Evaluation of the First College Football Playoff Rankings

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First College Football Playoff Rankings
TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 31: Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 31, 2020 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

For all the College Football lovers, this is one of the most exciting periods of time. On Tuesday, the College Football Playoff Committee decided on the 25 best teams in the nation. This is the first glimpse fans and analysts get at what the potential college football playoff could be. For all the fans whose favorite teams are not playoff contenders, then they look forward to seeing if their favorite team is ranked. The College Football Playoff Rankings are not perfect, and they always get some disagreement from fans who feel like their team should be ranked higher. Though it’s not perfect, yesterday’s rankings were considered mutually bad by many of the fans and analysts around the United States. Why were they considered bad? Here is the evaluation of every ranking in the first College Football Playoff ranking.

Evaluation of the First College Football Playoff Rankings

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide

There is really no disagreement about this pick to top the first Collge Football Playoff Rankings. Alabama is the best college football team in America. This is a 6th-ranked offense led by Mac Jones, who has taken his play to another level and he has slid himself into Heisman consideration. His play isn’t just all centered on him though, he has the help of a star-studded offense including two future NFL players like Jaylen Waddle (though he has been lost for the year due to injury) and Devonta Smith. Alabama and Nick Saban just dominate everyone in their way. Expect for them to be ranked number one unless they lose the SEC championship game.

#2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame is one of only a handful of undefeated teams in the country. Their offense might not be eye-popping with Ian Book, but their defense is deadly. It’s a defense that got them their win against Clemson. That win holds lots of value and is an especially important factor in them being ranked number two. For now, Notre Dame is number two, but there will be obstacles in the way with a potential rematch coming against Clemson in the ACC Championship game.

#3 Clemson Tigers

Many people felt that Clemson should have been ranked ahead of Notre Dame. The committee as seen through more of the rankings, factors in, head to head games. Therefore, by that standard, Notre Dame should be ranked ahead of Clemson. Many people might counter that Clemson only lost to Notre Dame because of the absence of Trevor Lawrence, but really, Clemson’s defense let them down. Clemson will have the opportunity to get their revenge on Notre Dame most likely in the ACC Championship game which will decide who should be ranked higher.

#4 Ohio State Buckeyes

This ranking also has lots of disagreement surrounding it. Many people felt that if Ohio State is undefeated, then they should be ranked ahead of one-loss Clemson. The truth of the matter is, Ohio State didn’t look great against Indiana where they almost gave up 500 passing yards. Still, Ohio State will have the opportunity to move up as the rest of their schedule is manageable, and their only test is coming up in the Big Ten championship.

#5 Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M has looked phenomenal this season, with their only loss on the season coming against Alabama. But really, who beats Alabama. With all that said, we will have to see how they play after a two-week hiatus due to the coronavirus. All in all, they should win out with some easy remaining games. Going back to the head to head games, they are ranked one spot ahead of Florida, because they beat them earlier this season. With a win out and a potential slip by one of the teams in the top four, then Texas A&M might find themselves sitting in a playoff spot at the end of the season.

#6 Florida Gators

Number six is a very fair ranking for Florida especially taking into account their loss against Texas A&M. Their defense isn’t great, but their offense is spectacular. Kyle Trask is currently the favorite to win the Heisman as he leads the country in passing touchdowns. If Florida could of course win out and potentially beat Alabama in the SEC Championship, then there has to be a serious consideration of putting them into the playoff.

#7 Cincinnati Bearcats

This is a great ranking for Cincinnati and they should be proud of it. They most certainly pass the eye test as they are a balanced team. Their 20th-ranked offense is led by the dual-threat Desmond Ridder whose played very well and is a dark horse Heisman candidate, while their defense is a top 10 scoring defense. The problem with Cincinnati is the strength of opponents. However, they do play until the end and are always looking to score on every possession. They have a chance to make the playoff and that would potentially be through winning the conference championship and going undefeated. The key component to this potential playoff berth though would be organizing a game with a very good BYU team, and well if they can beat them handly, then there is a very good argument for them being in the playoff.

