The College Football Playoff (CFP) is certainly an imperfect system, but according to the vast majority of athletic directors, coaches, and fans, it’s superior to its predecessor the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).
In its second year bestowed with the responsibility of choosing four teams to reach the college football playoffs, the selection committee released its first top 25 rankings for the 2015 season this week with a few surprises including placing Clemson (8-0) atop the list with LSU (7-0) second.
Perhaps the most notable eye-opener is the CFP dropping Ohio State (8-0) to number three, the defending National Champions last loss occurring back in September of 2014.
The scrappy play by Urban Meyer’s squad and less-than-dominating performances led to the Buckeyes’ placement.
While the CFP selection committee is made up of many of the game’s most brilliant minds including legends Tom Osborne of Nebraska and Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez, both members of the College Football Hall of Fame, bookmakers in Las Vegas still believe they know more.
The latest futures still has Ohio State as the favorite (9/4) to win the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship on January 11. Alabama is second at 11/2, Baylor third (6/1), and Clemson fourth (13/2).
Meaningless Till December
So why isn’t Vegas adhering to the CFP’s pecking order? According to analysts, it’s because there’s simply too much football left to be played.
“Those rankings mean absolutely zero to me,” Wynn oddsmaker John Avello told the Sporting News. “There’s going to be a lot of movement.”
“When you’re doing the futures, you have to look at who’s playing who,” Avello expanded. “If a team’s got a soft schedule going out, then you have to take that into consideration.”
The primary reason Ohio State remains in the odds-on favorite isn’t because of their convincing play, but due to their challengers’ rather difficult schedules.
The Southeastern Conference (SEC), considered the strongest conference in college football, won’t waste anytime beating up on one another as #2 LSU faces #4 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. An Alabama loss will end their CFP aspirations, and a LSU loss will in all likelihood do the same for the Tigers.
Bucking the Buckeye
The Big Ten has received much criticism over the last few years for becoming a weaker conference, even though Ohio State won last year’s title game and was the best program in all of college football.
#3 OSU will surely be challenged in the coming weeks, its last two games against ranked opponents. On November 21, Ohio State travels to East Lansing to take on the seventh-ranked Michigan State Spartans before hosting #17 Michigan in Columbus on November 28.
Ohio State will be without quarterback JT Barrett this weekend as the star serves a one-game suspension for operating a motor vehicle while impaired. Fortunately for Meyer, he’s blessed with two other more than capable signal callers to lead to Buckeyes over the 4-4 Illini.
As for top-seeded Clemson, the Tigers face #16 Florida State at home on Saturday before what should be three rather effortless games to finish the regular season.
Of course, in college football it’s often the easy games that stump the powerhouses.