The one guaranteed New Year Day's bowl game for the non-power five teams has always been against those five league champions. So, getting ranked in the College Football Playoff committee top 25 is not really important, but it is a big deal if one does get ranked.
For starters, everyone would know what team is ahead and we are not all guessing using various data -- and probably data that the selection committee is barred from using -- to try to figure out if it is Marshall, the MAC champion or the Mountain West champion is the front runner.
Maybe the committee is keeping everyone guessing so that there is a big reveal once the group announces the playoff matchups and the bowl pairings.
Despite not having a team ranked there is some good news about the non-power teams. Chairman Jeff Long did say that Marshall was "very close" to being ranked in the top 25 this week. The committee also discussed ranking Memphis, Colorado State, Northern Illinois and Boise State. It seems from that wording that Marshall is the highest rated team amongst this group, but it seems close.
What the committee seems to be doing is placing a high emphasis on strength of schedule, but not on wins. Minnesota remained at No. 25 after losing to Ohio State. Yet, the Golden Gophers best win -- according to F/+ rankings -- is Iowa at 54 and then Iowa at 55. Overall, Minnesota is 35th by Football Outsiders rankings. Had Minnesota's schedule been out of this world then fine keep them ranked, but it is not.
Boise State's best win is over Colorado State and the Rams are No. 31 in F/+ rankings and overall Boise State is 36th, so it is hard to see why the Golden Gophers are still in this top 25 poll.
In fact, there are six teams with three losses that are ranked, and the high team is Auburn at No. 14, yet they move down just five spots after losing 34-7 to Georgia. The committee is barred from using margin of victory so it has no bearing on how bad a team lost or won by to consider a ranking.
This poll is a made-for-TV even and is just unnecessary and a joke. My time is not wasted giving ESPN ratings because there are other ways to get the results without having to watch on TV. These rankings should not come out until after title weekend, and the main reason is because conference titles are held on this pedestal and very well could swing the final regular season rankings to something completely different because a team wins a conference title.
It would not surprise me one bit if Missouri, who is currently ranked No. 20, were to beat whoever that comes out the West to become the SEC champion. If they do that they would likely sky rocket up the rankings to earn a playoff spot just because they are a conference champion and also the conference champion of the best league, or so says ESPN.
Here are the weekly rankings and were are left up to guess who the committee pegs as its highest rated non-power five team.
|Rank||Team||Last week||Week 12 result||Toughest opponent left (per F/+)||If the season ended today ...|
|1||Alabama (9-1)||5||Won 25-20 vs. No. 1 Mississippi State||Auburn||Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State|
|2||Oregon (9-1)||2||Idle||Oregon State||Rose Bowl vs. Florida State|
|3||Florida State (10-0)||3||Won 30-26 at Miami||Boston College||Rose Bowl vs. Oregon|
|4||Mississippi State (9-1)||1||Lost 25-20 at No. 5 Alabama||Ole Miss||Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama|
|5||TCU (9-1)||4||Won 34-30 at Kansas||Texas||New Year's bowl|
|6||Ohio State (9-1)||8||Won 31-24 at No. 25 Minnesota||Michigan||New Year's bowl|
|7||Baylor (8-1)||7||Idle||Kansas State||New Year's bowl|
|8||Ole Miss (8-2)||10||Idle||Mississippi State||Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech|
|9||UCLA (8-2)||11||Idle||USC||New Year's bowl|
|10||Georgia (8-2)||15||Won 34-7 vs. No. 9 Auburn||Georgia Tech||New Year's bowl|
|11||Michigan State (8-2)||12||Won 37-15 at Maryland||Penn State||New Year's bowl|
|12||Kansas State (7-2)||13||Idle||Baylor|
|13||Arizona State (8-2)||6||Lost 35-27 at Oregon State||Arizona|
|14||Auburn (7-3)||9||Lost 34-7 at No. 15 Georgia||Alabama|
|15||Arizona (8-2)||14||Won 27-26 vs. Washington||Arizona State|
|16||Wisconsin (8-2)||20||Won 59-24 vs. No. 16 Nebraska||Minnesota|
|17||Utah (7-3)||23||Won 20-17 (2OT) at Stanford||Arizona|
|18||Georgia Tech (9-2)||22||Won 28-6 vs. No. 19 Clemson||Georgia||Orange Bowl vs. Ole Miss|
|19||USC (7-3)||NR||Won 38-30 vs. Cal||UCLA|
|20||Missouri (8-2)||NR||Won 34-27 at No. 24 Texas A&M||Arkansas|
|21||Oklahoma (7-3)||NR||Won 42-30 at Texas Tech||Oklahoma State|
|22||Clemson (7-3)||19||Lost 28-6 at No. 22 Georgia Tech||South Carolina|
|23||Nebraska (8-2)||16||Lost 59-24 at No. 20 Wisconsin||Minnesota|
|24||Louisville (7-3)||NR||Idle||Notre Dame|
|25||Minnesota (7-3)||25||Lost 31-24 vs. No. 8 Ohio State||Wisconsin|