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Why The College Football Playoff Rankings Don't Matter

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Tonight ESPN Touted the SEC I mean College Football Playoff. It was pointless

Jeff Long-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when you were still in school and on the first day of class the teacher would look out at everyone and say something along the lines of, "I don't care what you did last semester, right now everyone has a 100%!"? Remember that? That's a worthless, though perhaps helpful, line teachers fed you to get you motivated and realize that perhaps things aren't as bad as they seem. Tonight ESPN did something similar when they announced the first rankings in the decades late college football playoff. This is a fools errand. What an absolute waste of everyone's time. I truly hope none of you watched this stilted and ridiculous piece of sports theater. I can't say this nearly as well as Dan Wetzel, one of my absolute favorite sports writers, but I'm gonna give it my best shot.

Before I start though let me get this out of the way for any opposing fans who may come to the site and think I'm just bitter because the B1G was hardly mentioned and Purdue of course not at all, as they shouldn't have been. It's not that at all. I've always thought these types of early season rankings, and pre-season rankings especially, are an exercise in futility. They mean nothing. Let me explain why.

First, does anyone here truly think that pre-season rankings are a good thing? Football or basketball it doesn't matter they are a complete waste of time. When the start of football season comes around you can be sure that in the first rankings the SEC will have roughly 11 out of the top 10 and that Notre Dame will be absurdly overranked thus setting them up to rise in the rankings and then ultimately fall. Let's use ND as our example here because our hatred for them burns with the fiery passion of 1,000 suns. Each year, regardless of how they ended the previous season, ND bolts toward the top of the rankings based on well who knows. This despite the fact that they generally get their butts handed to them in their bowl game. Nevertheless they are near the top of the rankings at season end. Then once their season starts, if they take care of Purdue, they generally skyrocket up the rankings. Are they generally a good team? Of course they are I'd be an idiot with no integrity to say otherwise but to hear commentators and their fans tell it they are a playoff team this year. At the Purdue vs. ND game in Indy I can't tell you the number of ND fans I heard say they were definitely a top four team in the nation without question.

Giving a team a cushy early season or pre-season ranking sets them up for success. It more or less guarantees that these teams have a better shot of getting a #1 seed, a BCS Bowl Game playoff spot, or some other top bowl game if they merely keep up their winning ways. Meanwhile teams that are surprises like TCU, Utah, Oregeon, or any others find it nearly impossible to make it to the top of the rankings unless teams above them falter despite the fact that these teams without as much tradition may very well be better THIS SEASON. The rankings are supposed to give a snapshot of where teams are right now compared to everyone else but more often than not they are based on historic trends of the top teams with the rich getting richer and the rest merely watching from below.

So why am I so bitter about this? Well my hope with this new system was that it would put the terriblness of the BCS behind it. We all hated the BCS. It was an awful system using uninformed people and computer programs to figure out who the top two teams in the nation were? Then we had to listen to incessant complaining each week when the rankings came out and then the BCS would modify their formulas after each season taking into account criticism to make the system better. Isn't that what this system will ultimately do? By releasing rankings this early in the season with so many pivotal games to play what do they possibly have to gain? Will the listen to angry Oregon and Alabama fans and eventually move those teams up into the top four? Will they listen to coaches from other conferences complaining about the SEC and find ways to move those teams out? What does this committee have to gain from this?

I think we can all agree that the NCAA Basketball Tournament is the best post-season in all of college sports. Yes I know people love the Frozen Four but quite frankly you can just stop that crap because I'm not listening. You don't see the secretive selection committee releasing mid-season rankings of where they'd seed people now. No they leave that to qualified "bracketologists" who for some reason get paid for their jobs. The basketball selection committee simply goes about their business and chooses the best 64 65 68 teams to play in the Big Dance. Then they whisk themselves into the night after their interviews. The football committee should take a lesson from them.

Releasing this rankings when there are already two other ranking systems out there does absolutely no good. It merely clouds things up. Teams can now be ranked three different ways by three different systems! How's that for clarity! I get that shows like this are good for ratings but I have no desire to watch them. It's like watching a show where people tell me how the NFL playoffs would look were the season to end right now. It's a meaningless exercise. I think I'll let the season play out and enjoy college football. I hope you're able to do the same.

Ed. Note: For those interested, here is the full poll:

Rank Team Conference Toughest opponent left (per F/+) If the season ended today ...
1 Mississippi State SEC Ole Miss Sugar Bowl vs. Ole Miss
2 Florida State ACC Louisville Rose Bowl vs. Auburn
3 Auburn SEC Ole Miss Rose Bowl vs. Florida State
4 Ole Miss SEC Auburn Sugar Bowl vs. Mississippi State
5 Oregon Pac-12 Stanford New Year's bowl
6 Alabama SEC Auburn Orange Bowl*
7 TCU Big 12 Kansas State New Year's bowl
8 Michigan State Big Ten Ohio State New Year's bowl
9 Kansas State Big 12 TCU New Year's bowl
10 Notre Dame Independent Louisville New Year's bowl
11 Georgia SEC Auburn
12 Arizona Pac-12 Arizona State
13 Baylor Big 12 Oklahoma
14 Arizona State Pac-12 Notre Dame
15 Nebraska Big Ten Wisconsin
16 Ohio State Big Ten Michigan State
17 Utah Pac-12 Oregon
18 Oklahoma Big 12 Baylor
19 LSU SEC Alabama
20 West Virginia Big 12 TCU
21 Clemson ACC Georgia Tech Orange Bowl*
22 UCLA Pac-12 Stanford
23 East Carolina American UCF New Year's bowl*
24 Duke ACC Virginia Tech
25 Louisville ACC Florida State