Rhett’s Rankings Review – Week 13

The college football playoff committee released a fresh set of rankings this week. We have a new number one team, and we also have new set of explanations offered Jeff Long, chairman of the playoff selection committee.

Alabama Claims the Top Spot: Alabama was ranked fifth last week, but after beating then number one Mississippi State at home, the committee decided to move the Tide ahead of both Oregon and Florida State. That’s a pretty big leap. Some saw it coming. I somewhat expected Alabama to leap Florida State. The committee hasn’t liked Florida State from the beginning, even though the defending champs remain undefeated and beat a tough Miami team on Saturday. But I didn’t expect the Tide to jump past Oregon.

Jeff Long, Playoff Committee Chairman, Explains: “We feel like Alabama is the most complete team right now,” said Jeff Long, chair of the Playoff selection committee.” What?!? Did he really just site the committee’s collective “feeling” as the basis for making Alabama the top seed? What happened to strength of schedule? Or ‘game control’ (whatever that means)? Or the ‘eye test’ (whatever that means)? Surely that was just a slip of the tongue. They’re not really just relying in their feelings!

Christopher Hitches Explains: “The greatest triumph that modern PR can offer is the transcendent success of having your words and actions judged by your reputation, rather than the other way about.” Hitch wasn’t talking about college football when he wrote that. He was talking about the Dalai Lama. But it certainly seems to apply to college football and committee’s view of the SEC. Mississippi State Stays in the Top Four: I didn’t expect this either. It used to be that late losses doomed your national title hopes. That’s apparently not the case under the new playoff system. This might turn out to be a refreshing departure from tradition, so long as the committee sticks to fair and objective criteria when determining which losses matter and which losses matter less. Let’s see what they said.

Jeff Long, Playoff Committee Chairman, Explains: “You never felt like Mississippi State was out of that game.” Uhm, are we really talking about feelings again? Let’s focus on football, please.

Thomas Sowell Explains: This really has little to do with football, but world-renowned economist, Thomas Sowell, once said: “The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.” That’s not about football. But it seems relevant.

TCU Dropped from the Top Four: TCU was dropped to fifth. That has to hurt. The Frogs beat a four-win Kansas team by less than a touchdown. That didn’t help their case. But Alabama had already had a close win over a very mediocre Arkansas team—the game was decided by a botched extra-point try. Shouldn’t that hurt Alabama’s case? Here’s where I would wonder and maybe speculate about what the committee was thinking. But it wasn’t thinking. The committee was feeling. Who am I to judge someone else’s feelings?

Baylor Remains Behind TCU: Once again the committee had to handle the nagging question of the significance of the Baylor’s head-to-head win over TCU. TCU was dropped to fifth in the rankings. Baylor, who has the same record as TCU and who beat TCU earlier this year, remained ranked behind the Frogs. This is one of the thorniest issues the committee has to deal with at the top of the rankings. Those of us who follow these things closely were eagerly waiting to hear how Chairman Long would explain this decision. Let’s hear what he had to say.

Jeff Long, Playoff Committee Chairman, Explains: “At this point the committee doesn’t feel Baylor and TCU’s body of work is comparable enough that (head-to-head) would kick in.” This has to be a joke. We have two teams who have similar record and who also played one another. Baylor has a win. TCU has a loss. But the committee has feelings….

Ohio State Moves Up to the Sixth Position: The Ohio State Buckeyes moved up to sixth after their second straight road win over a ranked opponent. A lot of people saw this coming, especially after Arizona State lost on Saturday. The Buckeyes are still obviously outside of the top four. They don’t control their own destiny, but really, who does?

Marshall is 10-0: The Thundering Herd has won all of its games. Fans glow with pride. Opponents shake with fear. Outsiders burst with admiration. But the playoff committee apparently has no feelings when it comes to Marshall. Once again it has excluded a team that is ranked in the top 25 by every other reputable rankings system.

I don’t think I like the committee.

Go Bearcats!

By Rankings Guru: Rhett Lemmel