We started this ongoing analysis in commentary to the College Football Playoff committee’s first rankings for the current season, so we’re going to keep going through the end of the season to expose any corruption we see and any lack of transparency that exists, as well. It’s our job as historians and journalists to do so. We own it, proudly.
Without further noise, here we go, with seeding, in order (with record, type of bid, and SOS comparisons):
- Michigan (11-1): B1G auto bid. SOS Rank: 12.
- Iowa (10-2): Wild-card bid. SOS Rank: 17.
- Georgia (12-0): SEC auto. SOS Rank: 40.
- Alabama (11-1): Wild-card bid. SOS Rank: 39.
- Oklahoma State (11-1): Big XII auto. SOS Rank: 54.
- Wake Forest (10-2): ACC auto. SOS Rank: 51.
- Utah (9-3): Pac-12 auto. SOS Rank: 53.
- Cincinnati (12-0): Group of 5 auto. SOS Rank: 84.
Here are the teams on the cusp for our 8-team field:
- Notre Dame (11-1): Wild-card bid. SOS Rank: 20.
- Baylor (10-2): No bid. SOS Rank: 63.
- Oregon (10-2): No bid. SOS Rank: 50.
- Pittsburgh (10-2): No bid. SOS Rank: 74.
Order rationale: The Wolverines get the top seed based on SOS edge over the Bulldogs, while the Hawkeyes also get the SOS advantage. Remember, every 10 spots in the SOS ratings erases a loss. That’s always been our framework. That’s also why the Utes get the No. 7 slot over the Bearcats, who just haven’t earned anything better than the No. 8 seed with the weak schedule they played this year.
BYU (10-2) has an SOS rank of 66, which isn’t good enough to overcome its losses and leapfrog the Bearcats, for example, for that autobid. All the other Group of 5 and independent schools within reach of Cincinnati have even worse SOS rankings. So that’s our Top 8.
Excluded: The Fighting Irish get the shaft here, despite probably being one of the best teams in the nation. But losing to the Bearcats was costly. Meanwhile, the Bears, the Ducks, and the Panthers can play themselves into the Top 8 by winning their conference championships this weekend. Likewise, the Hawkeyes, the Utes, and the Crimson Tide can play themselves out of the Top 8 by losing this weekend.
That would open the door for Notre Dame to get in as a wild-card team, or even re-open the door for the Ohio State Buckeyes, for example. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out after the conference title games are played on Friday and Saturday.
See how easy this can be when things are transparent? Keep this in mind when the time comes. The top real four teams right now should be Michigan, Georgia, Oklahoma State, and Wake Forest. But it is what it is: We know the CFP committee loves Alabama’s cash registers, and the pressure to let an undefeated Group of 5 team into the playoff is tremendous, even though it is undeserved right now.
But what if Cincinnati loses to Houston (11-1, SOS rank 127) in this weekend’s American Conference title game? Then, everything will get crazy, in truth, although again, the prime beneficiary might be Notre Dame. Stay tuned for our final installment of this analysis next Wednesday.