#8 Northwestern Wildcats

Pat Fitzgerald has built up a great football program in Northwestern, and Northwestern is very deserving of this ranking. They are undefeated with wins coming against ranked Iowa and Wisconsin, and they actually have the best strength of record. On offense, they aren’t exciting, but their defense is arguably the best in the country. Northwestern should most definitely win out in the regular season, but the key game will be the Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State. If they could somehow win that game, then there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t be one of four teams vying to win the National Championship.

#9 Georgia Bulldogs

Here is where the controversy starts. A two-loss team like Georgia can’t be ranked in the top 10. They just haven’t played well this year on either side of the football, especially on offense as they aren’t even in the top 30 for yards per game. A prime example of their poor play this season, came last weekend when they almost lost to an awful Mississippi State team. I can only imagine that the committee took into account Georgia’s name and not their play.

#10 Miami Hurricanes

Miami only has one loss, and when people hear a one-loss team, they associate that with a top 10 team, but that isn’t the real case here. Sure Miami only has one loss, but are they really deserving of number 10? Their only loss was their most important game which was against Clemson and they got demolished. All their other wins have come against teams that aren’t good, and some of those wins have actually been too close for comfort. Miami has a record that really doesn’t reflect their play, and they shouldn’t be in the top 10, but in the top 15 is fine.

#11 Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma is the best two-loss team in the country. Those two losses might make this ranking look controversial, but I don’t disagree with it. After a shaky start, Lincoln Riley’s crew has picked it up. Spencer Rattler has just piled on points, and the defense led by the talented Nik Bonitto is one every team doesn’t want to play. Overall, this is a fair ranking, and over the next couple of weeks, Oklahoma will prove that they are deserving of this ranking.

#12 Indiana Hoosiers

This a team that should have been ranked higher, especially higher than Miami and Georgia. Sure, they only have four wins on the season, but they have been dominant in all of those games. Their only loss came at Ohio State and it’s a game in which they made Ohio State uncomfortable and took the game down to the wire. Indiana’s defense forced Ohio State to turn the football over, while Indiana’s quarterback, Michael Penix Jr.played phenomenally, as he almost threw for 500 passing yards. Indiana is a top-three team in the Big Ten and should be ranked higher especially after their valiant performance against Ohio State.

#13 Iowa State Cyclones

Here is another two-loss team that isn’t that bad, but should be ranked lower than the team behind them. They got a nice win on the season against Oklahoma, and have beaten everyone they should have beaten. Overall, fans might see a two-loss team, and consider this as too high, but there just really aren’t any more teams that you can be put ahead of them.

#14 BYU Cougars

Many fans are furious about this ranking, and they most definitely have a point. BYU is ranked way too low, in fact, they should be in the Top 10 because they are better than almost all the teams ahead of them. Sure, their opponents aren’t the best, but BYU is undefeated and crushes every team by 40 plus points. This ranking shows that the committee most certainly didn’t watch BYU football, because if they did then they would have known that BYU is a fantastic team and that they pass the eye test with flying colors. As I have mentioned they are dominant, especially Zach Wilson who has played out of his mind and is a Heisman candidate. Overall, this was a very disappointing ranking, and every college football fan advises the committee to place BYU in the Top 10 in the next rankings.

#15 Oregon Ducks

Oregon comes in as the highest-ranked PAC-12 team. They are undefeated with three wins and have a good winning margin in total. It is a fair ranking because you can’t put them too low, but the jury is still out on them because they have played only three games, so putting them too high also isn’t good. Therefore, the middle of the pack is a fine place to rank Oregon, and their ranking is sure to change, as everyone starts to learn more about their play.

#16 Wisconsin Badgers

Now, this is ridiculous. This ranking is just way too high for Wisconsin. They have only played three games and have two wins. Not let me remind everyone that those two wins came against Illinois and Nebraska who are the worst teams in the Big Ten. In their loss, they were dominated by Northwestern. Recently, it was made known that Wisconsin would be ineligible to play in the Big Ten Championship because they won’t have the minimum amount of games played, so they likely won’t get any more quality wins. My last thought on this is that this was a big mistake by the committee, and like Georgia, Wisconsin was ranked this high because of their name and not their play.

#17 Texas Longhorns

This is a pretty fair ranking all around. They could have possibly been lower, but it’s not that big of a problem. Texas is one of the better two-loss teams in the country. They show up big in games, but in other games, they just fall flat. Their problem isn’t talent, which they have, it is that they just lack consistency. Until they become consistent like the other powerhouses, they will always be ranked in the bottom half of the power rankings.

