Did the CFP Committee Get it Right: Week 1


Jeff Long and the College Football Playoff (CFP) committee released their initial rankings for the 2015 season on Tuesday night. There will be deep dissection into what they all mean but this is the only analysis you’ll need as you try to get inside the mind of the committee.

Each week, with the release of the rankings, I’ll give you my omissions, who’s too high and too low and any other extra thoughts. I’ll pretty much tell you why I should be on the committee. So let’s dive right in.

First, let’s look at the rankings.

  1. Clemson (8-0)
  2. LSU (7-0)
  3. Ohio State (7-0)
  4. Alabama (7-1)
  5. Notre Dame (7-1)
  6. Baylor (7-0)
  7. Michigan State (8-0)
  8. TCU (8-0)
  9. Iowa (8-0)
  10. Florida (7-1)
  11. Stanford (7-1)
  12. Utah (7-1)
  13. Memphis (8-0)
  14. Oklahoma State (8-0)
  15. Oklahoma (7-1)
  16. Florida State (7-1)
  17. Michigan (6-2)
  18. Ole Miss (7-2)
  19. Texas A&M (6-2)
  20. Mississippi State (6-2)
  21. Northwestern (6-2)
  22. Temple (7-1)
  23. UCLA (6-2)
  24. Toledo (7-0)
  25. Houston (8-0)

The Top 4

The committee made it known Tuesday, much like last year, that they don’t give courteously #1 rankings. Ohio State is playing the role of last year’s Florida State and we’ll have to see if they improve on their #3 ranking going forward with off the field question marks at quarterback. The top 2 spots weren’t a surprise at all as Clemson and LSU have the best resumes so far. Both will face huge tests to their umblemished marks this weekend as #1 Clemson hosts #16 Florida State while #2 LSU travels to #4 Alabama. A lot will be settled on the field Saturday and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The #4 and final spot at the table went to Alabama. This wasn’t a surprise to me because the Tide, even with a loss, look like a team built for a Playoff run. Since their defeat to Ole Miss, Alabama has gotten it together and are ready to roll in their huge showdown with #2 LSU. One of these teams place in the top 4 will be gone by this time next week.


At first look, there are no glaring omissions from the initial release of the the rankings. I had this spot open for some of the “Group of 5” teams who have all gotten off to great starts. However, the committee did their homework and placed the teams in the poll instead of filling up the last 5 spots with underachieving Power 5s who have no business in the poll. Good job committee, you got the teams right.

Ranked Too High

(9) Iowa– Forgive me for not jumping on the corn-filled bandwagon to the top 10. The Hawkeyes’ schedule is far too weak to merit a top 10 ranking when there are undefeated and 1-loss teams below them who have played someone also currently ranked in the top 25. I understand they should be in the poll, but if Alabama can crack the top 4 with a loss and be placed ahead of several undefeated teams, then a weak Iowa team can be placed below Memphis and Florida, who both have at least a top 25 win. With no tests on the schedule, Iowa can rest and prepare for the B1G Championship Game, the only time they’ll have to get up for a game. If SEC teams only had to play their best once a year, it’d be all SEC, all the time. I’m not buying a top 10 Iowa team, it’s just not happening.

(19) Texas A&M– The Aggies look like a team in turmoil right now. The committee supposedly look at how the team is playing now and Texas A&M has had a rough last few weeks. Their starting quarterback just got benched and they played a close game with South Carolina over the weekend. While Kyler Murray looks like their best option, they are still a little lost. I know they beat Mississippi State and have identical records, so this is just a slight disagreement, but I would have put the Aggies back with UCLA around #23.

Ranked Too Low

(10) Florida– Entering Jim McElwain’s 1st season, the expectations were modest for the Gators. With a 7-1 start and an SEC East title all but locked up, Florida fans are looking for more. How this team is behind Iowa is absurd. The only blemish on Florida’s resume is a 7-point loss to #2 LSU in Death Valley. That’s as good of a lone loss as possible. Florida has dominant wins over Ole Miss and Georgia and keep moving right along. Their resume far exceeds that of Iowa ahead of them at #9 and the Gators deserve more credit because if things go their way on December 5th, they’ll be SEC Champions.

(13) Memphis– The Memphis Tigers have an absolutely prolific offense led by Paxton Lynch. Having lived in the Memphis area before, I know how the city can rally around a quality sports team, which is exactly what is happening now with this year’s Tigers. Coming out of the American Athletic Conference, Memphis began at a disadvantage. After cruising through the 1st half of their schedule, they took advantage of their national opportunity and beat Ole Miss by a couple of touchdowns. Their schedule to date is tougher than the Hawkeyes ahead of them at #9 and the Tigers have the benefit of playing 2 more ranked teams to bolster their standing. If there was ever a Group of 5 team to make the Playoff, it’s the Memphis Tigers.

What About Mississippi State

I couldn’t dissect all the rankings and not mention Mississippi State. Prior to the rankings release, I said I believed the Bulldogs would be higher than their AP poll rank of #24. I was correct as Mississippi State came in at #20. Mississippi State is situated high enough for a shot at another New Year’s Six bowl. Obviously, the Bulldogs would have to run the table for this to happen, but if it does, Mississippi State would then have wins over 2 teams in the top 25 and a solid 10-2 record. If certain things go their way, the Bulldogs could find themselves in Atlanta playing for the SEC crown. It’s setting up to be an exciting November with a lot to play for and that’s all you can ask for as a fan of the Maroon and White.

Overall, I think the committee did a good job on their 1st shot at it this year. They have too much respect for Iowa and not enough a couple of southern teams, but that stuff has a way of sorting it self out. After one week of the big reveal, on the whole, the committee got it right.