Some teams can do no wrong, and that seems to be the case for Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.
As we head into this season’s final weekend (also known as championship weekend), the College Football Playoff Selection Committee recently released its latest CFP rankings. And while the committee has made questionable decisions all year long, it continued showing its favoritism for Bama this week while also making life harder for the No. 4-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats.
The CFP rankings look a little different this week
After Michigan’s massive win over No. 2 Ohio State last weekend, the CFP rankings look slightly different this week.
Before we get into the committee’s blatant favoritism for Alabama, let’s take a look at the top 10.
Oklahoma State (11-1)
Notre Dame (11-1)
Ohio State (10-2)
Ole Miss (10-2)
In case you didn’t notice, Michigan jumped from No. 5 to No. 2 while Ohio State slid from No. 2 to No. 7. Oklahoma State also moved to No. 5 after ranking seventh before its big win over Oklahoma on Saturday.
Alabama, however, stayed at No. 3, which may be one of the biggest errors of the season.
The College Football Playoff Selection Committee proved its Alabama favoritism
The Alabama Crimson Tide sat at No. 2 in the first three CFP rankings this year, which began coming out in Week 10. And that alone showed where the committee stood.
At the time of each ranking’s release, Bama had one of the worst losses of any of the previous top four teams, with their one blemish coming to the Texas A&M Aggies, who currently have four losses this season.
So, after ranking No. 3 last week, the Crimson Tide’s standing became questionable when they went to four overtimes with a six-loss Auburn team on Saturday. They came close to losing, too, as they trailed 10-3 with less than 30 seconds left.
But despite Bama’s bad loss and struggles against Auburn — in addition to its one-score wins over four-loss Arkansas, six-loss LSU, and six-loss Florida — the team has remained in the top three. In fact, Nick Saban’s squad even ranks over a 12-0 Cincinnati team that has a top-six win over Notre Dame this season, something Alabama doesn’t have. The committee also ranked the Tide at No. 3 despite the AP Poll putting the school at No. 4.
Again, this isn’t a one-week occurrence. The committee has over-ranked Alabama all season long. The program’s storied history shouldn’t come into play here because this team does not seem to be the same type of Crimson Tide team we typically see every year. Bama has struggled with inferior opponents, and its defense isn’t quite as dominant as it usually is.
But this ranking error shows more than the committee’s Bama favoritism. It also gives room to keep a team fully deserving of making the CFP out of it.
While Alabama has been over-ranked in almost all of the CFP rankings, Cincinnati has been under-ranked. The AP and Coaches polls have had Cincy in the top two or three multiple times since the playoff rankings began coming out, while the selection committee just put the Bearcats in the top four for the first time last week.
Cincinnati’s resume has been discussed ad nauseam. It has a weak conference schedule but beat a talented Notre Dame team on the road. It also only lost to Georgia by three points in its bowl game last year with what was essentially the same roster it has this year.
UC has proven that it belongs, but the committee didn’t reward the school’s hard work until just recently.
And now, this week’s No. 4 ranking proves that the Bearcats may have to win their conference championship game convincingly to make the CFP.
Say Alabama beats Georgia and Michigan wins the Big Ten Championship this weekend; there’s no way Cincy cracks the top three in that scenario. So, if Oklahoma State wins convincingly over No. 9 Baylor in the Big 12 title game, Cincinnati could fall to No. 5 if it has a close contest with No. 21 Houston in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game.
Committee chair Gary Barta even said himself that the members have had a difficult time with UC because of its strength of schedule. So, they may look for any reason to leave the Group of Five school out of the top four, especially with each Power Five conference having a representative in the committee and Cincy’s not having one. (Conferences get paid if one of their teams make the CFP. The fact UC doesn’t have anyone in its corner could hurt significantly.)
No matter what these recent rankings would have looked like, though, this weekend was still going to be interesting. But the selection committee’s Bama favoritism and lack of respect for Cincinnati may result in absolute chaos.
Get your popcorn ready.
Rankings via the CFP site
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