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It's a tough task for the playoff committee to come up with the right balance of eye test and what has actually happened on the field. However, in the process, the 12 members are looking mostly at head-to-head results and strength of schedules. So, with that in mind - it's not about what you believe, it's about what you can prove - here are the inconsistencies and the big stories along with what the top 25 should've been.
1. Ohio State is going to have to work and pray
It’s not the end of the world quite yet for the Buckeyes. There’s still a chance to break through the ceiling and get past the Big 12ers – TCU and Baylor – with dominant wins to close out, but it would be really, really nice if No. 16 Nebraska were to dominate Wisconsin and enter the Big Ten championship game at 11-1 and on a hot streak. However, the six spot jump from 15 to eight wasn’t really that impressive considering Baylor rolled up from 12 to 7 after destroying Oklahoma on the road.
What does Ohio State need now? It wouldn’t be bad if Alabama were to lose a second game, and Arizona State or Oregon will lose one more – that’s a two spot jump right there for the Buckeyes. But sixth is no better than eighth in this race, and it’s going to take a few more dominant wins and a blowout in the Big Ten championship to impress enough to get within range. There’s still hope, but as expected, the Virginia Tech loss continues to be an anchor.
2. But Baylor beat TCU
With West Virginia out of the top 25, now Baylor’s one big loss came to an unranked team, and with Minnesota checking in at No. 25, TCU now has wins over two ranked teams. The Horned Frogs throttled Kansas State, and even though the Bears handed Bob Stoops a horrible home loss
3. Alabama isn’t going to be No. 5 for long
All Alabama has to do is beat Mississippi State this weekend, and it might not just get into the top four, it might be No. 1 overall. If Oregon can jump Florida State and be No. 2 despite its one loss, then Alabama can and should rocket all the way up to the top spot if it beats the No. 1 team. The road win over LSU probably wasn’t as respected as it should’ve been, and the committee appears to be giving more credit to TCU for its loss to No. 7 Baylor than to Alabama for its loss to No. 10 Ole Miss, but there’s no reason for Tide fans to worry.
4. Texas A&M? LSU?
It’s all my fault for going against logic and reason. What’s the one aspect of the rankings that has to be thrown out? The eye test. Texas A&M, technically, despite the blowout loss to Alabama and the ugly win over a bad ULM team should’ve been ranked around 15th last week, and now it’s way, way, way too low at No. 24 after beating Auburn. The losses were to No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 5 Alabama, and No. 10 Ole Miss, but with the win over No. 9 Auburn the Aggies deserve to be somewhere around 15th and certainly ahead of Georgia. The win over Auburn is strong enough to put them at least five spots higher, probably a lot more.
Meanwhile, No. 17 LSU’s losses came to No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 5 Alabama, and No. 9 Auburn, and it still gets to boast a win over Ole Miss. Because the Rebels beat Alabama, LSU would be just fine around somewhere between 13th and 15th.
5. Oklahoma should be ranked
Only two teams dropped out of the rankings – last week’s No. 23 West Virginia and No. 15 Oklahoma. The Mountaineers beat No. 7 Baylor, but the four losses and the blowout loss to Texas last week make it hard to put them in the top 25. Oklahoma, on the other hand, might have been ugly at home against Baylor, but its three losses came against the No. 7 Bears, No. 4 TCU and No. 13 Kansas State. Unfortunately, the best wins are over WVU, Texas and Tennessee, but still, the Sooners should be ranked somewhere around 20th.
6. What have Minnesota and Wisconsin really done to be 25th and 20th, respectively?
If Ohio State didn’t get a whole bunch of respect with its No. 8 ranking, then why is Wisconsin moving up five spots simply for blowing out Purdue? The Badgers don’t have a win over a team in the top 25, and the loss to Northwestern is looking worse and worse. Meanwhile, Minnesota blew away Iowa to get into the top 25, but its loss to Illinois should be a killer. USC and Miami probably deserve to be in the rankings over those two, even with the loss to Boston College on the resume. However, No. 16 Nebraska should probably be higher – it shouldn’t have dropped so far from No. 13 – with its only loss coming to No. 12 Michigan State.
7. At the moment, if done absolutely as correctly as possible based on what has happened so far, the rankings on Nov. 11 should be …
1. Mississippi State (CFP: No. 1)
2. Florida State (CFP: No. 3)
3. Oregon (CFP: No. 2)
4. TCU (CFP: No. 4)
5. Alabama (CFP: No. 5)
6. Arizona State (CFP: No. 6)
7. Baylor (CFP: No. 7)
8. Notre Dame (CFP: No. 18)
9. Ohio State (CFP: No. 8)
10. Michigan State (CFP: No. 12)
11. Nebraska (CFP: No. 16)
12. Auburn (CFP: No. 9)
13. LSU (CFP: No. 17)
14. Ole Miss (CFP: No. 10)
15. Texas A&M (CFP: 24)
16. Kansas State (CFP: No. 15)
17. Oklahoma (CFP: Not Ranked)
18. UCLA (CFP: No. 11)
19. Arizona (CFP: No. 14)
20. Georgia (CFP: No. 15)
21. Duke (CFP: No. 21)
22. Georgia Tech (CFP: No. 22)
23. Utah (CFP: No. 23)
24. USC (CFP: Not Ranked)
25. Wisconsin (CFP: 20)
The College Football Playoff Top 25: Week 3
1. Mississippi State
3. Florida State
6. Arizona State
8. Ohio State
10. Ole Miss
12. Michigan State
13. Kansas State
18. Notre Dame
22. Georgia Tech
24. Texas A&M
College Football Playoff Ranking: Week 12
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