Welcome back to the Funvee Tailgate! After my rant about the first CFP rankings ran a little long, I decided to separate my reaction to the poll into its own post. I’ve been getting some great feedback for these posts so please keep letting me know what you think! So without further ado, LET’S FIRE UP THE TAILGATE!
Much More of the Same:
With only Louisville losing last week in terms of contenders, there wasn’t much of a shakeup in the Poll as the Cards drop from #5 to #11 and every team below them last week moved up one spot this week. If last week did tell the committee something, we won’t see the what that is likely until next week’s poll, or even until the week after that. The reasoning is because the poll was effectively grid-locked last week meaning that without a doomsday scenario coming to life, like two weeks ago, there wouldn’t be a reason to blow everything up. If the committee did blow it and move Michigan, who lost QB Wilton Speight, out of the poll, they would have to start doing that for every school. That’s a lot to explain, especially when these situations should fix themselves.
Take Michigan: by now, we’ve all heard what’s going on in the Big Ten East: Michigan beats OSU, they’re in the Big Ten Championship Game. If UM loses and Penn State beats Michigan State, PSU takes the East Crown. If OSU wins and PSU loses, then Ohio State wins the East and makes the Big Ten Championship. No matter what, either Ohio State or Michigan gets knocked out of playoff contention with a second loss. Assuming Wisconsin wins (because the West can ugly if they don’t), you now have Wisconsin vs. a Top 7 team and the loser of the two will be out, obviously. Where the chaos can occur is if OSU and PSU win. Would the Playoff Committee leave OSU out in favor of NOT having two Big Ten teams? Further, say Penn State wins the Big Ten. Would the committee include BOTH Penn State and Ohio State? OR, would they even dare to leave Penn State out?
The Pac 12 is in an interesting spot now. Colorado and Washington only moved up one spot each. Washington looks poised to snag the #4 ranking next week, assuming they win against Washington State. Colorado needs to beat Utah to win the Pac 12 South and have a shot at the Playoff. Washington winning the Pac 12 would further drag out the argument presented above with the Big Ten Champ and Ohio State. While Colorado winning isn’t as strong of a case as Washington, it’ll prove whether or not the committee cares about conference Champs or the best teams in its Playoff.
The way the rankings have treated the members of the Big XII exposes a corner the committee backed themselves into. It somewhat ties itself into the “pricing in” theory I’ve been talking about and that is that the committee doubted Big XII teams. Most of these schools have floated through the teens in the first three rankings. Now that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have entered the Top 10, it brings up the question: where will they go? It’s hard to think that either team will make the playoff considering Oklahoma could go 9-0 in conference play but get absolutely SMACKED by the #2 team in the conference earlier this year and a now CFP ranked Houston squad. Houston beating Louisville is the best thing going for OU right now and it could cause some excitement leading into the OU/OkState game next Saturday.
What’s kind of ridiculous about the rankings that I haven’t talked about in these posts is the ranking of Western Michigan. Not only did WMU remain at 21st for the third-straight week, but they didn’t move from #14 in the AP poll either! I’m not saying they should be in the playoff, or even the Top 10, but you could move them up ONE spot. Interestingly enough, the criteria regarding non-power five teams making the non-playoff New Years Six Bowls (formerly the BCS bowls) has the highest ranked team getting an automatic bid to these bowls. Right now that team is #19 Boise State although I couldn’t imagine the committee would leave an unbeaten WMU out of one of these highly regarded Bowls.
While this week’s poll didn’t shake up too much, it did let the tension build for this week. We as fans have been throwing around theories since the season began and between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd polls we were able to see some of the theories come to light. Not being able to see that this week builds the anticipation for not only all of this week’s rivalry action, but looking ahead to Championship Week as well. Right now, we’re just waiting for the dominoes to fall…