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College Football Playoff Rankings Are an Ode to the Power 5

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(*5*) is sweet for the model, and so are the model names. (Don’t underestimate the invisible hand of ESPN — which has the broadcast rights to the playoff and the weekly reveal present over the subsequent 5 weeks — in influencing the semifinal matchups.)

That might assist clarify why Alabama, with its championship pedigree and a loss at Texas A&M, was slotted at No. 2, leaving open the risk {that a} respectable loss to Georgia may make the Crimson Tide the first crew to attain the playoff with two defeats.

Barta stated the Alabama determination was not troublesome. “It was a strong consensus,” he stated.

That Cincinnati was ranked No. 2 in the polls was immaterial, stated Barta, who added that the Bearcats didn’t have any important victories in addition to Notre Dame and that they’d performed lackluster soccer for the final two weeks in victories over two-win Navy and one-win Tulane.

That evaluation is definitely true. But it’s additionally not a normal to which others are held.

The Bearcats don’t play in a convention with the weekly rigors of the SEC or the Big Ten. But they’d overwhelmed Indiana extra decisively than Michigan State had (Michigan State wanted to rally to win in the fourth quarter). Cincinnati additionally defeated Miami (Ohio) way more forcefully than Minnesota, which is main the Big Ten’s West division. And that sluggish win at Tulane was way more snug than Oklahoma’s residence win over the Green Wave, which wasn’t assured till a last-gasp quarterback scramble on fourth-and-13 got here up a foot brief.

All of this does lead one to marvel how a lot of a spot there actually is between the A.A.C. and the finest groups in the nation. Memphis, a middling crew in the American Athletic, beat Mississippi State, which is ranked seventeenth by the choice committee. Tulsa, one other pedestrian A.A.C. crew that visits Cincinnati on Saturday, was main in the fourth quarter at Oklahoma State, which is ranked eleventh. It was additionally inside 27-20 and threatening in the fourth quarter at Ohio State earlier than being turned again.

So, with Southern Methodist and Houston being unranked — each one-loss groups that might bolster Cincinnati’s ledger in the subsequent month — the finest probability for the Bearcats to climb into the high 4 with out being leapfrogged themselves is to preserve stacking up victories, look good doing it and hope for chaos throughout them.

“What you sense is frustration,” stated Aresco, a member of the College Football Playoff administration committee, as he turned more and more exasperated over the telephone. The committee is working by way of the potential enlargement of the playoff area. “We kind of run into the same issues. I don’t think there’s enough nuance. I don’t think our best teams are given enough credit for how good they are. Cincinnati is a good team and proved it, just like Houston did and just like Central Florida did.”