Takeaways from the third Playoff poll
Sorry. That’s what the top 10 of the Playoff poll was like over the weekend. Why? Because all of them won and there was zero drama.
“Not much is all likely to change tonight.”
That’s what Rece Davis kicked off the show with. Yawn.
But there were takeaways nonetheless:
We saw all of the following things happen for the first time ever in the history of the Playoff poll:
- Top 10 remains the same
- UCF earns highest Group of 5 ranking (No. 11)
- Alabama bests own record with 15th No. 1 ranking
Let’s break down each of those things, all of which have their own significance.
We knew that the top 10 was likely going to have very minimal shakeup after every top-10 team won. The fact that the top 10 stayed exactly the same is a sign that nobody got any résumé-boosting wins this past weekend.
Actually, I’d argue that Alabama did the most to help itself in Week 11 by posting another shutout against a ranked team. I’m even more of the belief that the Tide still have a loss to give, which I don’t believe anyone else does. Nobody else has multiple shutouts against ranked teams.
As for UCF getting its highest ranking ever, the Knights still don’t have a chance to make the field unless all hell breaks loose in the final weeks. Nobody was hurt from the top 10 having a perfect week more than UCF. And yes, Cincinnati getting into the top 25 helped, but the problem is that even if UCF wins that game with College GameDay in the house, the Bearcats will likely fall out of the top 25.
Is it still a sign that the selection committee is taking UCF seriously? Sure, but nobody ranked lower than ninth at this point has made the field. Do we suddenly think a Group of 5 team is going to become the first? I don’t.
2. There could still be another week of LSU ahead of Ohio State, Washington State, West Virginia
The reason the Tigers were still given the nod ahead of those 1-loss teams is for the exact same reason I said last week. That is, LSU has the best résumé even with 2 losses. The blowout win against Georgia keeps looking better and the Mississippi State win means LSU still has multiple wins against current ranked teams by double digits.
Ohio State can’t say that, neither can Washington State and nor can West Virginia. Here’s the problem. Next week won’t change that.
Yes, LSU only plays Rice. Those 1-loss teams actually face Power 5 teams…but none of whom have winning records. Kansas, Maryland and Oklahoma State aren’t about to change résumés.
But fear not, fans of 1-loss teams. LSU has a ceiling. All of those teams still have a chance to end the season with ranked teams — LSU won’t unless Texas A&M somehow crawls back into the rankings — and they’re all still eligible to play in conference championships. LSU isn’t.
So don’t waste your breath arguing about the “disrespect” those 1-loss teams are getting.
3. No, Ohio State doesn’t control its own destiny
Leaving 1-loss Ohio State at No. 10 is proof of that. I firmly believe that. Keep in mind that the Buckeyes still have just 1 win against a current top-25 team, which would change with potential wins against Michigan and Northwestern.
Having said that, there are plenty of scenarios in which Ohio State gets left out. Clearly.
If the current top 3 win out and either Oklahoma or West Virginia does, I believe the Buckeyes will be on the outside looking in. There’s even a scenario in which Alabama loses to 1-loss Georgia in the SEC Championship and both teams are in ahead of the Buckeyes.
And again, let’s not forget that Ohio State would have to accomplish multiple firsts to make the field:
- No Playoff team has ever lost by more than 23 points
- No Playoff team has ever been ranked lower than No. 9 this late in the rankings
I understand that Ohio State is coming off a solid win at Michigan State, which fell out of the top 25. Still. The Buckeyes haven’t looked like an elite team the past month or so, which is why the selection committee hasn’t treated them like one.
Is Ohio State still alive for a Playoff spot? Sure, but let’s not pretend like the Buckeyes have an automatic bid waiting for them if they can get to the trophy presentation in Indianapolis.