The final week of the college football regular season has just concluded, and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a ton to talk about. Coming into this week, It seemed like if the top four won, they would be the top four, and probably in the same order they were ranked in the week before: Alabama, Oregon, TCU, Florida State. If any team were to lose and make the top four, it would be Alabama, but there would still be a strong chance they wouldn’t advance. If one of the top four lost, Ohio State would take their spot. If another lost, Baylor would fill in. Perhaps the only other possibility would be if #7 Arizona beat #2 Oregon they could possibly jump into the top four, but other losses would still greatly improve their chances.
As it turned out, every team in the top six won. So there’s no discussions right? It couldn’t be further from the truth. #1 Alabama and #2 Oregon are safely in after each of them had huge wins and were clearly the best two teams beforehand. Alabama beat #16 Missouri 42-13 to win the SEC Title, and Oregon beat #7 Arizona 51-13 in the Pac-12 Championship Game. #3 TCU definitely took care of business with a 55-3 win over Iowa State. However, Iowa State came into the game at only 2-9. Normally TCU would still be solidly in the top four, especially after winning by 52, regardless of opponent. However, #4 Florida State edged out #11 Georgia Tech 37-35 to complete their undefeated 13-0 regular season, and most agree that the committee would be crazy to leave out a team with a perfect record. Additionally, #5 Ohio State played #13 Wisconsin and put up the statement performance they needed to and then some, demolishing the Badgers in a ridiculous 59-0 shutout even without their starting quarterback. So with such a huge victory they surely can jump into the top four? But Florida State is undefeated? And TCU won by 52, they can’t move down two spots! The real loser is Baylor, who in winning only by 11 against #9 Kansas State, got no help and is out of the discussion, despite their win over TCU.
So there’s three teams fighting for two spots essentially as the selection committee prepares to make its final decision. Who will they choose? Who deserves to make the top four? Well, to answer that question, I will give my top four teams and reasons why. But not only me. Kaustubh will also be giving his opinions as the blog’s first guest writer. Here’s who we think are the best four teams in college football.
Connor: Obviously Alabama and Oregon have been the best two teams in the nation, so I’ll keep them how they were. If Alabama’s win was close, maybe Oregon would be #1, but I see Alabama as the #1 and Oregon at #2.
Now my #3 is where things get crazy. Many of the experts, including Kirk Herbstreit, are saying it’s a toss up between Florida State and Ohio State, but I disagree. I put TCU at #3, even though I’m pretty confident I don’t see eye to eye with the committee. TCU has had a pair of very dominant performances to end their season, winning at Texas 48-10 and the recent 55-3 thrashing of Iowa State. Trevone Boykin has played great, and should be a Heisman finalist. My problem is that seeing them ranked at #3, jumping Florida State, I don’t believe they can dropped multiple spots, especially with a 52 point win. They’ve had an incredible season coming out of nowhere, and in my opinion they have a harder schedule than both Florida State and Ohio State. They lead the FBS in win margin as well. I don’t think they’re getting enough credit. I just heard ESPN’s Heather Dinich say the committee needs to put Baylor over TCU to establish credibility, which I 100% don’t understand. Even though it won’t happen, TCU is my #3, and they are Nate Siver’s too. (Yay, someone agrees!)
As for my four, prepare to be shocked. It’s Ohio State. Wait…that means I’m leaving undefeated FSU out? Yes, it does. This is my rankings, I don’t believe their wins have been decisive enough, and I’m a big proponent of performance versus just record alone. Ohio State won 59-0 against a very good #13 Wisconsin team. Florida State’s last seven games have been decided by a total of 43 points! That’s less than one touchdown per game! Ohio State pulled this crazy win off using their third-string quarterback as well! That is so incredibly impressive that they have to be strongly considered. I think overall as a team they’ve been winning in a better fashion.
Now at number five is honestly probably where I’d throw Baylor just because I think they are also better than Florida State, but I’ll give Florida State’s unbeaten record the benefit of the doubt. But let’s be real. They aren’t one of the best four teams, and we know it. They’re in the top four based purely off win-loss record, but that’s about it. Jameis has been shaky, they’ve been down in nearly every game, and are winning every week by the skin of their teeth. As I’ve already mentioned, their last seven games are being won by only six points per game, and the last four by a total of 14 points, and none by more than five. They have the easiest schedule out of the six teams in contention, yet have performed the worst. Let’s put it this way. A 1-loss Florida State team would be nowhere near the top four discussion, and probably a definitive number six overall. And that’s just if one of seven teams they’ve played had scored one more touchdown. It’s a shame that a top team won’t make it because of them. One final stat: of the top five entering this week, four won by over 28 points; Florida State won by 2.
Lastly is Baylor, a team that should really be more in the discussion than they are. They’re only marginally behind TCU (that shows how close everyone is) in terms of win margin and strength of schedule, and did beat TCU (albeit by 3, read my last college football blog to see why that’s not a big deal). It really comes down to their bad loss against West Virginia that has taken them out of the main conversation. However, stranger things have occurred than Baylor potentially taking the four slot. It’s not over yet.
That’s my rankings, in its full, controversial form.
Kaustubh: Alabama and Oregon won’t change after this week. Florida State is #3 because statistically they are better and they deserve it. Even though they pull through in the last minute they get the W and that’s what matters at the end of the day no matter how you do it.
Ohio State is number four and better than TCU because they show that even in the worst of conditions they are still a top five team. It’s the way Ohio State played today that puts them over TCU. If they didn’t blow out Wisconsin it would be TCU at #4 but they did and that changed the entire playing field. With their third string quarterback they showed that they are just great as a whole. They would beat TCU if they played them.
No TCU in the top four because they played about the same schedule as Ohio State and Ohio State destroyed a top 15 team more than TCU won against a bad unranked team.
Baylor is out because they aren’t as good compared to Florida State and Ohio State and they didn’t blow out Kansas State.
Well as seen by our rankings, we have vastly different opinions on what matters most and who will be the top four teams that will compete in the first National Semifinals and then the inaugural Playoff Championship Game. The committee will have a lot to think about, and undoubtedly their final decision will leave many jumping for joy and many others crying, wishing the playoff system had eight teams instead of just four.
Thanks for reading,
Connor and Kaustubh