Should Utah be in the top 4?

If college football playoffs were this weekend, there would be much debate. The AP Poll has Ohio State, Michigan State, Ole Miss and TCU. The Coaches Poll has Ohio State, Michigan State, TCU and Baylor. The Football Power Rankings chose Ohio State, Ole Miss, Michigan State and UCLA.

In all reality, how you feel the rankings should be going into Week Five is entirely dependent on what you think of Oregon in 2015. The biggest upset of the season so far was the 62-20 Utah win over the Ducks in Eugene. This game dropped Oregon from the top 25 for the first time in over four years, and now the Utes boast the best resume of the season.

This is the Ducks’ worst season opening in over a decade. Their two losses come from the current No. 2 Michigan State (31-28) and Utah. Their only wins came against “eh” teams — Eastern Washington (61-42) and Georgia State (61-28) — and the Ducks’ defense doesn’t leave anyone feeling very comfortable. This week Oregon heads to Boulder to take on Colorado, so it will take another few weeks to truly evaluate this Oregon team.

With the Utes’ upset over Oregon, some think they should be given a higher ranking than 10. Michigan State owes its No. 2 rank to a close win against the Ducks in East Lansing. The Spartans are 4-0 right now, but their other three wins come from “OK” teams and none were blowouts like they should have been.

Utah’s other big win of the season was against Michigan, who has broken the top 25 this week for the first time since 2013. Utah’s 24-17 win over the Wolverines didn’t seem like much until the Wolverines beat Oregon State and BYU, but even that’s not exactly impressive.

BYU’s most impressive game this season would be its 24-23 loss to UCLA despite their wins, by Hail Mary’s, against Nebraska and Boise State. UCLA is either in people’s top fours or just outside of it thanks to their 56-30 win over Arizona. The win wasn’t notable besides the fact that the Bruins were able to hold the Bears, who have a strong offensive game, to 20 points at home. UCLA’s win will look better if Arizona can take down Stanford on Saturday.

Another game outcome affecting rankings is the Ole Miss 43-37 win over Alabama, which was not great. The Roll Tide played sloppy, both teams had major turnovers and Bama had more yards despite the Rebel win. If Nick Saban and his team fall in Georgia this weekend, do the Rebels deserve to be in the top four either? Maybe a win against Florida on Saturday will help their case.

No. 1 seed Ohio State hasn’t been proving itself of that top spot. The Buckeyes’ only significant win was against Virginia Tech (42-24), but now that Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina, we are stuck wondering if they are only No. 1 because they were the 2014 champions. The Buckeyes head to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers on Saturday.

Baylor and TCU round out the teams in current playoff spots. TCU needed that tipped-pass miracle to avoid an upset by Texas Tech, 55-52. TCU has been challenged in every one of its games and its offense despite returning most of its players is not where it was last year.

Baylor’s first true match up of the season comes against the Texas Tech team that almost upset TCU. The Bears’ only other wins were over SMU, Rice and Lamar.

Looks like it will be another few weeks before I start to feel confident with my top-four choices and even then I will probably disagree when the CFP committee releases its first rankings on Nov. 3.


Really CFP Committee? Ohio State?

When the CFP committee announced the teams for the first college football playoffs ever my initial reaction was shock, which was quickly taken over by confusion and anger. I completely agree with Alabama and Oregon ranked first and second. And while I do believe that Florida State may not be the strongest team and there are many arguments that go against them being in that top four, the only fact that matters is that they are still the only undefeated team. Where my confusion and anger comes in is with the number four spot and how it was given to Ohio State.

Now I know some people could say that my anger with this decision comes from the fact that I am a Michigan State Spartan and we lost to them this season, but as a fan and supporter of the Big 10 conference, this is the best thing that could have happened for us. Regardless of those feelings though, my anger about the committee’s decision comes from the fact that TCU and Baylor were shafted. I believe that TCU and Baylor are both better teams than Ohio State and in all reality, are probably better than Florida State, despite their undefeated record.

In the last 24 hours the reasons I have been hearing for reasoning as to why TCU and Baylor weren’t chosen are that they need to add two more teams to their conference and that they need a conference championship. A Big 12 conference championship would have been played between TCU and Baylor, their second meeting of the season, and would have solidified an overall winner and probably would have helped their position with the committee, but they both still played games this weekend.

So point against TCU, they played non-ranked Iowa State, but Baylor played 11th ranked Kansas State, Ohio State played 17th ranked Wisconsin. Now yes, Ohio State vs. Wisconsin was a conference championship, but Baylor’s game was tougher. This past weekend isn’t the only game that Baylor had that was tougher though; their whole schedule was harder. TCU and Baylor had a tougher schedule than Ohio State, whose only big opponent was Michigan State, who is still ranked 7th. TCU’s only loss was to Baylor and Baylor’s only loss was to West Virginia. Ohio State’s loss was to unranked Virginia Tech.

Prior to Ohio State’s win this weekend, the only legitimate thing they had going for them for playoff contention was their win against Michigan State. Michigan State’s losses this season were to 2nd ranked Oregon and now fourth ranked Ohio State, but everyone has pretty much agreed Michigan State did not look strong that day and the Spartans still hold much respect.

Currently the number one reason behind the committee’s decision to make Ohio State number 4 is the fact that they have had to overcome two season ending injuries to quarterbacks. The Buckeyes lost their starter Braxton Miller before the season started and back up J.T. Barrett led them to the Big 10 championship and their win over Michigan State. But J.T. Barrett got hurt in their final game of the season against the Michigan Wolverines, a season ending broken ankle, which made the Buckeyes rely on third stringer Cardale Jones.

I must give my props to Cardale Jones and the rest of the Buckeye team for they have been proving all season that their team is not just a top notch quarterback, but great players all around. It is this fact that I feel made the committee pick Ohio State for that fourth spot. The Buckeyes have had to overcome to injuries that for most teams would have been season changing and they overcame them with flying colors.

Despite Ohio State’s successes this season, myself as well as many other college football fans around the country remain unhappy with the committee’s decision. People can continue to point out the adversity faced by Ohio State and their win against the Spartans, but TCU and Baylor continue to be the stronger candidates in my mind. With tougher schedules, better performance and I’ll say it overall eye test, the Horned Frogs or the Bears should be playing against Saban and the Crimson Tide on January 1st.