Roundtable: Breaking down a third College Football Playoff rankings

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With a third spin of a College Football Playoff rankings introduced Tuesday evening, SI.com consulted 3 of a experts — Andy Staples, Zac Ellis and Gabriel Baumgaertner — to consider a tip four, a destiny implications and a gibberish that fundamentally accompanies a playoff committee’s decision.

Zac Ellis: We saw a integrate of extraordinary changes in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings. While Mississippi State remained during No. 1, one-loss Oregon jumped Florida State for a No. 2 spot. The ‘Noles forsaken to No. 3 and TCU changed into a No. 4 mark as a new top-four group after Auburn’s loss. That’s a TCU team, mind you, that mislaid to No. 7 Baylor progressing this season.

What stood out to we a many this week, Andy? Was it Oregon’s rise? Was it a TCU-Baylor conundrum? Or was it something else?

• RICKMAN: TCU, Oregon make jumps in this week’s playoff rankings

Andy StaplesI’m still sincerely nonplussed that TCU would be ranked brazen of Baylor notwithstanding Baylor’s head-to-head win. I’d know ignoring head-to-head if they had radically opposite resumes, though they don’t. Baylor mislaid during West Virginia. TCU hardly survived Morgantown. TCU squeaked by Oklahoma in Fort Worth. Baylor blew out Oklahoma in Norman. The final means during a impulse seems to be TCU’s win Saturday opposite Kansas State and a Sept. 13 win opposite Minnesota, that is now 7-2 though has Ohio State, during Nebraska and during Wisconsin left and could simply finish 7-5. That’s still improved than anything in Baylor’s pitiable non-conference report and if a cabinet intends to retaliate that choice, we could substantially live with that. But we still consider head-to-head should be a ultimate judge for teams with identical resumes. If Baylor and TCU any go 11-1, their resumes expected will demeanour unequivocally similar. And we wouldn’t be repelled if they flipped places in late Nov or early Dec as a resumes start to demeanour some-more and some-more alike.

It would make things easier if one of those teams would lose, though I’m not certain that’s happening. Baylor gets Kansas State during home on Dec. 6, and Bill Snyder should never be counted out. TCU’s trickiest diversion is that Thanksgiving revisit to Texas. The Longhorns demeanour like a opposite group of late, so maybe they give a Horned Frogs a game. Here’s a fun fact should it come down to 11-1 TCU and 11-1 Baylor. In 2008, Art Briles ranked 11-1 Oklahoma No. 1 on his final coaches check ballot. Briles ranked 11-1 Texas, that kick Oklahoma by 10 on a neutral field, during No. 5. Of course, there was an 11-1 Texas Tech group — that Briles ranked No. 6 — complicating matters in a Big 12 South, though that creates it tough for Briles to disagree a virtue of a head-to-head outcome should it come to that. we substantially still will disagree it, since I’m flattering certain we stayed unchanging on head-to-head by 5 years of Power Rankings. Although if we wasn’t during any point, it’ll get dug up.

The other bauble was Oregon jumping Florida State. While Oregon’s win during Utah was impressive, a waste of core Hroniss Grasu and parsimonious finish Pharaoh Brown are discouraging going forward. Of course, a Seminoles are carrying difficulty staying healthy as well. Gabriel, what astounded we tonight? 

Gabriel BaumgaertnerI’m typically not one for Grassy Knoll theories or InfoWars, though we can’t utterly grasp a logic for fixation TCU brazen of Alabama other than perplexing to drum adult a small some-more play for a Crimson Tide’s diversion opposite Mississippi State. Until these rankings are final (just like all rankings, really), it doesn’t matter that Alabama landed during No. 5. Its report is bottom-heavy with games that will eventually establish a predestine (Mississippi State, Auburn, maybe a SEC championship game), so a Tide are one of a few teams remaining whose participation in a tip 4 will possibly be guaranteed or denied by a formula of dual of their final 3 games. Beat Mississippi State? In. Lose to Mississippi State? Out (with a possibility to get behind in). Whether it’s designed or not, a cabinet has combined an additional account for this weekend’s game.

• RICKMAN: Who takes a tip mark in this week’s Power Rankings? 

To piggyback off of Andy’s progressing point, a tenure ‘body of work’ keeps reappearing, though how accurate is that? The closer one examines this week’s rankings, a some-more it feels like last week’s performance is a final means in where a group lands in this week’s rankings. Why else would Oregon burst Florida State? Oregon took out a buzzsaw in a fourth entertain to idle Utah while Florida State cobbled together a messy win opposite intermediate Virginia. For serve evidence, see Andy’s box for ranking TCU brazen of Alabama (and for that matter, Baylor). Perhaps this is a committee’s try to stress strength of report above all (i.e. a one-loss Power Five group can be improved than undefeated one), though it feels some-more like this was a outcome of a cloudy ‘eye test,’ that isn’t a many pure approach to class teams.

Zac, have we veered too distant off course? Am we a usually one who thinks a ‘eye test’ might be personification a bigger purpose than a cabinet is vouchsafing on?


Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

ZE: I indeed took TCU’s burst into a tip 4 as a pointer of a significance of physique of work. Both a Horned Frogs and a Crimson Tide now exaggerate dual wins over tip 25 teams. But if we’re meant to conclude these rankings as a stream college football landscape, afterwards that means a cabinet might’ve deliberate dual things: First, TCU kick West Virginia (albeit in a parsimonious game) in Morgantown, that is a worse pull than Alabama’s neutral-site win over a Mountaineers in Atlanta. Second, a cabinet contingency perspective a Horned Frogs’ detriment to Baylor some-more agreeably than a Tide’s detriment to Ole Miss. The Bears are now ranked seventh, while a Rebels are 10th. So in a committee’s stream viewpoint, Baylor is a improved group than Ole Miss, right?

These rankings paint how good teams are right now. At a finish of a season, if both Alabama and TCU finish with a singular loss, a Crimson Tide should positively burst a Horned Frogs formed on wins still to come. But right now, I’m not certain Bama’s report warrants that. Plus, as we mentioned, if Alabama beats Mississippi State on Saturday, this will all be a indecisive point.

I consider a eye exam came into play some-more for Oregon’s burst to No. 2 than anything else. The Ducks have looked flattering pointy a final integrate of weeks, many recently by stomping Utah on a road. But that one loss, during home, to a then-unranked Arizona group is salt in a wounds of Florida State fans. The ‘Noles are still unbeaten, nonetheless a cabinet changed a one-loss group brazen of them in a rankings? This kind of capricious transformation is what people feared with a preference cabinet that doesn’t have set criteria, though we indeed extol it. That’s because, distinct polls of a past, cabinet members didn’t demeanour during an dominant Florida State group and say, “They didn’t lose, so we can’t hold them.” Why not? A group can positively demeanour worse one week than it did a week before, all while winning. Oregon’s win during Utah wasn’t a initial winning opening by a Ducks. Florida State’s indolent feat over Virginia wasn’t a Seminoles’ initial stumble. Maybe a cabinet thinks this is what these teams are during this juncture.

Gabriel, am we wrong for being fine with that?

GB: Oh, we consider it’s some-more than justified. As a West Coast local who listened to (overstated) cries of SEC/East Coast disposition year after year, it is a small extraordinary to see one-loss Oregon get a strike over an undefeated blue blood like Florida State. The ‘Noles aren’t 2007 South Florida. While suppositious situations don’t pull a review forward, let’s try one out: If you were a cabinet member and we saw Oregon spin a 30-27 fourth-quarter nailbiter into 51-27 blowout, wouldn’t we be prone to preference a Ducks over a Florida State group that hasn’t shown good in roughly a month? It’s a good new fold that a cabinet has presented, though it’s firm to exasperate fanbases. But if we know anything about fanbases, it’s that they are ALWAYS infuriated.

Speaking of topics that annoy West Coast fans, let’s lapse of strength of report for a moment. The SEC West has a excellent thoroughness of teams during a tip of any discussion this deteriorate and a many formidable discussion report in a nation. we emphasized progressing that Alabama has dual infamous games remaining opposite Mississippi State and Auburn, though let’s plead what gets a non-SEC folks grumbling: The fact that a Tide get Western Carolina in a center of those opponents. It’s radically a bye week.

The cabinet is punishing Baylor for personification a soothing non-conference line-up and could bar one-loss Ohio State for losing to an scarcely diseased Virginia Tech, a group that a Buckeyes expected scheduled for a pithy purpose of improving their non-conference schedule. Sure, Alabama played West Virginia to start a year, though should it unequivocally be confronting Western Carolina (the same goes for Ole Miss confronting Presbyterian final week, Mississippi State confronting UT-Martin, Auburn confronting Samford in dual weeks … we get a idea) when many teams outward a discussion are battling discussion foes?

Andy, should a cabinet adjust a notice of strength of report to daunt this kind of scheduling? Should teams risk descending in a rankings if they report soothing in November? Or is this another age-old West Coast evidence fetid of insecurity?

AS: If all other factors are equal, a cabinet should retaliate a group that scheduled some-more creampuffs, period. It doesn’t matter where they put pronounced creampuffs in a schedule. This is a box of a SEC being brazen of a bend and realizing that it improves a radio product if a bodybag games are spaced via a report rather than installed into a initial 4 weeks. Look for a Big Ten to figure this out in 2027. But if a cabinet is usually deliberation a games played and not a ones remaining on a report in these early rankings, afterwards a Nov diversion opposite Northwest Idaho Tech AM State should naturally means a team’s strength of report to drop while other teams are personification tough games. In practice, that’s substantially not going to happen.

No one is interlude teams in other leagues from changing a approach their schedules work. Their fans substantially would conclude some high-stakes joining games in a initial few weeks of a season, anyway. Of course, many of us would conclude good games each week. I’m not assured we’re ever going to see that from many schools.

Let’s face it, unless a cabinet sends a critical summary with a Dec rankings that indeed confirm that teams make a playoff, many teams will continue to play one decent non-conference diversion and fill out a residue of a report with mid-majors and/or FCS opponents. The usually approach they’ll stop is if a cabinet demonstrates that arrange of scheduling hurts a contender’s chances to make a playoff. (Or everybody could stop attending or examination a bad games on TV, though that’s seeking a lot.) The cabinet needs to worry about a fact that teams are scheduling rubbish games, not about when a rubbish games are removing scheduled.

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