College Football Playoff Rankings

Two big takeaways I have from the Midwest.

College Football Playoff Rankings

Will Kuiper, Sports Reporter

I love college football. It fills my Saturday with joy, disbelief, great games, and upsets. And, oh my, there were some upscreen-shot-2016-11-16-at-6-23-59-pmsets last week. After a week where teams ranked at 2, 3, and 4 lost, the rankings were certain for a shakeup. To the left are the rankings after week 10. There are several opportunities for the rankings to change yet again. However, certain teams like Louisville, Clemson, and Alabama should stay in their respective spots barring an unforeseen upset (which happens a lot in college football). The real drama takes place in the BIG Ten and Western Michigan.

So why is Western Michigan not gaining any respect? They have a ranking at number 21 that did not change from last week. The surprise is the team that jumped them: Boise State. Boise is a one loss team that is not even in the driver’s seat to win their conference. Back on the subject of Western Michigan, what’s not to love about the Broncos? Their rushing offense is the 16th best in the nation at 242 yards per game. The Broncos complement their ground game with arguably the nation’s best receiver in Corey Davis. They only allow 19.3 points per game which is ranked 11th in the FBS. They even have a win over Northwestern who is a solid team in the BIG Ten. Western Michigan, without a loss, deserves to be the Group of 5 team in a New Year’s Six Bowl. I don’t like the disrespect from the committee towards Western. With that being said, this weekend presents a great chance to grab national attention on a big stage when ESPN’s College Gameday comes to town. Western will win this weekend and hopefully gain some national attention specifically from Grapevine, Texas where the College Football Playoff committee meets on a weekly basis.

My second takeaway comes in the BIG Ten conference. The committee has left themselves a massive dilemma by putting 4 BIG Ten teams in the top 8. The highest ranked of them is Ohio State. They pose the biggest dilemma in the eyes of the public. To this point, only conference champions have been allowed to dance in college football’s final four. But Ohio State has no chance to play in the BIG Ten Championship (even if they win out) because of their loss to Penn State. However, Ohio State is playing great football coming down the stretch with quarterback J.T. Barrett and playmaker Curtis Samuel taking control on offense. Ohio State is also backed by a stout defense full of NFL talent. Ohio State also has a great resume with a solid nonconference win against the probable champion of the Big 12: Oklahoma. Ohio State also has 3 wins over now top 25 teams, assuming a win against Michigan in the regular season finale. Everyone believes it is likely that Ohio State will be in the playoff without a conference championship, but they are an interesting test for the committee to prove how much a conference championship really means. The third ranked team in the nation, Michigan, has a seemingly simple task. The Wolverines must win out to make the playoff. Michigan has Indiana coming to the Big House next week. They will be starting a new quarterback, presumably John O’Korn, after Wilton Speight suffered a collarbone injury in the loss at Iowa. They then travel to Columbus to play in the biggest rivalry game in the nation against #2 Ohio State.  Michigan would then go on to the Big Ten Championship, assuming they defeat both Indiana and OSU. However, Michigan would not play in the BIG Ten Championship if they lose to Ohio State. If Michigan loses that game, Penn State would play Wisconsin for the BIG Ten crown (barring any upsets). If this scenario takes place, the committee would have to take time to think about what it really values. Is it resume? Is it strength of schedule? Is it being a conference champ? Is it how a team looks when they play? Is it margin of victory? The answer right now is that no one knows. Not even the committee knows. They probably would want to see the much cleaner scenario of Michigan winning out, but if that does not happen then the college football world should be able to tell what criteria matters most to the committee. By putting 4 BIG Ten teams in the top eight, the committee definitely set themselves up for a chaotic end to the season.