Stuart McNair

Other than Alabama in top spot, Big Ten dominates ranking

College Football Playoff keeps Alabama in first place

Thank goodness for Alabama and Clemson, the teams that played in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game last year. Throw in the team with the best player, even though Louisville has played no one, and Washington, which is probably getting one last little ranking for the insult of left out of the initial top four of this year’s CFP selection committee.

Those four and four Big Ten teams make up the top eight of this week’s CFP ranking.

Alabama, of course, is No. 1. And there is no problem with Ohio State being No. 2. Sure, the Buckeyes lost to a Penn State team that had lost to Pitt, but that doesn’t matter any more. By virtue of its win over Ohio State, the Nittany Lions have miraculously been resurrected as a good football team. And because Penn State is now a good team, Ohio State’s loss to Penn State is no longer a big deal.

Michigan lost to Iowa, which you won’t find in this week’s CFP top 25, but presumably might if they win another game. After all, they beat No. 3 Michigan, which was not punished at all for a very bad loss in the last three weeks of the season.

Consider that Washington lost to a very good Southern Cal team – a much better team than Iowa – and got tossed from the top four.

We have heard there is a Big Ten bias on the selection committee, and when there is Ohio State second, Michigan third, Wisconsin – whose resume is primarily teams it has lost to – seventh, and Penn state eighth, who could argue? Is it possible there was sentiment to put Ohio State and Michigan ahead of the Tide?

The talk of the college football world this week is how Michigan’s loss to Iowa may have helped the Big Ten get two teams into the final four. It involves Ohio State beating Michigan again and then Penn State beating Michigan State and Rutgers. That would put the Nittany Lions into the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin. And then how in the world could the CFP selection committee fail to include both Ohio State and the winner of the league in the final four?

Perhaps they would read the words of the Big Ten commissioner, Jim Delaney, and realize he doesn’t respect a team that fails to win its conference championship and then gets to play for the national title. (That’s a joke, son.)

The top four, so you don’t have to go back through this rant to figure it out, is 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Michigan, and 4. Clemson.

Lurking at No. 5 is Louisville, which has likely Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and one impressive victory, against No. 17 Florida State.

Alabama has four of its 10 wins against members of the top 25. The highest ranked of those four is USC at No. 13, and a convincing winner over Washington last week. Alabama edged the Trojans 52-6 on the opening week of the season.

The Crimson Tide has also defeated No. 16 LSU, No. 19 Tennessee, and No. 25 Texas A&M. One can’t help but wonder if instead of the SEC riding Alabama’s coattails, the rest of the league is being punished because its team can’t measure up to the Tide.

Bama will play No. 15 Auburn a week from Saturday. There is a chance – if Florida can get by LSU this weekend in Baton Rouge – that the Tide would play the No. 23 Gators in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

Alabama is already in the SEC title game with its 7-0 conference record. The Tide will host Chattanooga in a non-conference game at 6 p.m. CST this Saturday, before closing regular season play Nov. 26 against Auburn in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Here is the CFP top 25 this week:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Michigan
  4. Clemson
  5. Louisville
  6. Washington
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Penn State
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Colorado
  11. Oklahoma State
  12. Utah
  13. Southern Cal
  14. West Virginia
  15. Auburn
  16. LSU
  17. Florida State
  18. Nebraska
  19. Tennessee
  20. Boise State
  21. Western Michigan
  22. Washington State
  23. Florida
  24. Stanford
  25. Texas A&M

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