#18 USC Trojans

USC is a very interesting team. They are undefeated with three wins is challenging Oregon for who is the best team in the PAC-12. USC is an interesting team due to how they have won their games. Against Arizona and Arizona State, two teams which they should have beaten easily, their total point differential was only plus five. Their third win which was against Utah was very convincing, but then again Utah is a very young and inexperienced team. USC should find consistency along the way, and as for the ranking, it is good, because USC is good enough to be in the top 25, but the way they have played so far, they shouldn’t be in the Top 15.

#19 UNC Tar Heels

UNC is in the area where two-loss teams like them are usually ranked, but looking at the teams behind them, UNC should have probably been ranked lower. Look, they have a very entertaining and explosive offense, led by the projected 2022 first-rounder Sam Howell and one of the nation’s best running games. They have a solid offense, but their defense lets them down. Additionally, their two losses were really bad. They didn’t lose by a lot, it’s just that they lost to a horrendous Florida State team and not a very good Virginia team. In these rankings, the committee has shown a lot of love to the ACC, especially with this ranking, as UNC should really be in the 20s.

#20 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Entering into the twenties, here is another complete whiff by the committee. To point out the obvious, Coastal Carolina has an undefeated record and they are a very good football team. They are a solid team all around, with a defense that can stop opponents and an offense that is very capable of scoring. Surely, the committee would have recognized this if they watched them play. They also would have recognized that Coastal Carolina should be ranked higher than UNC, USC, and Texas. Like I stated in the beginning, this was another poor ranking and it shows some disrespect towards Coastal Carolina.

#21 Marshall Thundering Herd

Thundering into number twenty one is Marshall. Like Coastal Carolina, they are an undefeated small-school. That small-school factor is very important in the committee, as they believe that Marshall just hasn’t faced quality opponents. This unfortunately puts their undefeated record in the shadows. All in all, no losses mean no losses, so Marshall should be ranked ahead of UNC and possibly USC.

#22 Auburn Tigers

Auburn is ranked here because there are no other teams to put here instead of them. Additionally, as I have stated two-loss teams should be ranked in the bottom half like Auburn. Still, I believe Auburn got the benefit of the doubt here because they are Auburn, a proud and traditional football team. I say that because Auburn isn’t good. They have beaten poor times, but also lost to a poor time team in South Carolina and lost their hardest matchup against Georgia. Well actually, against Georgia they got crushed. There is nowhere to put Auburn except in the ’20s but it has to be acknowledged that they aren’t good.

#23 Oklahoma State Cowboys

After a great start and potentially looking into the college football playoff, Oklahoma State has regressed and with that, they have dropped two games. After losing to Oklahoma, their aspirations of ending up in the Top 15 have likely ended. Oklahoma State is a talented team that has unfortunately regressed. With that in mind, Oklahoma State has an argument to be ranked higher than Auburn, but higher than that no. Overall Oklahoma State can agree that this a fair ranking of them.

#24 Iowa Hawkeyes

This is another one of the committee’s awful takes. What has Iowa shown that they belong in the top 25. Absolutely nothing. Through five games, Iowa has only won three games. That is not a good enough record to be in the Top 25. Additionally, those three wins are against Minnesota, Michigan State, and Penn State who have a combined 3-11 record. Not enough wins, and not enough quality wins, which means Iowa shouldn’t be ranked, but for some reason they are.

#25 Tulsa Golden Hurricanes

The last ranking in the first College Football Playoff Rankings belongs to Tulsa. Tulsa is a very good football team, one of the best outside the Power Five. They have a good offense, especially on the passing side. They have five wins which is very respectable and a very close loss to a talented Oklahoma State team. The rankings for Tulsa is good, and the committee has shown some respect to the smaller schools by including them in the rankings.

Conclusion

After evaluating each pick, here is what can be said about the playoff committee. First of all, the positive was the ranking for teams one through six which was accurate. Even though they were accurate with those, unfortunately for the committee, the other rankings were awful or just questionable. The playoff committee seriously has to rethink these rankings, and fans hope they change them for the next time.

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