The College Football Playoff committee’s rankings following conference championship weekend are now out in full.
On Saturday, Clemson, Georgia, and Oklahoma punched their Playoff tickets by winning their conference title games. Ohio State took down undefeated Wisconsin in the Big Ten Title game, but a one-loss Alabama team looked like it potentially had the better resume.
So heading into Sunday, debate focused on which of those two teams would get the fourth Playoff spot. The committee chose Alabama, explaining Ohio State’s drastic loss to Iowa was a major factor. (That’s a totally reasonable choice.)
The full top 25 also sets up which teams make the New Year’s Six games. Washington jumped TCU and will take the bubble spot, with UCF not even needing the autobid to make it in.
Final College Football Playoff rankings:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
- Michigan State
- Washington State
- Oklahoma State
- Virginia Tech
- Mississippi State
- NC State
- Boise State
The committee tries to rank teams by how it perceives their quality over the full season.
The committee does use stats during its deliberations. To try and grade team strength beyond just my own opinions, I first turn to Bill Connely’s S&P+. Committee metrics are a bit cruder, such as an offense’s performance compared to what its opponents usually allow, but probably suggest similar teams. We have no way of knowing for sure, lol.
When there’s a tie, the committee breaks it with strength of schedule, head-to-head, conference titles, and common opponents.
Based on three years, here are the schedule benchmarks for Playoff contention:
- Finish with one or fewer losses (100 percent of Playoff teams have done this).
- Beat at least three teams ranked in the committee’s Dec. 3 top 25 (100 percent).
- Win a Power 5 conference (92 percent).
- Beat at least six teams that have .500-plus records on Dec. 3 (100 percent).
Going above and beyond is advisable, though your schedule might not cooperate.
If you want a schedule math thing that correlates pretty well to committee rankings, I recommend the transparent CPI, ESPN’s more advanced Strength of Record, and Bill’s even more advanced Resume S&P+.