College Football Playoff Rankings: Analysis, Breakdown Week 5

    Where did the College Football Playoff committee get it right with the fourth week of the rankings? Where did they miss? Analysis of the fourth rankings of the CFP season.

    December 2, 2015

    What are the big things to take away from the next-to-last installment of the College Football Playoff rankings? What did the committee get right, and what did it mess up?

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    College Football Playoff Rankings Analysis

    The rankings were all but figured out after Notre Dame lost to Stanford on a last second kick.

    The drama has been drained out of the College Football Playoff rankings now that Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma and the Big Ten champion appear to be locks – and it’ll probably be Florida or Stanford if the Crimson Tide crash and burn in the SEC championship.

    Is there any possible chance for anything crazy to happen this week before the final rankings on Sunday? Actually, yeah.

    If everything goes to chalk, it’ll be easy, but there still might be some curveballs.

    Does Ohio State Matter at No. 6?

    No. The only way it might matter is to the Rose Bowl as a more attractive and higher-ranked option than the Big Ten championship loser, but no, being No. 6 doesn’t mean the Buckeyes will move up into the top four if Clemson and Alabama somehow lose. The committee will rank teams based on merit, but more than that, it’s going to not put in a team in that didn’t win its own division, much less its own conference. The other problem? If North Carolina wins, it’ll be a conference champion and will have beaten the No. 1 team in the country. Ohio State won’t have a win anywhere near as strong.

    At No. 7, How Does Stanford Get In?

    According to CFP chairman Jeff Long, style points don’t matter, but style points matter. 2014 Ohio State has 59 reasons why they matter. So for Stanford to have any shot of getting in, it’ll have to absolutely annihilate No. 20 USC and then get a ton of luck. Again, if North Carolina beats Clemson, it most likely gets in because of the one big giant win that no one else will have. Florida would have to beat Alabama, and there might have to be some strange circumstances. It would be a dogfight in the committee room trying to figure out Florida vs. Stanford, but considering the two wins over USC, and the wins over UCLA, Washington State, Cal, and Notre Dame, the Cardinal resume would be solid.

    Ole Miss at No. 13 is a big deal because …

    If things stay this way, and No. 18 loses, No. 13 Ole Miss would get the call to play in the Sugar Bowl. Considering the wild season the team has had, and after all the fun of last year, getting to a New Year’s Six Bowl for a second year in a row would be a tremendous accomplishment for Hugh Freeze’s program. If Florida beats Alabama and doesn’t get in the playoff, it’ll be in New Orleans. The No. 2 SEC team will get the gig if Alabama wins, meaning it’ll probably be Ole Miss vs. …

    TCU at No. 11 over No. 12 Baylor might a big deal because …

    Ohhhhh, noooooo. We did this last year in the Peach Bowl and it was a 42-3 statement made by a very, very surly TCU squad. Things seem to be different this time around, but TCU might be a far different team with a month to get healthier. QB Trevone Boykin would be close to normal, and star WR Josh Doctson will likely be back.

    However, there’s still wiggle room. Baylor still has to play Texas, and if it comes up with a fantastic performance and blows the Longhorns out of the water, it might move up past the Horned Frogs and into the No. 2 spot in the Big 12. That would mean a trip to the Sugar Bowl even after losing to TCU last weekend.

    Uhhhh, Michigan at No. 15 and Northwestern at No. 14?

    Michigan is 9-3 and Northwestern is 10-2, but Michigan beat Northwestern 38-0. It’s not like the Wildcats are doing anything impressive enough to be ranked higher than the Wolverines at this point, whose only crime to move down five spots was to lose to a well-motivated Ohio State team.

    The Group of 5 situation

    Houston at No. 19 and Temple at No. 22. The winner of the American Athletic Conference championship is almost certainly going to be Group of Five representative in a New Year’s Six Bowl. No. 23 Navy can’t get the nod, and the MAC champion – Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois – won’t be an option. No matter if it’s the Cougars or the Owls, it’ll be a terrific story and a huge chance for the American Athletic to come up with a big performance. Last year Boise State got the job done against Arizona in the Fiesta, two years ago it was UCF. The pressure will be on.

    At the moment, if done absolutely as correctly as possible based on what has happened so far, the rankings on Dec. 1 should be …

    Throwing in a little bit of the eye-test where needed, but, again, based on the CFP rankings and mostly on resume and CFP top 25 wins …

    1. Alabama (CFP: No. 2)

    2. Clemson (CFP: No. 1)

    3. Oklahoma (CFP: No. 3)

    4. Iowa (CFP: No. 4)

    5. Michigan State (CFP: No. 5)
    6. Ohio State (CFP: No. 6)
    7. Oregon (CFP: No. 16)

    8. Stanford (CFP: No. 7)

    9. Notre Dame (CFP: No. 8)
    10. Michigan (CFP: No. 15)
    11. Ole Miss (CFP: No. 13)

    12. Northwestern (CFP: No. 14)

    13. TCU (CFP: No. 11)

    14. Baylor (CFP: No. 12)

    15. USC (CFP: No. 20)

    16. Oklahoma State (CFP: No. 17)

    17. Florida State (CFP: No. 9)
    18. Florida (CFP: No. 18)

    19. Utah (CFP: No. 24)
    20. North Carolina (CFP: No. 10)

    21. UCLA (CFP: Not Ranked)

    22. Houston (CFP: 19)

    23. LSU (CFP: Not Ranked)

    24. Tennessee (CFP: 25)

    25. Arkansas (CFP: Not Ranked)

    College Football Playoff Rankings

    Week 5 Analysis & Breakdown  | What if North Carolina beats Clemson?
    What if Florida beats Alabama? | What were the biggest debates?


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