College Football Playoff rankings Committee saying

  • If there was a winner in Tuesdays College Football Playoff rankings, then it was Michigan.We had a feeling the CFP committee would keep the Wolverines at No. 5, but we didnt know how strongly it would feel about it. Michigans path to the playoff isn’t as easy as you think, but it is absolutely not a long shot.MORE: The simple path appears to be either a lo s by No. 3 Clemson (11-1) in the ACC championship game or No. 4 Washington (11-1) in the Pac-12 championship game, especially when you hear playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocutt say things like this:“The separation between Washington at No. 4 and Michigan at No. 5 is extremely small.That wasnt all Hocutt said. He said No. 2 Ohio State (11-1) and No. 7 Penn State (10-2) are not close in the eyes of the selection committee.“Hocutt didn’t stop there.MORE: He said four very best teams in college football almost as much as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh after losing30-27 in double overtime at Ohio State. The Wolverines were one of those four very best teams all year until losing two of their last three games.The four very best teams” are in place right now all but Alabama have one lo s and that doesnt require too much debate. If either Clemson or Washington slips, then that door opens. The only question is which Big Ten team goes through it. Thats a hell of a question. BENDER: “Penn State or Ohio State?” isnt the question youre looking for. Thats a question everybody has been focusing on because the Nittany Lions have the head-to-head drop on the Buckeyes, but the committee clearly doesnt care. Thats over, regardle s of how you feel about it. Ohio State is in, and this isnt an argument even if Penn State wins.Whats the gap between Michigan and No. 6 Wisconsin (10-2)? Michigan and Penn State? Remember, the Wolverines beat both teams head-to-head. Those are questions that will be answered by the Big Ten championship game on Saturday. Or will it?If Colorado beats Washington on Friday, then theoretically Michigan would be in, with Wisconsin and Penn State facing the pre sure of proving they belong Saturday. By Sunday, that decision is made. Is that enough time?MORE: I think the separation there for 4 to 7 is not a wide margin of separation, but specifically between Washington and Michigan, it’s razor thin, Hocutt said on a teleconference.The committee hasnt answered the Michigan-vs.-Big-Ten-champion question, and Hocutt mentioned that four factors will weigh on the final decision. Thats conference championships, strength of schedule, head-to-head and outcomes against common opponents. How much weight each one is given is up to the committee.We know Michigan wont have the conference title, but it will have head-to-head on both Wisconsin and Penn State and a better record against the Top 25. The Wolverines are 3-1; the winner of the Big Ten title game will be 2-2. And if its about four very best teams, then theres the sentiment that the two very best teams in the Big Ten just played in Columbus and the Big Ten championship game is a consolation prize. Thats unconventional and not nece sarily right conference championships should matter but the committee is laying its own playoff theory.Theres a lot of groundwork in Michigans favor right now, but the committee still has to make that decision, so for whom should it root? Theres also the sentiment that Michigan needs Wisconsin to beat Penn State to have the best chance.MORE: But if the gap between Ohio State and Penn State is that big, then the Wolverines might prefer a Nittany Lions win. Michigan beat Penn State 49-10. The Wolverines beat the Badgers 14-7. The committee can say margin of victory isnt a factor all it wants, but that doesnt mean that evidence isnt out there in the form of game tape. People know what happened.If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten, then the decision between the Badgers and Wolverines seems much more difficult. The committee already put a wedge between Penn State and Ohio State. Why wouldnt it do the same with Michigan?Theres a risk leaving out the Big Ten champion would alienate the networks and the cheapen the value of the conference title game, but it could just use this as an excuse for expansion. A conference champion means a lot to a lot of people, but that doesnt mean the committee is included. How many times did Hocutt say four very best teams”?Twice on TV and once in his teleconference. Just look at the two very best teams right now. No. 1 Alabama (12-0) is in no matter what happens in the SEC championship game, and No. 2 Ohio State (11-1) isnt playing a conference title game.MORE: Thats where we are right now. If the Badgers or Nittany Lions score a blowout victory in Indianapolis and Clemson or Washington loses, then the Big Ten champ could be one of those teams. But forget about the conversation with Ohio State. That one has pa sed.Its Michigan they should be worried about.

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