College Football Playoff Rankings: Ohio State, Michigan both in top four
The third CFP Rankings release of 2016 is here and these are the top 25 teams in the nation
Upset Saturday -- with the Nos. 2-3-4 teams all going down in the same day for the first time since 1985 -- resulted in some shake-up to the third edition of the College Football Playoff Rankings, though not as much as you might think.
The CFP Selection Committee gave us some juicy premature seminfinal matchups that almost certainly will not be the same in three weeks. No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Clemson in a rematch of last year's championship game, and No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Michigan which needs no further explanation.
Unfortunately, the Buckeyes and Wolverines will play each other in Columbus, Ohio, next weekend and there are no realistic scenarios that have them playing a rematch in a CFP semifinal.
The choice by the committee to put Michigan ahead of Clemson was interesting. I have to believe that was more about the quality of each team's loss, which favors Michigan, instead of strength of schedule, which favors Clemson. The Wolverines do have three wins against teams in the top 10 this week, all at home, of course.
Strength of schedule was also cast aside in the Washington vs Wisconsin debate for No. 6. Wisconsin has an extra loss but has played a much tougher schedule than the Huskies. Washington benefits this week from Stanford being added to the rankings, giving the Huskies another win against a current top 25 team.
Penn State rounds out the top eight, and that is the line of demarcation at the moment. Those are the eight teams battling for the top four in the final CFP Rankings. Sorry, No. 9 Oklahoma, but there just isn't a realistic path to the top four for you.
Let's check out the entire top 25 with additional analysis after the break.
1. Alabama (10-0)
2. Ohio State (9-1)
3. Michigan (9-1)
4. Clemson (9-1)
5. Louisville (9-1)
6. Washington (9-1)
7. Wisconsin (8-2)
8. Penn State (8-2)
9. Oklahoma (8-2)
10. Colorado (8-2)
11. Oklahoma State (8-2)
12. Utah (8-2)
13. USC (7-3)
14. West Virginia (8-1)
15. Auburn (7-3)
16. LSU (6-3)
17. Florida State (7-3)
18. Nebraska (8-2)
19. Tennessee (7-3)
20. Boise State (9-1)
21. Western Michigan (10-0)
22. Washington State (8-2)
23. Florida (7-2)
24. Stanford (7-3)
25. Texas A&M (7-3)
I remain baffled how Oklahoma State can be rated so highly. The Cowboys have the worst strength of schedule of any team in the top 20, and yes, I know Boise State is No. 20. They also have the worst loss of any team in the top 20.
Boise State passed undefeated Western Michigan for the honor of being the highest-rated team from the Group of Five. I'm not really sure why that move came this week, but it was inevitable. I have maintained all along that a one-loss Mountain West champion would eclipse WMU if it remains undefeated. Boise State still has to win its league, and with Wyoming's loss last week, that possibility is greater.
Texas A&M took the biggest beating of the week, falling 17 spots to No. 25 after losing its second straight game to a team from the state of Mississippi.
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