Sports Columns

The Madness of the College Football Playoff Rankings

Billy Peterson
Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.

November tends to be a dull month for sports fans. The NFL is in full gear, but there is still a lot to be decided before teams can start looking towards the playoffs. The MLB off-season is yet to really kick itself into gear, and the NBA and NHL are still in the beginning stages of their season.

This is usually the time of year where people, especially college students, are just anxious for Thanksgiving. However, with last year’s inaugural College Football Playoff, there is something for sports fans to stir about in mid-November.

The playoff rankings at this point are really meaningless, yet there is still so much debate every week about who got snubbed and who should be ranked lower. That is the case again this year after the second week College Football Playoff rankings for 2015-16 were released Tuesday night.

The NCAA really finds themselves in a lose-lose situation, because fans are always clamoring for these rankings to come out every week. And like clockwork, every time they are released, there is plenty of backlash from fans.

Wasn’t the dismissal of the BCS system supposed to get rid of all this controversy? Most people could have said no, but people wanted a change and it was for the better. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t going to be controversy, because instead of debating who should be ranked two and three, the argument is who should be four and five.

This week, Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame were ranked in the top four, in that order. Most of the criticism this week again comes from Big 12 fans, arguing how multiple undefeated teams in the conference are left out for an Independent team (Notre Dame). Or how there are two teams with one loss currently in the top four.

What the College Football Playoff rankings is designed to do, is to get the best four teams in the country to play for the National Championship. If the season ended today, I would be hard pressed to go against their selections. So Alabama did lose one game, but it was to a very good Ole Miss team. Alabama did just knock off, quite impressively, an LSU Tigers team which was rolling over everyone. Can someone really claim that just because Iowa has zero losses, they are a better football team than Alabama?

And trust me; I would love to see Iowa make it, as a fan of a team in the Big 10, and as a fan of seeing new teams make championship runs. However, watching Iowa get blown out in the opening round while a team like Alabama watches at home defeats the purpose of the College Football Playoff system. Now, if Iowa goes out and goes undefeated, wins the Big 10 championship, and proves that they are a legitimate championship caliber team, then by all means plug them in.

The good thing is, the season does not end today. As we learned from the BCS system, it always seems to play itself out, even if it takes until the final week. That may have not been the case last year when a pair of deserving Big 12 teams were on the outside looking in, but the team that jumped them, Ohio State, went on to win it all.

I think the College Football Playoff rankings got it right last year, and I have faith they will get it right again this year. Let’s just not jump to premature decisions in the middle of November. I realize there is not that much else exciting going on in sports right now, but the system will play itself out. Let’s just take a step back and enjoy it.

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