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College Football Playoff rankings and reaction: Texas A&M over Washington was right call
November 1, 2016
9:55 pm
College BattleGround
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The committee got the #4 team right in their first rankings of the season.

Well, I should have seen that coming.

Texas A&M, sitting at 7-1, was slotted above 8-0 Washington in the College Football Playoff’s first rankings of the season, which came out this evening. Here’s the full Top 25 (click here to see who I projected in the New Years’ Six and semifinals):

Rank Conference Week 9 result Next opponent
1 Alabama, 8-0 SEC Bye at LSU
2 Clemson, 8-0 ACC 37-34 W at FSU vs. Syracuse
3 Michigan, 8-0 Big Ten 32-23 W at Michigan State vs. Maryland
4 Texas A&M, 7-1 SEC 52-10 vs. NMSU at Mississippi State
5 Washington, 8-0 Pac-12 31-24 W at Utah at Cal
6 Ohio State, 7-1 Big Ten 24-20 W vs. Northwestern vs. Nebraska
7 Louisville, 7-1 ACC 32-25 W at Virginia at Boston College
8 Wisconsin, 6-2 Big Ten 23-17 W vs. Nebraska at Northwestern
9 Auburn, 6-2 SEC 40-29 W at Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt
10 Nebraska, 7-1 Big Ten 23-17 L at Wisconsin at Ohio State
11 Florida, 6-1 SEC 24-10 W vs. Georgia at Arkansas
12 Penn State, 6-2 Big Ten 62-24 W at Purdue vs. Iowa
13 LSU, 5-2 SEC Bye vs. Alabama
14 Oklahoma, 6-2 Big 12 56-3 W vs. Kansas at Iowa State
15 Colorado, 6-2 Pac-12 Bye vs. UCLA
16 Utah, 7-2 Pac-12 31-24 L vs. Washington Bye
17 Baylor, 6-1 Big 12 35-34 L at Texas vs. TCU
18 Oklahoma State, 6-2 Big 12 37-20 W vs. WVU at Kansas State
19 Virginia Tech, 6-2 ACC 39-36 W at Pitt at Duke
20 West Virginia, 6-1 Big 12 37-20 L at Oklahoma State vs. Kansas
21 North Carolina, 6-2 ACC Bye vs. Georgia Tech
22 Florida State, 5-3 ACC 37-34 L vs. Clemson at NC State
23 Western Michigan, 8-0 MAC Bye at Ball State
24 Boise State, 7-1 Mountain West 30-28 L at Wyoming vs. San Jose State
25 Washington State, 6-2 Pac-12 35-31 W at Oregon State vs. Arizona

Here are my thoughts:

Texas A&M over Washington in 4th was absolutely the right call.

Simply put, the Aggies play a much tougher schedule than the Huskies (7th in the country as opposed to Washington’s 38th-ranked ledger). A&M’s one loss shouldn’t have inflicted much damage at all since it came against Alabama. A resume that includes wins against UCLA and Tennessee (despite looking weaker as time goes on) stands up better than Washington’s.

Ohio State running the table should get them in the semifinals.

The Buckeyes’ remaining schedule consists of #10 Nebraska, at Maryland, at Michigan State, and home against #2 Michigan for The Game. If things hold the way they do, and a one-loss Ohio State team ends up toppling a undefeated Wolverines team in the final week of the regular season en route to a conference title, I’m led to believe that the committee would favor the Buckeyes, even with a single loss, over Washington, and maybe even over Texas A&M (whose remaining schedule consists of two sub.-500 teams, a .500 team, and #13 LSU). As it looks right now, things favor the Buckeyes to sneak in, while I’d be a little afraid if I were an A&M or Huskies fan. Again, that’s if things hold, which is asking a lot.

Like last year, the Gamecocks have a few chances to play spoiler down the stretch.

Of course, Clemson is #2, but Florida is #11, and has a chance to make a move of their own with #13 LSU and #23 Florida State making up their final two games. The Gators’ best hope right now is holding off Auburn and getting into the Sugar Bowl as the SEC’s top non-CFP team, but even if they end up beating Arkansas in Fayetteville, a loss to the man that once led their program for four seasons would be the ultimate stroke of irony and would knock them to a holiday bowl. That says nothing of Clemson, who face Syracuse, Pitt and Wake Forest before the big game after Thanksgiving. Considering how close last year’s edition turned out (even against the worst Gamecocks team in sixteen years) and the near losses Clemson’s endured, I wouldn’t call this year’s contest a sure bet for the Tigers.

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