Gregg Giannotti and Brian Jones are trying to make sense of this week’s College Football Playoff rankings, but they’re having a little bit of trouble, as are countless college football fans across America.
That’s understandable. After all, LSU dropped 11 spots after losing by 10 points to the No. 1 team in the country, while Nebraska dropped just nine spots after losing by 59 to the then-No. 6, now-No. 5 team in the country.
How does that make sense?
“It’s all about what the teams do,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “But I think the reason people see the disparity and wonder what the committee is thinking about is it’s about the teams that are around you, above and below you. What did they do? How close are you to them? I’ll give you an example. I’ll take you inside the room a little bit. Last week, Washington and Texas A&M was very close, and A&M just had a (better) resume and from what the committee members had seen felt like A&M was a little bit better. Fast-forward to this week, clean sheet of paper, a little different scenario, Ohio State doesn’t have quite the resume in comparison to Washington – but very close, though. And as you know, (there’s) lots more football left to be played.”
Texas A&M debuted at No. 4 despite losing 33-14 at Alabama. The Aggies then lost 35-28 at Mississippi State, which is 4-5 and lost to a 4-5 Sun Belt team earlier this year (South Alabama). Nevertheless, the Aggies dropped just four spots to No. 8 in this week’s poll.
“I knew you were going to ask me about A&M,” Hancock said, laughing. “The thing on A&M this week was they beat Auburn, and we said, ‘Golly, can we really rank them below Auburn? There was a head-to-head there.’ We felt like Auburn was ninth and that’s the place where they belonged and eighth was the right place. Head-to-head is a factor. Not the end-all, be-all of course. The other thing is the score of that A&M/Alabama game, you’re right: It was a decisive score, but A&M hung with them for a long time. But these are all really close decisions.”
LSU (5-3), meanwhile, fell to No. 24 despite having three losses to top-10 teams by an average of 5.7 points.
“Here’s the thing on LSU,” Hancock said. “Three losses, of course. All losses against good teams but not a quality win. That was all a discussion about LSU. That was a conversation. Nebraska, good resume, had a couple of losses to a (couple of) top-10 teams – Wisconsin and Ohio State – or they might have fallen farther. I think we’ve got Nebraska in the right place.”