Latest Playoff Rankings: The SEC Problem

The latest College Football Playoff rankings - Week 5

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1. How is Alabama No. 1 again?
And do NOT say the “eye test,” because that’s based purely on opinion and not on merit. The playoff committee can’t have it both ways. If it’s not going to rank LSU and Arkansas – they should be, with LSU needing to be ahead of Wisconsin and Arkansas ranked above the Tigers right now – then you can’t argue against the fact that Alabama has one win over a ranked team – Mississippi State – and its one loss to No. 19 Ole Miss is by far the worst defeat right now by anyone in the top five. Now, this can and should change if and when the Tide beats Auburn and wins the SEC championship, but for right now, if the CFP rankings are the standard, then no, you can’t technically say Alabama deserves the No. 1 ranking by anything more than pure opinion, and even that can be contested considering Alabama struggled to get by unranked LSU and Arkansas teams. But …

2. It’s absolutely wrong not to have LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M ranked
LSU beat Wisconsin – who doesn’t have a top 25 win – and has more ranked wins than Alabama and Mississippi State, beating the Badgers and Ole Miss. Arkansas might have five losses, but it’s red hot right now and just shut out LSU after shutting out No. 19 Ole Miss. Texas A&M beat No. 15 Auburn and has a respectable four losses to Missouri, Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Considering these three should be ranked, then yeah. Alabama at No. 1 should be fine, even if it’s technically not.

3. Michigan State at No. 10 and Wisconsin at No. 14
Technically, you can’t rank Wisconsin at 14 and not rank LSU. Not only did the Tigers actually beat the Badgers, but they have two top 25 wins while Wisconsin doesn’t have any. Yes, no one is more it right now than Wisconsin, and no one is moving up more in the world than Melvin Gordon, but the loss to Northwestern is a disaster and, again, there aren’t any wins over ranked teams. Meanwhile, Michigan State is a tough argument for both sides. On the one hand, the two losses came to No. 2 Oregon in Eugene and to No. 6 Ohio State, but that’s it. There aren’t any other wins over top 25 teams, and yet the Spartans are No. 10 ahead of an Arizona team that actually beat Oregon.

4. Boise State at No. 23 & No. 24 Marshall
This might be among the most glaring question marks yet in the playoff ranking era. Boise State has been absolutely destroying everyone lately, hanging up big offensive numbers week after week with 51 points or more in four of the last six games, 37 against Fresno State and 38 against San Diego State. Throw in the win over Colorado State that’s looking better and better, consider the loss to Ole Miss is acceptable and the loss to Air Force isn’t that awful, and the Broncos should absolutely be ranked. But where’s Colorado State? The Rams have just one loss, and that came on September 6th to Boise State. The Rams beat a Boston College team that beat USC and gave Florida State all it could handle, and now they’re on a ten-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Marshall just had its rockiest game yet, fighting to get by UAB, and now it’s in the top 25? The Herd’s best win so far is against Middle Tennessee – there’s no justification to be ranked in the top 25 with this schedule, 11-0 or not.

5. No. 25 Utah is living off its UCLA win
If you’re not going to put in LSU, or Texas A&M, or Arkansas, or Colorado State, then how can you possibly justify Utah, who has lost three of its last four games and owns the worst loss of anyone in the top 25 – at home against Washington State? The UCLA win came on a Bruin choke more than anything else, but it was a great road win and it all counts. However, that’s it. Beating Stanford doesn’t really matter, and beating Michigan doesn’t really mean much.

6. The automatic ACC bid
Assuming Florida State ends up in the playoff, keep an eye out for what happens in the Clemson-South Carolina and Georgia-Georgia Tech games. If there’s a split between the ACC and SEC teams, the ACC team that wins will probably be a mortal lock for the Orange Bowl. However, watch out for Louisville. The No. 22 Cardinals play Kentucky, and if they win, and No. 16 Georgia Tech loses to Georgia and then to Florida State, and Clemson loses to USC, then Bobby Petrino will almost certainly be coaching in a New Year’s Day bowl in Miami.

7. At the moment, if done absolutely as correctly as possible based on what has happened so far, the rankings on Nov. 25 should be …

1. Oregon (CFP: No. 3)
2. Florida State (CFP: No. 3)
3. TCU (CFP: No. 5)
4. Alabama (CFP: No. 1)
5. Mississippi State (CFP: No. 4)
6. Baylor (CFP: No. 7)
7. Ohio State (CFP: No. 6)
8. UCLA (CFP: No. 8)
9. Arizona (CFP: No. 11)
10. Georgia (CFP: No. 9)
11. Missouri (CFP: No. 17)
12. Auburn (CFP: No. 15)
13. Kansas State (CFP: No. 12)
14. Arizona State (CFP: No. 13)
15. Michigan State (CFP: No. 10)
16. Oklahoma (CFP: No. 20)
17. Arkansas (CFP: Not Ranked)
18. LSU (CFP: Not Ranked)
19. Wisconsin (CFP: 14)
20. Minnesota (CFP: 18)
21. Ole Miss (CFP: No. 19)
22. Texas A&M (CFP: Not Ranked)
23. Georgia Tech (CFP: No. 18)
24. Clemson (CFP: No. 21)
24. Louisville (CFP: No. 22)


1. Alabama Last Week 1
2. Oregon Last Week 2
3. Florida State Last Week 3
4. Mississippi State Last Week 4
5. TCU Last Week 5
6. Ohio State Last Week 6
7. Baylor Last Week 7
8. UCLA Last Week 9
9. Georgia Last Week 10
10. Michigan State Last Week 11
11. Arizona Last Week 15
12. Kansas State Last Week 12
13. Arizona State Last Week 13
14. Wisconsin Last Week 16
15. Auburn Last Week 14
16. Georgia Tech Last Week 18
17. Missouri Last Week 20
18. Minnesota Last Week 25
19. Ole Miss Last Week 8
20. Oklahoma Last Week 21
21. Clemson Last Week 22
22. Louisville Last Week 24
23. Boise State Last Week Not Ranked
24. Marshall Last Week Not Ranked
25. UtahLast Week 17

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