College football polls – even the preseason polls and the polls that don’t matter at all by the Associated Press and the Coaches – are interesting conversation pieces. They get a bit more interesting in the final third of the season when the College Football Playoff Selection Committee gives its rankings.
But even the CFP poll doesn’t matter until the last one, which will be announced Sunday. That will be after key teams have completed conference championship games.
As expected, the nation’s only undefeated team – Alabama – is atop the penultimate poll revealed Tuesday. Bama has been first in every meaningful poll since the preseason, usually unanimously.
Alabama will meet Florida in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central) in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday. While it is unlikely the Gators can upset the Tide, there is some belief that Bama could lose that game and still make the playoff.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban isn’t interested in that conversation. “What if we lay a stink bomb?” he said.
There are also three one-loss teams in contention. Ohio State has completed its season because it didn’t win its division in the Big Ten and, therefore, will not be the conference champion.
Clemson (11-1) is playing for the ACC championship against Virginia Tech and one-loss Washington takes on Colorado (10-2) in the Pac-12 title game. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have two losses and will be playing a regular season game that will determine the Big 12 champion, but they are on the outside looking in.
The most intriguing aspect of trying to read a CFP selection committee that obviously has been quite impressed with the Big Ten is going to do.
Two-loss teams Wisconsin (no team has ever gotten more mileage from losing its two most important games in a season) and Penn State (loser to Pitt and blown out by Michigan) are playing in that championship game.
And speaking of Michigan, the Wolverines have lost two games – most recently Saturday to Ohio State – and have hardly been punished by the committee.
This week’s poll was predictable. If only we could expect as much from the committee on Sunday.
This week’s College Football Playoff poll:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Oklahoma State
- Southern Cal
- Florida State
- West Virginia
- Western Michigan
- Virginia Tech