The Associated Press, Amway Coaches and Bleacher Report polls have been released, opening up debates around the country and establishing the real question: Who will be in the Top Four when the College Football Playoff selection committee releases its rankings?
Below, we’ll take a look at this week’s polls and try to answer that question.
Washington may be listed as No. 4 in all of the rankings above, but the Huskies came into Week 10 at No. 5 in the only poll that matters: the College Football Playoff rankings.
The team that leapfrogged the undefeated Huskies in the rankings? Texas A&M, which came into Saturday with one loss (against Alabama) on the season.
The Aggies‘ time at No. 4 was short-lived, however, after Mississippi State upset them. Washington won once again, which will surely secure its place at No. 4, right?
Well, not so fast.
If the committee felt that a one-loss Aggies team deserved a higher ranking than Washington, almost assuredly based on a side-by-side comparison of their resumes, what’s to stop the committee from putting Ohio State above Washington this week?
After all, Washington’s best win is still Utah, with little else to pad the resume. Ohio State, meanwhile, can boast wins over Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Nebraska, while its lone loss was a tight one on the road against a strong Penn State squad.
Based on how they’ve actually played, do the Huskies deserve a Top Four ranking? Absolutely. They’ve looked awesome.
But if you start stacking resumes, the Buckeyes can make a strong argument they deserve to leapfrog Washington. It will be fascinating to see where the committee lands on Tuesday.
There will be less debate about the rest of the Top Four, as Alabama survived a tough LSU side, 10-0, and continues to look like the best, most battle-tested team in the nation. Michigan and Clemson cruised, meanwhile, leaving each team in good position.
Finally, there is Louisville, which might just need Armageddon at the top of the rankings. There’s little doubting Louisville’s talent, but the Cardinals don’t appear to have another statement game on the schedule. Unlike some of the other teams, Louisville may not be able to prove its merit in a conference title game, as Clemson is likely to secure the ACC Atlantic bid for the conference’s title game.
So the Cardinals need some type of help down the stretch. Texas Tech athletic director and CFP selection committee chair Kirby Hocutt indicated the team’s schedule has hurt Louisville a bit in the rankings to this point, per Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com:
We look at performance on the field, but we do not incent the margin of victory. We do not talk about that in our committee room. Louisville is a very strong team, very impressive win against Florida State earlier this season. They continue to win. Their schedule, as we talked about it last week, was just not as strong as others that they were being compared against up to this point of time in the season.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson will almost assuredly win the Heisman Trophy. But that might be the extent of the postseason highlights for Louisville unless a few teams above it stumble.
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