Meale: Playoff Committee Won’t Get First Rankings Right – And That’s OK

With the College Football Playoff committee unveiling its first set of rankings Oct. 31, I’m going to mix it up with The Weekly CFP. Instead of simply giving you my top six teams in America, I’m going to give you what I think the top six will be and what I think the top six should be. In some spots, there will be overlap. In other spots, not so much.

But know this: Every team on each list has merit. But when you have to split hairs, well, you have to split hairs.

Oh, and by the way, it’s Week 10. None of this matters.

With that in mind, I think the committee’s top six WILL be:

1) Alabama (8-0)

Alabama is undefeated, allowing just 7.0 points per game in conference play, and has won 34 of 35 games dating back to 2015. Yes, I know 2015 and 2016 have no bearing on 2017, at least in theory, but no program receives the benefit of the doubt more than Alabama – justifiably so. Sorry for the “rat poison,” Nick. You’re top dog until further notice.

2) Georgia (8-0)

Georgia is undefeated, allowing just 10.4 points per game in conference play, and has won 12 of 13 games dating back to last season. Yes, I know 2016 has no bearing on 2017, at least in theory, but this team has more than found its footing under Kirby Smart. As for the Week 2 win over Notre Dame, it looks better by the day.

3) Clemson (7-1)

With three top-15 wins in the month of September, Clemson has arguably the best resume of any one-loss team in America. The loss to Syracuse is an eyesore, but quarterback Kelly Bryant was concussed in the first half.

4) Notre Dame (7-1)

The Irish have three wins against teams currently ranked in the top 25 and have the best loss (Georgia) of any team in the country.

5) Oklahoma (7-1)

The 31-16 win over Ohio State looks better with each passing week, as does the 38-31 loss to Iowa State. With No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 10 TCU coming up Nov. 4 and 11, respectively, the Sooners are very much alive for the playoff.

6) Ohio State (7-1)

The Buckeyes have arguably the best win (Penn State) in college football this season, but the Week 2 loss to Oklahoma looms large.

And now, here’s what I think the committee’s top six SHOULD be:

1) Alabama (8-0)

Move along. Nothing to see here.

2) Georgia (8-0)

The committee can flip-flop Alabama and Georgia if it wants based on the Bulldogs’ win over the Irish. Doesn’t matter. These two teams will almost certainly meet in the SEC Championship. We’ll know who’s better then.

3) Notre Dame (7-1)

Had the Irish beaten Georgia in Week 2, they’d have a compelling case for No. 1. As it stands, Notre Dame’s power-run game is steamrolling the competition, and the defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a single game all season. If the Irish win out, they’re in the playoff.

4) Ohio State (7-1)

The Buckeyes have Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett, the best D-Line in the country, and an offense that just put up 529 yards and 39 points against the No. 1 scoring defense in America. The Oklahoma loss grows more inexplicable by the minute, but Ohio State certainly looks the part of one of the top four teams in America.

5) Clemson (7-1)

The win over Louisville (5-4) isn’t as impressive as originally assumed, and Clemson has the worst loss of any team in the top six. Bryant’s concussion was indeed unfortunate, but it came on the final play of the first half when Clemson trailed Syracuse by three – which wound up being the margin of defeat. Also, this is why you have backups (Cardale Jones, anyone?). Also, it’s Syracuse. Clemson can still reach the playoff, of course, but Dabo and friends will have to run the table.

6) Oklahoma (7-1)

As of now, Oklahoma’s claim to fame is having a really good win (Ohio State) and a really good loss (Iowa State). After beating the Buckeyes in Columbus, though, Oklahoma went 3-1 in its next four games, with each game decided by one possession. Sorry, but the 41 points allowed against 0-8 Baylor ain’t impressing nobody. The Sooners must win out to have a shot at the playoff.

Tony Meale is a Chicago-based author, journalist, and content creator who uses words to inform, educate, entertain, and inspire. A Cincinnati native, he has a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Louis University and a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio University. He began his career as a high school sports reporter before writing and publishing 2012’s “The Chosen Ones: The Team That Beat LeBron,” a behind-the-scenes look at the greatest sports story never told. He’s been creating written and spoken content ever since.

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