Initial College Football Playoff Reaction: It’s a Show About Nothing

Back in July, I wrote a reaction piece to the initial Coaches’ Poll saying that the rankings were just like Seinfeld in that they were both a show about nothing.

I feel the same way about the first-ever College Football Playoff rankings. While this made-for-television event provided plenty of entertainment, it didn’t really mean anything.

That’s not to say that the release of the first playoff poll was a useless pustule. After all, it did provide some insight into the Selection Committee’s decision making process. Based on the current standings, it’s clear that the committee is going to reward teams for beating top competition (see: teams ranked in the poll). Similarly, Tuesday’s rankings show that the Selection Committee will also compare the quality of each loss when trying to distinguish similar teams. That’s why Auburn (whose only loss was to No. 1 Mississippi State) is in front of fellow one loss-teams Oregon (loss to No. 12 Arizona) and TCU (loss to No. 13) right now.

Even though the initial rankings did give us a glimpse as to which factors are more important when selecting the teams for the field, they’re essentially meaningless at this point because there’s a lot that can happen during that time. For example, the SEC West won’t be able to keep four teams in the top six as the season progresses because these teams have to face each other before the end of the year. Depending on how it all plays out, the division could either solidify its case for two spots in the playoff (e.g., Mississippi State and Auburn win out) or completely eliminate itself from consideration if the eventual champion ends up with two losses.

Or some combination of those two events happens and once-defeated Georgia captures the SEC crown.

Regardless of which of those scenarios plays out, the door is still open for a one-loss team like Oregon, TCU, Michigan State, or Ohio State to qualify for the College Football Playoff. All these squads need to do is win out, and they’re in. Remember, the Selection Committee is supposed to factor in championships won when making its decision. However, since no one’s captured a conference championship yet, the committee couldn’t use that metric yesterday.

And why would it? It’s very tough to make an informed decision without all having all of the facts. We won’t have that information until the season ends. By then, most of the burning questions that exist right now will resolve themselves on the gridiron over the next month or so.

That, my friends, is why I tell everyone to treat the College Football Playoff rankings just like an episode of Seinfeld. Feel free to watch and enjoy it, but at the end of the day, realize that it’s a show about nothing…

… because the only poll that matters is the one on December 7.

About Terry P. Johnson

Terry Johnson is the Associate Editor for The Student Section. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation.

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