Playoff committee not buying into Bama with latest rankings – 3 takeaways
The college football playoff selection committee released its next round of rankings on Tuesday night. The committee put the Alabama Crimson Tide in the No. 5 slot. Auburn came in at No. 15.
Here are three takeaways:
1. If you are going to lose a game, lose to a bad team. For the second week in a row, Alabama sits one spot behind Georgia in spite of the Tide’s season of offensive dominance and a lone loss to the No. 1 team in the country, LSU. Alabama ranks 8th in total offense, while Georgia ranks 47th.
Georgia also has the worst loss of any team in the top 10. Georgia lost, at home, to a team bearing this profile:
Total Offense: 79th
Rushing Offense: 73rd
Passing Offense: 69th
Scoring Offense: 99th
3rd Down Conversion %: 120th
Total Defense: 58th
Rush Defense: 61st
Pass Defense: 66th
Scoring Defense: 49th
That’s 4-7 South Carolina, a team down to its third-string quarterback against Georgia.
Committee chairman Rob Mullens told the ESPN studio crew that the committee considered the wins on Georgia’s resume to be impressive. While Georgia does have some good wins, the metrics point to Alabama as the better team.
ESPN reporter David Hale compiled a list of useful metrics, the sum total of which places Alabama as the third best team in college football.
There will always be debate surrounding the rankings. When Alabama took a close loss to LSU, it lost control of its own destiny. But the committee seems to have already made up its mind about where it thinks Alabama should ultimately land and is selling its stock in the Tide.
2. Bama can force the committee’s hand with a big win over Auburn. We wrote last week about the inconsistency with which the committee handled the Tide’s ranking. Things could intensify should head coach Nick Saban’s squad get a statement win against Auburn. Try this scenario on for size:
Alabama wins convincingly in the Iron Bowl.
LSU, Ohio State and Clemson win out.
Oregon finishes as a one-loss PAC 12 champion.
Do they take Oregon over Alabama even with Alabama having just beaten the team which beat Oregon?
Mullens justified the committee’s placement of Penn State ahead of seven-time national champion Minnesota (a team which defeated Penn State only a week earlier) largely based on the results when facing a common opponent: Iowa. Penn State beat Iowa, while Minnesota suffered a loss to Iowa.
Consistency would lend to Alabama getting the nod over Oregon based on the results on the field against a common opponent. But don’t count on it.
3. The Big Ten is all set. With three teams currently in the top 10, the committee is saying there will be at least one Big Ten team in the playoff. Even after its dud against Iowa, Minnesota came in at No. 10, Penn State at No. 8 and Ohio State at No. 2. The committee has positioned those teams so that the conference champ is in under any circumstance.
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia