Takeaways From College Football Playoff Rankings

 

The third release of the 2016 College Football Playoff rankings are now upon us and like normal, the rankings were enough to generate a buzz and upset a particular fan base or two.

The top ten of the rankings are as follows:

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. Michigan Wolverines
  4. Clemson Tigers
  5. Louisville Cardinals
  6. Washington Huskies
  7. Wisconsin Badgers
  8. Penn State Nittany Lions
  9. Oklahoma Sooners
  10. Colorado Buffaloes

Here are key takeaways from the updated rankings.

  • Both Clemson and Michigan suffered losses to unranked Pittsburgh and Iowa respectively this past weekend. The losses were the first of the year for both Clemson and Michigan and many felt the losses were crippling enough to impact the chances of both teams staying within the top four and that the Louisville Cardinals would leapfrog both teams. Here is why the CFP Committee got the rankings correct: Clemson has a strength of schedule ranking of 30th while Michigan is ranked 49th. Louisville is a little further in that department at 64th. All three teams are 9-1 in overall record but both Clemson and Michigan are 3-0 against teams currently ranked in the top 30 while Louisville is just 1-1. Not to mention, Clemson owns the head-to-head battle with Louisville based on their 42-36 win over Louisville on October 1st.
  • Simply put, while Clemson and Michigan have losses to unranked teams, Louisville’s lack of a resume is the biggest hurdle for the Cardinals to jump into the top four. They will probably need another loss or two to either Clemson and/or Michigan to make the jump.
  • The latest injury to Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight may be sufficient enough to impact Michigan’s chances of making the College Football Playoff. Speight has a broken collarbone at the moment and is likely out for the remainder of the season. Speight’s sophomore season was going quite well as he is third in the Big Ten in quarterback rating at 148.9. How this injury is managed and how it effects the offense’s overall play will be worth monitoring.
  • The 8-2 Colorado Buffaloes are on the brink of something special. Remaining on their regular season schedule is #22 Washington State Cougars and #12 Utah Utes along with a possible birth in the Pac-12 title game against likely those same Cougars or #6 Washington Huskies. Defeating three straight opponents ranked in the top 22 while certainly launch Colorado into the College Football Playoff picture. This is their first winning season in ten years and can be their first double-digit winning season in 15 years.
  • It seems that the November 26th matchup between Michigan and Ohio State will have Big Ten championship game implications as well as College Football Playoff implications. The loser of that contest will more than likely miss out on both.
  • While the SEC gets most if not all of the hoopla and the ACC has shown improvement as a conference over the years, the 2016 season belongs to the Big Ten conference with four teams in the top eight including two teams within the top four.
  • The Big 12 conference will likely be on the outside looking in this season even with three teams ranked within the top 14 (#9 Oklahoma, #11 Oklahoma State, #14 West Virginia). Keep in mind that the conference does not have a championship game format unlike the other four major conferences. This can prompt the Big 12 to seriously pursue conference expansion and brainstorm the installation of a conference championship game.

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