The College Football Playoff committee is often the recipient of anger and backlash, but this year – at least through the first set of rankings – that hasn’t really been the case. Fans can nitpick here and there, but overall, the rankings – which slotted Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Clemson in the top four – were fairly straightforward.
“I think people know we had several hard decisions to make, but I think overall feedback has been good,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Penn State were all kind of (grouped) in there together, and Oklahoma just, very simply, had that significant head-to-head win on the road at Ohio State. Neither Ohio State nor Penn State had that. But these are really, really good teams (with a) very close margin.”
There are four undefeated teams ranked in the top 10, but while Georgia (8-0) and Alabama (8-0) are first and second, Wisconsin (8-0) and Miami (7-0) are ninth and tenth. Why? Well, because the Badgers haven’t beaten anyone of note, and the Hurricanes haven’t beaten anyone convincingly.
“Wisconsin, they run that system so well and they’re executing at a really high level right now,” Hancock said. “But their best win was at Northwestern, which is 5-3. We’re just waiting for them to show what they can do against a little better competition. And Miami kind of reminds us of the FSU team (in 2014) when they just kind of struggled and kept winning but kept struggling. We’re just waiting for them to show a little more.”
Both Wisconsin and Miami, though, will have opportunities for statements wins in the weeks ahead. The Badgers could face No. 6 Ohio State (7-1) in the Big Ten Championship, while Miami hosts No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-1) and No. 3 Notre Dame (7-1) each of the next two Saturdays.
“For us, all we can do is rank them based on what we’ve seen so far,” Hancock said. “And yeah, we’re looking ahead. Wisconsin has a game coming up against Michigan, and looking at their schedule, some of the teams they had on their schedule weren’t as good as they anticipated them to be, so that’s kind of a little bad luck for them. But we’re just waiting for them to show what they can do against a little better competition.”
Iowa State (6-2), meanwhile, is ranked 15th despite beating No. 5 Oklahoma (7-1) and No. 8 TCU (7-1). If the Cyclones win out, could we see a two-loss team in the playoff?
Maybe, maybe not.
“I think someday there will be a two-loss team in the playoff,” Hancock said. “I don’t know whether it’ll be this year or not.”