Judging the college football rankings: Committee gets playoff top seven just right –

The first College Football Playoff Rankings of 2017 have been released, and it’s no surprise that Georgia and Alabamaare the top two teams. After that? Things get interesting. There are a lot of teams with arguments to be made on their behalf at the moment, so who is underrated? Who’s overrated? Did the CFP Selection Committee get anybody just right?

Let’s break down it all down below.

Just Right — Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State

Kudos to the committee for hitting this one out of the park on the very first week of the rankings. These rankings are in line with a lot of the things the committee has told us in recent years. While it cares about your record, the strength of that record matters, as does who you beat and who you lose to.

Now, on their own, both Oklahoma and Ohio State have a better win than any Clemson has picked up. The Sooners have beaten No. 6 Ohio State, while Ohio State just beat No. 7 Penn State. Clemson’s best win is No. 13 Virginia Tech but that’s followed up by a win over No. 14 Auburn. Those head-to-head wins all played out from Nos. 5-7.

Oklahoma’s second-best win is Texas. Ohio State’s second-best win is … I don’t know. I guess it could be either Nebraska, Indiana or even Army. That’s the point. Neither Oklahoma or Ohio State have the overall resume strength to deserve to be ranked higher than Clemson. Now, both have better losses than Clemson does, but the committee has shown us plenty of times before it values your wins more than who you lose to.

Underrated — No. 15 Iowa State

This is where I start to get a bit confused. As we just went over, the committee values who you’ve beaten. Well, what team in the country has a better pair of wins than the Cyclones? They’ve beaten No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 8 TCU.

Yes, the losses to Iowa and Texas should hold this team back, and I’m not advocating for Iowa State to be ranked in the top 10 or anything, but they should be a few spots higher. I’d rank the Cyclones ahead of Auburn, Virginia Tech and Washington right now based on those wins. At the very least, the Clones should be ahead of Auburn. Both are two-loss teams, and Auburn doesn’t have a win near the quality of Iowa State’s top two.

Overrated — No. 12 Washington

I hinted at this a moment ago, but it needs its very own section. First of all, let me just say that the highest Pac-12 team being ranked No. 12 in the initial rankings tells you just about everything you need to know about the conference’s playoff odds this year. The fact that Washington’s also overrated should drive the point home even further.

I’m a bit confused by some of the logic here. By ranking Wisconsin and Miami at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively, the committee sent a loud message: “It doesn’t matter if you’re undefeated if you haven’t beaten anybody.”

Well, what has Washington done besides be 7-1 to warrant such a high rankings? It doesn’t have an impressive win or an impressive loss. Seriously, look at the teams Washington has beaten this season and tell me which one is the most impressive. It might be Fresno State.

Underrated — No. 18 UCF

All that should matter to UCF fans is that they are the highest-ranked Group of Five team. No matter what the Knights do this season, they won’t end up in the top four, so the number next to them doesn’t matter as much as their position related to No. 23 Memphis at the moment. Still, No. 18 seems a bit low for a team that’s dominated its competition to this point. I know that being undefeated only gets you so far, but it should get you a little further than 18.

Overrated — No. 16 Mississippi State

This is related a bit to my feelings about UCF. I’m not exactly angry about Mississippi State being at No. 16, but I do think that it should be a couple of spots lower. If you knocked both the Bulldogs and USC down a peg each and moved UCF to No. 16, I think it’d be right.

My bone of contention with the Bulldogs is that their 37-7 win over LSU should be worth something, but it doesn’t have that second resume win. I mean, unless you think beating Texas A&M is something special this year. Combine that with State’s two losses. Yes, they came to No. 1 Georgia and No. 14 Auburn, and there’s no shame there. It’s just that those two losses came by an average of 33.5 points. Losing to good teams should work in your favor but not if you get blown out by them.

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