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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015 College Football Playoff Top 25

Ohio State is No. 3 in the 1st College Football Playoff Top 25 of the season

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
The committee reveals they have questions about Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season.
The first College Football Playoff top 25 of the season was revealed on Tuesday night, and the Ohio State Buckeyes were ranked the No. 3 in the nation. Clemson, who defeated Ohio State in the 2014 Orange Bowl, are No. 1, with LSU, the team the Buckeyes faced in the 2007 National Championship Game under the BCS system, at No. 2. Alabama checks in at No. 4.
The ranking may not come as a surprise to many, as the Buckeyes didn't get off to the best of starts this season, somewhat similar to last year. While they knocked off Virginia Tech this year in Blacksburg, the Buckeyes had looked sloppy against much lesser opponents, and had a pretty tough time with Northern Illinois. But as of late, the Buckeyes have appeared to come closer to their end of 2014 form.
This is the first week of six that will have rankings to see who will compete in the College Football Playoff, and just like last year, we will see plenty of change as the season rolls along. Ohio State opened up last year at No. 16 in the rankings, but ended up with the trophy come January.
Here's your complete College Football Playoff Top 25:

Buckeyes No. 3, five Big Ten teams in first College Football Playoff rankings

For the first time this season, we have rankings that matter.
No offense to the fine folks voting in the AP and coaches polls every week, but those rankings no longer have any say in determining who plays for a national championship.
The ones that do, the College Football Playoff rankings, were released for the first time this season Tuesday night.
Ohio State was the highest-ranked Big Ten team, coming in at No. 3 in the first rankings of the season. That's significantly different from the AP poll, which has ranked the Buckeyes No. 1 all season. Ohio State remains undefeated, but many are pointing out that the Buckeyes' schedule has been pretty light so far. That being said, big games against Michigan State and Michigan come later this month.
Clemson was ranked No. 1. LSU was ranked No. 2, and the Bayou Bengals would be the Buckeyes' College Football Playoff opponent if these were the final rankings. Alabama was ranked No. 4. Certainly, though, there will be a lot of change in these rankings between now and when the Playoff field is set in December.
The Big Ten's other two undefeated teams were also ranked in the top 10, with Michigan State at No. 7 and Iowa at No. 9. The Hawkeyes were the lowest-ranked undefeated Power 5 team in the rankings, the committee apparently pointing out their lack of quality wins.
Michigan, with two losses, came in at No. 17. The Wolverines have quality losses to Utah and Michigan State, two of the top-12 teams in the rankings.
Northwestern was the fifth Big Ten team included in the rankings, ranked at No. 21. The Cats have wins over Stanford and Duke and losses to Michigan and Iowa.
Not included in the rankings were the Wisconsin Badgers, who have two losses to Alabama and Iowa, two top-10 teams.
Here's a look at the entire top 25:
1. Clemson
2. LSU
3. Ohio State
4. Alabama
5. Notre Dame
6. Baylor
7. Michigan State
8. TCU
9. Iowa
10. Florida
11. Stanford
12. Utah
13. Memphis
14. Oklahoma State
15. Oklahoma
16. Florida State
17. Michigan
18. Ole Miss
19. Texas A&M
20. Mississippi State
21. Northwestern
22. Temple
23. UCLA
24. Toledo
25. Houston

Playoff committee shows brand-name bias still in full effect with flawed first rankings

