CFP Jostlers Await Early Committee Returns
Here's what's gonna be really interesting on Tuesday:
How close the College Football Playoff Selection Committee resembles the rankings of both the great unwashed -- sports writers and broadcasters -- and the college coaches, or whoever it is in the athletic department that actually casts their votes for them.
Eyebrows will be raised no matter what. If the listings are close, then the question will be asked if the committee was influenced by the same sort of perception that permeates the polls in pre-season. If the committee totally goes in another direction, how will that influence the media and coaches the next time they vote?
And if conference championships are the significant factor the committee says they are, how do those figure into the logjams that exist right now?
Here are a few recent insights from West Virginia AD Oliver Luck on the matter:
Of course, all the teams can do right now is keep playing.
Was it actually an upset in Death Valley when Mississippi fell to LSU? No winning streak is safe when it arrives in Baton Rouge -- red stick sounds so much better in French, doesn't it? Bah-tone roooosh! -- especially with the young Bayou Bengals putting more and more together with each successive game. The Rebel defense acquitted itself quite well, and if Bad Bo didn't make an appearance in the final few seconds, these two might still be playing.
Mississippi State was challenged by a Kentucky squad that's probably one recruiting class away from being a legit contender. The Wildcats exposed a suspect Bulldogs pass defense, something Texas A&M surprisingly couldn't do. Alabama and Ole Miss will surely be scrutinizing this game video. However, neither the Tide nor the Rebs have a Patrick Towles at QB. Dude finds completions even where none are there to be had.
Still, both Magnolia schools control their own destiny in the SEC, as does Auburn. That group will be trimmed by one next weekend, as Ole Miss entertains the Tigers. The last time the Rebels last beat both Alabama teams in the same season was 2003.
Florida State was idle this weekend, getting ready to face Louisville on the road this Thu 30 Oct. If the Seminoles handle that, only a road game with a three-loss Miami team may cause them any trouble.
Who else has a reasonable shot at the Core Four right now?
Well, the Crimson Tide has rebounded from their loss to Mississippi and has the offense in full swing. Alabama has a bye this week, and then the schedule toughens. They play LSU, Mississippi State, a cupcake, and Auburn in their last four games.
Auburn also has a challenging schedule the rest of the way. It includes Mississippi, Texas A&M, Georgia, and Alabama. Again, if the Tigers win out, they'll be in the catbird's seat.
Notre Dame? They could have beaten Florida State -- some say that, unofficially, they did -- and will have a chance if they win out. That would involve wins over Arizona State and USC on the road.
TCU? Well, if the CFP doesn't work out, at the rate they're scoring, there's alway the Big Dance in March.
The whining and politicking begins in earnest on Tuesday. As always, it will be more of a pastime than a useful exercise. It seems the lesson is never learned -- even after Week 6 this season -- that surprises and stumbling blocks are bountiful in college football.
There's still a long way to go between now and the Selection Committee's final word on Sun 7 Dec.