Ten days removed from a demolition of Wisconsin, Ohio State was No. 1 in the Week 10 College Football Rankings last season, the first rankings of the 2019 season and the first six straight rankings in which the Buckeyes’ held the first or second position.
While there was a strong argument to flip Ohio State and No. 2 LSU in the Week 10 rankings, there was…hang on…no argument about the argument itself. The argument was balanced, i.e. their respective seasons began on the same date, and they both entered Week 10 at 8-0. One year later, the balanced argument has vanished, shoving the College Football Playoff into an uncomfortably tight corner.
Like last year, the committee will unveil six weeks’ worth of rankings in 2020, though the first won’t come until Tuesday, Nov. 17, and the last on Sunday, Dec. 20. If there are no other postponements (unlikely), the higher-ranked team in the current AP Top 25 wins each game (LOL), and the committee releases their first rankings on Tuesday, Nov. 17 (who the hell knows), here are the projected records and wins over current AP Top 25 teams for each of the 11 teams I believe have the best chance to reach the College Football Playoff (in order of current AP ranking):
|Team||Projected Record||Top 25 Wins|
|Clemson||8-0||vs. Miami (FL), at Notre Dame|
|Alabama||7-0||vs. Texas A&M, vs. Georgia, at Tennessee|
|Georgia||6-1||vs Auburn, vs. Tennessee, vs. Florida|
|North Carolina||8-0||vs. Virginia Tech|
|Ohio State||4-0||at Penn State|
|Oklahoma State||6-0||vs. Iowa State, at Kansas State|
Instead of an 8-0 vs. 8-0 conversation like last year, in this scenario, the committee might have an 8-0 vs. 4-0 conversation. Or 6-1 vs. 2-0, 7-1 vs. 3-1, 4-2 vs. 7-1.
What might the Georgia vs. Ohio State conversation look like? Georgia might own three wins over top-25 teams in the initial playoff rankings, triple the top-25 of Ohio State, who will have played four total games, three fewer than Georgia. I think Ohio State is the better team. I believe they’re the better team today and will be the better team on Nov. 17. I also believe, however, the College Football Playoff committee must reward résumés, and although it’s impossible to predict the dozens of metrics the committee will evaluate on Nov. 17, Georgia, in this scenario, will have a better résumé than Ohio State provided the Bulldogs aren’t slaughtered by Alabama in Week 7.
Will a 2-0 Oregon earn the nod over a one-loss (Ohio State) Penn State who played twice as many games but, like Oregon, will have zero good wins? Is a road win over Michigan enough for 4-0 Wisconsin to jump Notre Dame or Georgia?
We don’t know. We don’t know how the committee will evaluate postponements, cancellations, COVID-stricken depth charts, COVID-positive coaches, or anything else.
We do know the committee won’t tell us how they’ll evaluate those items. And we do know they won’t tell us because they’re facing a bizarre and impossible decision come Nov. 17