America is a country run on checks and balances. One branch of government doesn’t hold all the power. When it comes to college football, though, a few random athletic directors within a selection committee get all the say. They essentially don’t have to answer to anyone, which leads to some blatantly biased College Football Playoff rankings.
The athletic directors in the selection committee, as well as the small number of former players/coaches and a couple of other executives, have made questionable decisions over the years. At times, they have even shown a blatant bias toward certain conferences. But on Nov. 2, the night the committee released its first CFP rankings of the 2021 college football season, the group essentially lost all its credibility and proved that it shows clear favoritism for some schools over others.
The selection committee released its first College Football Playoff rankings of 2021
Before we look at why the selection committee has lost all its credibility (if it had any to begin with), let’s look at this year’s first CFP rankings that came out Nov. 2.
Here’s the top 10.
- Georgia (8-0)
- Alabama (7-1)
- Michigan State (8-0)
- Oregon (7-1)
- Ohio State (7-1)
- Cincinnati (8-0)
- Michigan (7-1)
- Oklahoma (9-0)
- Wake Forest (8-0)
- Notre Dame (7-1)
There are a few glaring issues with these rankings, one being that they are significantly different from the AP and Coaches polls, which journalists and, yes, actual coaches vote on.
But they also show an evident disrespect for some schools and favoritism for others, leading to a massive credibility loss for the entire selection committee.
The College Football Playoff selection committee lost its credibility by ranking Cincinnati so low
Throughout the College Football Playoff era, there has been a well-documented perception that non-Power Five schools have no chance in the selection committee’s eyes.
The group proved that even further with its first rankings of the season.
The Cincinnati Bearcats are in a weak conference (the American), but they have had some huge non-conference wins, including one over a top-10 team in Notre Dame. Their play so far has them ranked at No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches polls. But in the CFP rankings, they are all the way down at No. 6.
The undefeated Bearcats rank below the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team with one loss and no top-10 wins. They are also behind a one-loss Oregon team that fell to a five-loss Stanford squad. No, that’s not a typo: five losses.
The Alabama Crimson Tide also rank above the Bearcats, and Bama lost to a two-loss Texas A&M team and has yet to pick up a top-10 win.
How does any of that make sense? Yes, schools like Ohio State and Bama have shown consistency over the past two decades. But if the selection committee puts past years into consideration, it needs to remember this: Cincinnati’s only blemish throughout the last two seasons is a three-point loss to the current No. 1 team in the nation, Georgia.
The Bearcats have been as consistent as they come over the past few years, and they have NFL talent all over the field. What else do they need?
Ranking Cincinnati at No. 6 proved that a non-Power Five school could have wins over Bama, OSU, Notre Dame, and Clemson but still get left out of the CFP. The committee would likely claim that it’s just because of the team’s conference schedule, but the real reason is obvious: Schools like UC don’t bring in as much money, or as many eyeballs, to college football as programs like Alabama do.
No one wants to say it, but money is at the center of everything, so why would these rankings be based on anything different?
The committee proved that it shows favoritism for schools like Alabama
Speaking of money, one of the biggest cash-makers in college football is Alabama. It has a massive fan base — as do most of the schools in the SEC — and the selection committee clearly proved its blatant favoritism for big programs like it in its latest rankings.
As mentioned above, the Crimson Tide already have one loss to go with zero top-10 wins. In addition to Cincinnati’s no losses and one top-10 victory, the Michigan State Spartans, who are ranked one spot behind Bama, are undefeated and just beat No. 7 Michigan last week. Ohio State also only has one loss, and it came to the No. 4 team in the country in Oregon.
Why does Alabama get the nod over those schools when their resumes are clearly more impressive?
It’s simple: The committee has always leaned toward the SEC.
Yes, the conference frequently has several powerhouse teams, but it’s also the only one to ever receive multiple playoff invites in the same season. Of course, the SEC’s consistency should speak for itself. It has won four of the seven College Football Playoffs, with Bama winning three of those titles. But if resumes and past accomplishments have anything to do with the rankings, Cincinnati would be in the top four, and it’s not, which shows the committee has other motives when putting its top four teams together.
Whether its money that drives the committee or the rankings are based on something entirely different, the group has made one thing clear over the years: It doesn’t care if the best teams are in the playoffs or not.
Stats and rankings courtesy of ESPN