As we approach the final rankings of the season, it is clear that the committee has shown a strong bias towards Ohio State. Despite their somewhat questionable resume, the Buckeyes continue to be ranked higher than other deserving teams. Their strength of record is certainly impressive, but when we evaluate their wins, it becomes evident that they may not be as deserving as the committee thinks.
Ohio State has two marquee wins against Notre Dame and Penn State. However, both of these teams have shown significant weaknesses throughout the season. Notre Dame suffered a humiliating loss to Louisville and fell to a struggling Clemson team. Penn State, on the other hand, has only managed to impress against Iowa. These wins don’t necessarily prove that Ohio State is worthy of their high ranking.
Perhaps even more perplexing than Ohio State’s position is that of Oregon. The Ducks have a lackluster resume, yet are ranked ahead of teams with more impressive wins. It is true that their fate will be decided in the Pac-12 title game, but the fact that they have the opportunity to erase all that happened in the regular season is unfair to teams like Washington.
Washington has already beaten Oregon and has two more Quad 1 wins than their rival. Yet, if Oregon manages to win in the title game, they will replace Washington in the playoff picture. This undermines the integrity of the regular season and raises questions about the importance placed on conference title games. If the playoff expands to 12 teams, these issues will become even more problematic.
One team that seems to have been overlooked by the committee is Oklahoma. Despite having more wins against Quad 1 opponents than Missouri or Ole Miss, the Sooners find themselves ranked behind these teams. Various ranking systems, such as SP+ and FPI, also place Oklahoma higher than their two-loss counterparts. This oversight has significant implications, as it pushes the Sooners out of contention for a New Year’s Six game.
The committee’s failure to properly evaluate the two-loss teams and their resumes highlights a flaw in the ranking process. While some argument can be made that Oklahoma might not be the best of the two-loss teams, it is clear that they shouldn’t be ranked fourth. This oversight diminishes the value of the Sooners’ season and impacts their postseason opportunities.
Another issue that arises from the committee’s rankings is the exclusion of non-Power 5 teams. Only Tulane and Liberty managed to make the cut, with Tulane being ranked at a surprisingly low 22nd. This ranking seems unjust when we consider the fact that Tulane’s only loss came against the 11th-ranked team in the country without their starting quarterback.
On the other hand, teams like Tennessee find themselves ranked higher despite their unimpressive performances. The Volunteers lost by a combined 71 points to the top three teams they faced and had their best win against Kentucky by a mere six points. This inconsistency in the rankings diminishes the value of teams from smaller conferences and perpetuates the Power 5 bias.
One aspect that has been lacking in this year’s rankings is the absence of significant upsets. The lack of upsets robs us of the opportunity to engage in passionate debates about the rankings. It is the essence of college football to argue about meaningless rankings, but without any compelling arguments, the anger and frustration feel somewhat hollow.
The committee’s rankings have been questionable this season. From the bias towards Ohio State, the preposterous ranking of Oregon, the overlooking of Oklahoma, the exclusion of non-Power 5 teams, to the lack of upsets, there are several issues that need to be addressed. As the playoff system continues to evolve, it is imperative that the committee reevaluates their criteria and ensures a fair and transparent ranking process. Only then can we truly determine the most deserving teams for the postseason.