Ordinarily, this would be when I upload the most recent version of our aggregate poll. However, the Playoff Committee released their first rankings last night and I am still fine tuning the Bench Points Power Index calculation. As expected, it is fraught with controversy, but that’s how it goes. Also, whoever is in charge of picking a spokesman for the committee needs to bench Arkansas Athletic Director, Jeff Long, effective immediately. But, that’s a story for another time. The great thing about these rankings is that 8 teams (Alabama, LSU, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, Baylor, and TCU) either will or will potentially play one or more teams in the top 10 before the final 4 are determined. November is going to be awesome!
Join me now as I overreact to arbitrary positioning!
10. Florida Gators
Florida has had the most surprising season of anyone this year. I will fight you over this. With a win over Vandy, the Gators clench the SEC East and secure a bid to Atlanta. I have to think the committee realizes that if Florida wins out, they will be a 1 loss SEC champion. With the schedule, it’s hard to keep a team with that resume out. Florida is here, but is in striking distance. I have to think the Gators aren’t higher because of the significant loss of Grier. Still, that didn’t seem to affect Notre Dame, but more on that in a moment.
9. Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa is in a similar situation as Florida. They’re on the weak side of the conference, and don’t have to play ALL of the best teams either. The Gators may play 2 out of 3 of the toughest teams in the West, but Iowa is undefeated. Iowa will not linger long at 9, as they will probably be jumped by the better one loss teams in the poll. The B1G is just so weak and that goes double for Iowa’s division. We just don’t know what we’ve got with the Hawkeyes.
8. TCU Horned Frogs
Honestly, this is a kind ranking for TCU. They have had to go to the mat multiple times this year with atrocious teams just to stay undefeated. Boykin is the real deal and the only thing keeping them afloat. I agree with the committee about them being an unknown. The Big XII is the worst conference in the country. Sure, the “good” teams score a lot, but no one plays any semblance of defense. It’s basically an entire league running 7 on 7. I think TCU loses to Baylor, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State (which is this weekend).
7. Michigan State Spartans
Sparty is a fraud buoyed by anti-OSU/Michigan sentiment. This team’s most impressive win came against a lousy Oregon team, and it took a miracle worthy of melting down the message boards to beat Michigan. I’m not bullish on Dantonio’s squad, but they have every chance in the world to prove me wrong and win the B1G. If that happens, you can’t keep them out of the playoff. But, at this point, they can’t lose at all and stay in the conversation. That luxury is afforded to maybe the top 4. Maybe. Sparty is probably put out by Ohio State.
6. Baylor Bears
I’m not loving that we’ve just all gotten over the fact that Baylor was planning on a rapist being on the team, and it wasn’t until he was convicted that Baylor was willing to discipline him. That’s definitely a story for another time, but it gives depth to why Baylor is 6th. They’ve been winning, and winning big. It’s the panacea for the masses. Baylor hasn’t played anyone either, but they’ve beaten these nobody teams like they were supposed to. No, we have no idea if Baylor is any good because again, the Big XII sucks, but they sure look like it. Until they play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU, we won’t know. And even then, will we really? No.
5. Notre Dame
Uh, excuse me? I’m confused. Did Brian Kelly choke out Jeff Long, too? Notre Dame could audition for the next season of The Walking Dead they’ve had so many injuries. I think the Golden Domers are about 3 spots too high. They play Pitt this weekend and then Stanford to round out the season. If they lose either of those games, I think the Irish free fall because they’ll have two losses. Still, no matter where they fall to, it will invariably be too high.
4. Alabama Crimson Tide
What. The. Hell. Alabama has played great football since losing (at home, to Mississippi), but I think any narrative about Notre Dame being overrated would have to be drowned out by this. How in the hell do you justify putting Alabama at 4? This team’s ceiling should have been 6 at best. I get that the committee can half ass it these first couple of weeks, but this sends the message that if the season ended today, Alabama would deserve to play Clemson in the playoff. That’s simply not true and damages the committee’s credibility. It’s one thing to rank them in the top 10, it’s something else entirely to put them in the playoff already.
3. Ohio State
Oh, committee, you almost made it. Ohio State, while undefeated unlike Alabama, has not looked like a top team this year yet. Now, the notion that the champ should get to defend if they go undefeated is certainly a consideration here. However, I think that school of thought prevents the committee from filling the bracket with the most deserving teams. I return to my argument about Alabama: you’re saying that if the season ended today, Ohio State has shown that it deserves to play for the national title in the playoff. Again, that statement is unequivocally false at present. I think Ohio State can play their way in, but right now, I’m not sold.
2. LSU Tigers
LSU is the only undefeated SEC team. They have the Heisman front runner in Leonard Fournette. They also play Alabama to settle a lot of this on Saturday–I like LSU in that one by the way. The Tigers are nowhere near complete on offense, but a stud running back covers a lot of blemishes. LSU is one of the few teams that would be deserving if the season ended today. They have a tough road ahead to Atlanta, and a potential rematch of their toughest game of the season so far. If LSU clears that gauntlet, there’s no way they get left out.
1. Clemson Tigers
Ok, seriously, Dabo. You’re running out of opportunities to Clemson your way out of consideration this season. The Tigers are deserving of the number one ranking presently, but I don’t think they’ll keep it. As the stakes rise for the SEC schools, I don’t think Clemson’s games will be able to keep up. If either LSU or Alabama win out, I think they jump the Tigers in the final poll. But, Clemson would make the playoff right now. They have a tough game against FSU, and then a trap game in the ACC championship–sad but true. Unless they get snakebit by South Carolina (which would forever cement Dabo and “clemsoning”), the should cruise with a win over the Seminoles this weekend.
I don’t love the first poll, but I don’t hate it either. Obviously, the committee has rolled in a lot of opportunity for mobility. It’s going to be a bloodbath (Think Red Wedding: College Football Edition) and quite a race to the finish.
My poll (if the season ended today):
6. Notre Dame
8. Ohio State
Obviously, my poll is the best and no one can find anything on it to argue with me about.