Written by: Shawn Digity (@DIGITYnodoubt)
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So, the first rendition of the college playoff rankings were revealed and discussed on Tuesday night. There weren’t any major surprises. There weren’t a lot of arguments to be made for the top 4 teams that were listed in the committee’s projections. For a system that I find to be sloppy and almost cringe-worthy, the projections were just fine for the four playoff participants.
Alabama was the first team; there’s no getting around that and there aren’t any reasonable debates to convince otherwise, so let’s just move on. Clemson is the second team in the projected playoff bracket. I’m hard-pressed to find any issue with that either. They’re undefeated, which always speaks volumes, and talent- wise, I’d put them in Tier-II of my own personal rankings (so take that with a grain of salt). They would be the only team in Tier-II and Alabama would be the only team in Tier-I.
The third and fourth teams, LSU and Notre Dame, are great entries into the rankings, but there’s more wiggle room for those two teams. Both LSU and Notre Dame have shown the merit to warrant a playoff appearance at this point. LSU has knocked off some great teams and posted a 7-1 record, while Notre Dame is undefeated at 8-0.
It’s fair to include LSU and Notre Dame, but there are always teams on the outside looking in. There’s still a lot of football to be played, but Michigan and Georgia are the first two snubs, as it stands. The teams ranked 6-10 all have 7-1 records and are all in contention as long as they keep winning. Obviously, that’s a conflict of interest for Michigan and Ohio State since they’ll be playing each other on November 24. If both teams go into the game with only one loss, then it’s hard to imagine the winner of that matchup not making the playoffs. Although the B1G has had down year, comparatively, one of those two teams is likely to make the playoffs, but there are some scenarios were neither makes it.
The first edition of the playoff rankings are always a firestorm of disagreement and controversy, but I’m OK with the four representatives the moment. Things will surely change in the next month, so the controversy will just get exacerbated in a few weeks when the playoff-scenario waters get muddied even more. As much as I want to use this as an opportunity to plug UCF or crazy, pie-in-the-sky playoff systems of 32 or 64 teams, I’ll save it for a rainy day. For now, the playoff system is what we have and it’s also what we wanted five years ago. It’s far from perfect, but at least the rankings so far this year are not unreasonable.