Examining this week’s College Football Playoff Poll after Top 10 shakeup
Every week, SDS will look at what goes into the College football Playoff selection committee’s latest rankings and what factors will influence their picks based on the previous weekend’s results.
Goodbye Auburn and hello Alabama.
After surviving a Playoff elimination game with a thrilling win at Ole Miss, the defending SEC champs took one on the chin against Texas A&M, an opponent that was ravaged by three other ranked opponents from the West coming into Saturday.
We project that the loss eliminates the previously third-ranked Tigers from Playoff contention and essentially provides Alabama, an overtime winner at LSU, with an express pass into Tuesday night’s updated final four from the selection committee.
The 12-member panel’s final pairings are released on Dec. 7 with supposed transparency and no personal bias. The most likely points of emphasis for the final three weeks are as follows :
- Conference championships won
- Strength of schedule
- Head-to-head competition
- Comparing results against common opponents
- Relative factors that may have altered a team’s performance (injuries)
Here’s an explanation on how we think the committee will take these factors into account.
Making an educated guess based on those factors stated by the CFP committee, here’s how we expect the third Top 10 to look Tuesday night:
- Mississippi State
- Florida State
- Arizona State
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
Conference championship potential
Who it helps: Oregon, Florida State, Mississippi State, TCU, Ohio State
Who it hurts: Auburn, Clemson, Kansas State
Takeaways: Ohio State’s back in the national picture after an emphatic win at Michigan State, a Spartans team that was believed to run the table following an early-season loss to Oregon … TCU passed its last remaining ranked obstacle with a victory over Kansas State and should get it in as long as the Horned Frogs don’t falter at Texas over Thanksgiving weekend … Mississippi State’s trip to Alabama on Saturday determines the SEC champion frontrunner and all but locks in a Playoff berth if the rest of the regular-season slate goes according to plan.
Strength of schedule
Who it helps: TCU, Oregon, Mississippi State, Alabama
Who it hurts: Big Ten contenders, Marshall, Florida State
Takeaways: TCU’s fourth win over a ranked team should carry serious weight with the selection committee this week considering the Horned Frogs were sixth in last week’s poll … Oregon pulled away from Utah, strengthening its case as the nation’s fourth-best team according to last week’s picks … If the committee needed a quality win from fifth-ranked Alabama, they got it Saturday night in Baton Rouge at Tiger Stadium.
Head to head outcomes
Who it helps: TCU, Oregon, Mississippi State, Arizona State
Who it hurts: Michigan State, Kansas State, Auburn
Takeaways: Arizona State made Week 11’s biggest rise, dominating Notre Dame in the desert. The Sun Devils needed a marquee win and that was it, their fourth of the season over a ranked team … Oregon looks the part in the Pac-12 and the September victory over then Top 10-ranked Michigan State is among the best in the country out of conference.
Common opponent results
Who it helps: Mississippi State, TCU, Oregon
Who it hurts: Michigan State, Auburn, Ole Miss
Takeaways: Two losses for SEC West contenders Auburn and Ole Miss dooms each team’s chances the rest of the way, not to mention rivalry weekend challenges against a pair of national championship frontrunners … Mississippi State, like Florida State, has an unbeaten record to boast and could look even better after Week 12 with a win over the Crimson Tide.
Relevant factors including injuries
Who it helps: Ohio State, Oregon
Who it hurts: Arizona
Takeaways: Move over preseason Heisman candidate Braxton Miller because J.T. Barrett’s staking his claim at the quarterback position for your Buckeyes. Since an early-season loss to Virginia Tech, Ohio State’s replacement star for the injured Miller is playing at a high level and helped the Buckeyes roll into East Lansing and dispose of previous Big Ten fave Michigan State.