss. State falls in this week’s Power Rankings

I’ve prolonged been a Briles/Baylor skeptic, nonetheless a diseased non-conference report has turn a defining reason to not pierce it adult in a standings. Every other group in a tip 8 has perceived some advantage of a doubt. There is probably no speak of how terrible Mississippi State’s non-conference report is (Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama, Tennessee Martin), nonetheless it’s in a tip 4 given it has a best detriment (Alabama) notwithstanding being dominated for about 55 minutes. Baylor has shown zero nonetheless alleviation given a detriment to West Virginia, and a cabinet doesn’t wish to pierce them. Perhaps a Bears will get that probability when they play Kansas State.

Colin, am we a usually one who thinks Baylor is suffering? No rankings matter until they’re final, nonetheless what can it do to even spot a tip 4 during this point?

CBI determine that it’s tough to suppose because a cabinet would arrange Ohio State forward of Baylor, nonetheless we do still trust TCU deserves to sojourn forward of a Bears for now. With a Buckeyes, it’s tough to clear their seeding. Given a debility of a Big Ten, Ohio State’s strength of report is usually marginally improved than Baylor’s, and a detriment to Virginia Tech during home is many worse than a Bears’ improved to West Virginia in Morgantown. Both teams have dual wins over a stream Top 25 — nonetheless how Minnesota could equivocate descending during all notwithstanding a home detriment to Ohio State is baffling. Selection cabinet chair Jeff Long pronounced he was tender by a Buckeyes’ dual vicious discussion highway wins over Michigan State and a Gophers, nonetheless what about a Bears’ 48-14 drubbing of Oklahoma in Norman?

As for a Baylor-TCU debate, a Horned Frogs’ altogether physique of work is still amply stronger than a Bears’ that a slight domain of Baylor’s feat during home doesn’t cut it for me. Even if Minnesota doesn’t merit a tip 25 ranking, it’s still a lot improved than SMU, Northwestern State or Buffalo. That said, if we strech a finish of a unchanging deteriorate and Baylor still hasn’t surpassed TCU, I’d be stunned. In games opposite scarcely each common competition solely West Virginia, a Bears won some-more convincingly than a Horned Frogs did, with Kansas as a latest and many vivid example. If Baylor beats Kansas State emphatically in Week 15, it deserves to during slightest be a best of this contingent of one-loss teams now usually outward a tip four. But either any of these teams finishes fifth contra sixth or seventh won’t matter many to them. It’ll take a detriment to one of a tip 4 teams for any of these 3 teams to make a playoff.

It hasn’t turn a indicate of debate yet, nonetheless as some-more one-loss teams fall, a suspicion of a two-loss group creation a playoff shifts from prolonged shot to picturesque possibility. Based on a No. 8 ranking, Ole Miss would seem to be favorite of a two-loss teams. we competence have even ranked a Rebels over Ohio State given their improved strength of report and win over Alabama. Martin, formed on what we’ve seen from a cabinet so far, could a two-loss group make a playoff? Or would that usually occur in some crazy canon unfolding in that there aren’t 4 one- or zero-loss squads?

MR: It’s really probable during this point, and a many expected consider is going to come from a SEC. Here’s a unfolding we can’t get out of my conduct — Georgia finds a approach to win a SEC East (with a Missouri detriment to Tennessee or Arkansas) and also grabs that win over Georgia Tech. Then a two-loss Georgia group beats Alabama in a SEC championship. The Bulldogs would be in for sure, right? But their dual waste are to Florida and South Carolina. But they also kick Auburn and Alabama in a year in that a SEC West is deliberate a toughest multiplication in college football. And not to discuss their non-conference wins over Georgia Tech and Clemson. 

Or let’s contend UCLA wins out, plays Oregon again in a Pac-12 pretension diversion and beats a Ducks in turn two. Is that adequate to pull a Bruins over one of a one-loss triumvirate of Baylor, TCU or Ohio State? What if Mississippi State stays out there with one detriment too? 

• ELLIS: Bowl Projections: Can Ohio State make a playoff?

We knew we wouldn’t have many undefeated teams. Now that we have all these one-loss teams left with usually a integrate weeks remaining, it’s tough to prognosticate mixed two-loss contenders unless all kinds of disasters struck. we still consider once we get out of that tip 10, everybody else is out of luck. If a cut line is Ole Miss (with waste to LSU and Bama), UCLA (with waste to Oregon and Utah) and Georgia, there’s not a whole lot of subdivision there. 

To me it would take dual of TCU losing to Texas, Baylor losing to Kansas State, Florida State losing to Boston College or Florida, Alabama losing to Auburn (or a SEC pretension game), Mississippi State losing to Ole Miss or Ohio State losing a Big Ten championship to pull a two-loss group in. Seems like accurately a arrange of thing that is usually improbable adequate to make it 100 percent likely. Thanks, college football. 

Am we off bottom here? Are there any other uncanny situations I’m missing, Gabriel?

GB: I’m looking for other examples and am entrance adult … well, empty. we adore a indicate that we make about Georgia, Martin. As a usually staff member boneheaded adequate to collect a Bulldogs to win a inhabitant pretension (who could have seen a Todd Gurley designation cessation entrance anyway?), they could benefaction a cabinet with a many challenging plea if they win out. Even if Ohio State finishes a deteriorate with one loss, can we leave a group out that could finish a deteriorate with wins over 4 of a tip 25? Some competence say: “They mislaid to Florida.” And we don’t know if we have a quip to that. I’m not hostile of Jeff Long and friends. Reading by those scenarios done my conduct spin.

To some, it competence feel like this deteriorate has flown by, nonetheless usually demeanour during UCLA’s trail this deteriorate and one realizes how fast fortunes can change. The Bruins went from a preseason playoff contender to midseason bust to No. 9 in a playoff rankings with usually dual regular-season games to go. Quarterback Brett Hundley won’t be in Heisman care like many suspicion he would, nonetheless UCLA managed to hang around a review all deteriorate by violence each group that it should kick (even if a wins opposite Virginia, Memphis, Cal and Colorado were distant too close), logging dual peculiarity wins (Arizona, Arizona State) and losing to ranked teams (Oregon, Utah). It’s a ideal two-loss resume if Martin’s baleful unfolding takes hold. If a Bruins acquire a Pac-12 pretension berth and afterwards kick Oregon, they’ll be looking for a chair during a list as well. 

UCLA, a intensity playoff team? Would we have likely that in October?

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