Coaches are already annoyed about the first CFP Rankings before it's even released
Nick Saban and Lincoln Riley are two coaches who will be ignoring the playoff rankings
The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Those rankings -- or at least portions of them -- will be parsed through and debated at length because they're ultimately there for entertainment purposes. The final rankings on Dec. 3 are what matter.
Until then, Alabama coach Nick Saban is staying away from the weekly show because it is very much not part of #TheProcess.
"I could care less about the poll," Saban told reporters via ESPN. "What significance does a poll have right now? All we're talking about right here is the challenge of our season, and where are we going to be in the poll if we don't play well in the next four games? So I'm focused on the next four games. I could care less about the poll. You won't see me waste any time watching TV or who is 1 and who is 2. It doesn't really matter. What really matters is how you play the rest of the season."
Saban is also advising his players to do the same, as there's a good chance the Crimson Tide will be ranked either No. 1 or No. 2.
"If our players think anything of (the poll), then that could be an issue," Saban said. "These are the things we try to categorize as poison that you really don't want your players to be focused on."
Saban, of course, was referencing his "" remarks about players believing in their own hype.
To Saban's point, the first playoff rankings don't mean much anyway. The flip side is what little it does mean has benefitted his team in the past. In the first three years of the playoff, only three different teams -- Alabama, Clemson and Florida State -- ended up making the field after being ranked among the top four when the selection committee released its initial rankings. Conversely, Ohio State was 16th when the first-ever rankings were released in 2014 and the Buckeyes went on to win the whole thing.
You also won't find first-year Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley getting too caught up in where the one-loss Sooners are ranked come Tuesday.
"If we need to campaign, then we've got the wrong kind of system," Riley said during Monday's Big 12 teleconference. "This is not a political campaign. It's, 'Who's the best team?' This league had some great wins in the nonconference. We were one of those that did, and then top to bottom, I think the rankings have reflected how strong the country thinks this league is top to bottom. So hopefully we don't. We shouldn't have to. That's not our job. We're football coaches, so we've got to prepare our teams to do their best. That's what we're doing right now."
What both coaches are saying is technically true. All they can do is try to win games week after week. Otherwise, none of the talking points will even matter. And if we've learned anything about the playoff after three years, it's that being a traditional blue-blood helps. However, with the way the playoff is covered, it will be almost impossible for coaches to shield players from it or keep at least one eye on it themselves, despite what they may say publicly.
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