The College Football Playoff selection committee revealed its first top 25 on Tuesday night. If the season were to end today, Mississippi State would be the No. 1 seed. While Florida State, Auburn, and Mississippi (Ole Miss) would round out the rest of the playoff.
There are is already, and will continue to be, a lot of griping about the fact that three teams from the SEC in the four team playoffs. Especially since other deserving teams from other conferences were supposedly snubbed in the first ranking
Despite the SEC’s dominance in the top of the rankings, there is still a lot to like about the committee’s inaugural top 25. There is also a lot to digest as we take a look at exactly what the committee created…and that’s what they could improve upon.
What we liked
The committee has already shown that it isn’t going to be beholden to rankings done by those who aren’t part of the committee. As each of the five Pac-12 teams in their top 25 is higher than those schools are in the AP poll. This poll also has TCU, and Michigan State higher up than they are in the AP top 25, and that’s how it should be.
We also liked that the poll understands that the SEC isn’t nearly as good as everyone else thinks. After all, Alabama comes in at No. 6…five spots ahead of No. 11 Georgia. LSU is the last SEC team in the poll, and the Tigers come in at No. 19. While the SEC does have six teams in the poll, the teams are not all bunched near the top 10.
The AP poll has six SEC teams in the 25, with five of those teams being in the Top 10.
What we didn’t like
The fact that three SEC West teams are in the playoff. It’s ridiculous that the committee feels that three, of the top four, spots in the country belong to a division, in one conference. Oregon, TCU, and Michigan State have all made excellent cases for being included in the top four; for example, Oregon’s thrashing of Michigan State in Eugene, Ore. There is also that one time TCU put up 87 points on conference foe Texas Tech.
There also appears to be a distinct bias towards the power conferences (granted there always is). Apparently it is going to take a lot for programs not to be from a power conference to make it into the committee’s vision, let alone one of the top four spots in the land.
What needs improvement
The committee needs to improve its assessment of strength of schedule.
No. 5 Oregon’s played three straight home games for its non-conference schedule, with the highlight being the game against (now ranked) No. 8 Michigan State. The best team that No. 3 Ole’ Miss played during its non-conference schedule was Boise State, which is struggling this season. There is very little reason — outside of injury concerns — that the Rebels should be ranked above the Ducks in this poll.
Despite this polls problems, it isn’t a bad first effort by the selection committee. But it definitely has room for improvement heading forward.