We swore we would never do this again, but here we are, after realizing today that 16 teams are way too many: We’re going with 8 teams in a playoff tournament. We see each of the Power 5 conference champions getting automatic bids, plus a consensus “champion” of the non-power conferences and independents getting auto’d as well. Then, two wild-card bids can go to any school, with a preference towards deserving Power 5 teams with one loss that didn’t win their conferences, for example.
This is the fairest way to look at it, really: There’s something for everyone, including the smaller schools that have been denied a shot hitherto. That being said, we will do this weekly until the College Football Playoff committee releases its final rankings in a month or so designating the four teams in this year’s inevitably rigged “tournament” … nah, we’re not skeptical at all. Promise!
Without further noise, here we go, with seeding, in order (with record, type of bid, and any explanation necessary):
- Georgia (8-0): SEC autobid. The Bulldogs’ SOS is second best among these 8 teams.
- Michigan State (8-0): B1G autobid. The Spartans’ SOS is third best among these 8 teams.
- Michigan (7-1): Wild-card bid. The Wolverines’ SOS is the best among these 8 teams, and their one loss was to MSU.
- Oregon (7-1): P12 autobid. The Ducks’ SOS is sixth best among these 8 teams, and they beat the Buckeyes.
- Ohio State (7-1): Wild-card bid. The Buckeyes’ SOS is fourth best among these 8 teams, and their one loss was to Oregon.
- Wake Forest (8-0): ACC autobid. The Demon Deacons’ SOS is fifth best among these 8 teams.
- Oklahoma (9-0): Big XII autobid. The Sooners’ SOS is seventh best among these 8 teams.
- Cincinnati (8-0): Additional autobid. The Bearcats’ SOS is eighth best among these 8 teams.
The B1G is the highest-rated conference right now, followed by the SEC. With the Wolverines’ only loss being to the Spartans, they deserve to be included. Likewise, the Buckeyes’ only loss is to the Ducks, so they’re in as well. Alabama gets left out for now, because it’s one loss was to a sabermetrically inferior team.
In time, this can change as the Crimson Tide earn some more quality wins, but right now, Alabama is more defined by its loss than anything else. This is just logical, and while we don’t think that highly of Oregon, in truth, they are the current “leaders” in the Pac-12, and they did beat Ohio State. The automatic bids are what they are, and they always have been, folks. Get over it.
Notre Dame is also in contention, despite its loss to the Bearcats. The Fighting Irish have played a great schedule—better than every team listed up there in our Top 8, actually, including Alabama (which slots in with a schedule about the same as Michigan State’s SOS). So, in truth, Notre Dame would be 9th in our rankings, followed by Alabama—based on a better loss and a better SOS.
We’re not diving too deep into any more teams, for a few reasons: It’s pointless until the end, and since we’re ranking just 8 teams, anyway, comparing our final list to the CFP committee’s final choices is the main exercise.
So, this is the way we see it right now and why we see it that way, based on logical criteria for an 8-team playoff tournament. See you next week for another installment!