Oklahoma football: Will the committee drop Baylor?
The College Football Playoff rankings will be unveiled in about 30 minutes, and here are five things to look for when ESPN unveils the list.
1. How will the committee treat Baylor? The committee clearly underrated Baylor last week, at No. 13. Then the Bears blew a 25-point lead and lost at home to OU, 34-31. Baylor deserves a better rating than 13th, but it’s possible the committee drops the Bears even further. If so, that hurts the Sooners as an OU-Baylor rematch looms in the Big 12 Championship Game.
2. How will the committee treat Minnesota? The Gophers rose to No. 8 after beating Penn State but lost to Iowa 23-19 Saturday. Can Minnesota stay high? The Gophers’ overall resume’ is close to Baylor’s.
3. How will the committee view Alabama, which beat Mississippi State but lost quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The committee long has said it doesn’t project ahead, but Bama without Tua is not Bama with Tua. Will the committee avoid the temptation to drop the Crimson Tide?
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4. Will Oklahoma stay behind Oregon and Utah? The Ducks were ranked sixth last week, the Utes seventh and the Sooners 10th. But OU has that marquee win in Waco, a far better win than either Oregon or Utah possesses.
5. Does Auburn drop much? The Tigers lost a tight 21-14 home game to Georgia, and now Auburn has three good losses – Georgia, plus at LSU and at Florida. Auburn was ranked 12th last week, and if the Tigers keep falling – potentially even in two weeks, when they play Alabama – does that hurt Oregon’s resume’, since Auburn beat the Ducks in the season opener.
Here are my rankings, and again, I differ from the committee. I don’t rank teams at all on the eye test. I go by the resume’.
1. LSU 10-0: Everyone is worried about LSU’s defense, but for now, the Tigers have the nation’s best resume’ – wins at Texas and Alabama, home wins over Florida and Auburn.
2. Georgia 9-1: Why the Bulldogs at No. 2? Georgia has three huge wins – Notre Dame in Athens, Florida in Jacksonville, at Auburn.
3. Ohio State 10-0: If the Buckeyes beat Penn State and Michigan, they could catch LSU. It will be close.
4. Penn State 9-1: The Nittany Lions have some good wins. Pitt and Indiana quietly have had good seasons, plus the Nittany Lions won at Iowa and beat Michigan. And the loss (to Minnesota) was quality.
5. Oklahoma 9-1: The Sooners had a good resume’ last week – the committee ranked OU 10th -- but now that resume’ includes a win at Baylor. Big difference.
6. Clemson 11-0: The Tigers have had a good season, but that schedule is so weak. Clemson’s best three wins? I guess Texas A&M, at Louisville, Wake Forest.
7. Oregon 9-1: The Ducks have a better loss than does OU (the Sooners lost at Kansas State), but OU has the better win (winning at Baylor trumps winning at Southern Cal).
8. Baylor 9-1: I’m sorry. But I’m not going to downgrade the Bears too much. They’ve got wins over Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Kansas State. Two of those were on the road.
9. Utah 9-1: This is Oregon’s resume’, except the Utes lost to Southern Cal, which is not in Auburn’s league.
10. Alabama 9-1: Bama beat Texas A&M; the Crimson Tide’s next-best win is either 5-5 Tennessee, 4-6 Duke, 4-7 South Carolina or 4-7 Ole Miss.
11. Florida 9-2: Two great losses (LSU, Georgia, neither in Gainesville) and victory over Auburn. I might should the Gators ranked ahead of Bama.
12. Michigan 8-2: The Wolverines are playing much better. Wins over Iowa and Notre Dame are impressive.
13. Minnesota 9-1: It’s really been a two-game season for the Golden Gophers. Home win over Penn State, road loss at Iowa.
14. Auburn 7-3: The Tigers’ second-best win (at A&M) is better than Alabama’s best win (home against A&M).
15. Notre Dame 8-2: No marquee victory, but a series of solid wins – Louisville, Virginia, Southern Cal, Virginia Tech, Navy.
16. Wisconsin 8-2: The loss at Illinois haunts the Badgers.
17. Iowa 7-3: Beating Minnesota, the Hawkeyes have a good win to put with beating Iowa State.
18. Oklahoma State 7-3: Even the Cowboys’ season-opening win at Oregon State is looking decent, since the Beavers are 5-5.
19. Memphis 9-1: The Tigers are the favorites to get the mid-majors’ New Year’s Six bowl bid, but Memphis might have to beat Cincinnati twice.
20. Texas A&M 7-3: No good wins, but the losses (Clemson, Auburn, Alabama) are pristine.