Brand-name bias is alive and well with the College Football Playoff selection committee. This does not qualify as breaking news.
It’s same-as-it-ever-was news in the sport. The traditional powers, the laundry, the big names get exaggerated respect. And the have-nots, the outsiders, the traditional paupers are eternally downgraded.
The CFP committee reinforced that with their first Top 25 Tuesday night by relegating Memphis to No. 13. That’s the same Memphis that is 8-0 and owns a 13-point victory over Mississippi – an Ole Miss team that won at Alabama and that the committee ranked 18th. How Memphis isn’t in the Top 10 baffles me.
The only logical explanation is that Memphis is a historical nobody that began the season as a nobody, and thus will remain at least a semi-nobody in comparison to the somebodies from the Power 5 conferences.
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Nick Saban's Crimson Tide are currently in the playoff field at No. 4. (AP)
Nick Saban's Crimson Tide are currently in the playoff field at No. 4. (AP)
The committee ranked Memphis behind five teams with losses. The Tigers are one spot behind Utah, which lost to a USC team that is not in the CFP Top 25. They are two spots behind Stanford, which lost to the No. 21 team, Northwestern, and beat a UCLA team that is ranked five spots behind Ole Miss.
Memphis is four spots behind Iowa, which beat Northwestern and nobody else of consequence. The Tigers are five spots behind TCU, six spots behind Michigan State and seven spots behind Baylor – all of which are a collective 1-0 against the committee’s Top 25 (counting Michigan State's fluke win over Michigan).
Memphis is eight spots behind Notre Dame, which has a loss on its record (No. 1 Clemson) and one win over the Top 25, No. 22 Temple. It is nine spots behind Alabama, which lost to the same Ole Miss team Memphis beat, and which has one victory over a Top 25 team – Texas A&M, which is ranked one spot behind Mississippi. And Memphis is 10 spots behind an Ohio State team that is 0-0 against the Top 25.
What do bluebloods Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State have that Memphis doesn’t have? Nothing right now, yet everything in perpetuity – more money, more fans, better conference affiliation and exaggerated clout with a committee that is supposed to see beyond laundry.
(Looking at one-loss Alabama at No. 4 and Iowa at No. 9, I’m wondering whether the committee may have overvalued victories against a certain unranked team from the upper midwest. Take a bow, Wisconsin athletic director and committee member Barry Alvarez.)
So there you have it, Memphis. If you thought you were going to get a fair, blind-résumé shot at this thing, you were wrong. And the cynics who never believed Memphis would get a fair shake are nodding knowingly right now.
The Tigers do have the potential to move up with three remaining games against teams currently in the CFP Top 25. They play at No. 25 Houston on Nov. 14, at No. 22 Temple on Nov. 21, and could face Temple again in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
But here’s a strong likelihood: if Memphis wins those games it will knock Temple and Houston out of the rankings faster than a vagrant being booted from a country club. It’s a handy Catch-22 for the establishment to use to discount the non-establishment.
The other entities who should be sweating their current standing are the Big 12 and the Pac-12. Neither conference has a team in the top four, which currently contains two from the Southeastern Conference (No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Alabama), one from the Atlantic Coast Conference (Clemson) and one from the Big Ten (Ohio State).
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Paxton Lynch and Memphis aren't getting much respect despite handling Ole Miss this season. (AP)
Paxton Lynch and Memphis aren't getting much respect despite handling Ole Miss this season. (AP)
The Big 12 has unbeatens ranked sixth (Baylor), eighth (TCU) and Oklahoma State (14th), plus one-loss Oklahoma (15th). Those teams all will play each other in the coming weeks, which will inflate their strength of schedule and improve the standing of whichever team rises to the top of that league.
“We rank to this point in time, and those teams just haven’t played the strongest part of their schedule yet,” committee chair Jeff Long said of the Big 12.
The committee was no fan of Baylor’s soft non-conference schedule last year, and appears to feel the same this year. If it comes down to a hair-splitting contest involving the Bears, they might be nervous.
The Pac-12 doesn’t even have a team in the Top 10. It also doesn’t have an unbeaten team. Stanford and Utah are Nos. 11 and 12, and UCLA is the only other team ranked at No. 23. The league champion certainly will have a chance to climb into the top four by the time all is said and done, but that team will likely need some help along the way. There are three SEC teams and three Big Ten teams in their path, plus two from the Big 12, one from the ACC and Notre Dame.
Stanford will have its own shot at removing the Notre Dame impediment Nov. 28 in Palo Alto. That has the makings of a playoff elimination game, if both win out until then. But after that, the Cardinal would likely have to win the Pac-12 title game as well. Notre Dame, which has no 13th game, would have all its hay in the barn on Thanksgiving weekend.
With one loss, the storied Irish will have a chance. For an outsider like Memphis, relegated to 13th despite a perfect record and a big win, there may not even be a chance at 13-0.

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College Football Playoff rankings Week 9
College Football Playoff rankings Week 9

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