CFB Playoff Rankings: The First Week

by Travis Normand

Yesterday, (28 Oct. 2014), the college football playoff committee released its first rankings for the 2014 season.  You can see the rankings in PDF format HERE, or on their website HERE.

In the past, during the BCS era, I would make weekly observations of the BCS poll as it was released.  I am going to try and do the same with the playoff poll.

Upon seeing the first playoff rankings, I was surprised to see Ole Miss (7-1) at number four.  I have no problem with Ole Miss in the number four slot, but I thought their loss at LSU this past Saturday night would have put them further down the list.  After all, LSU (7-2) comes in at 19 in this initial ranking.

If you are thinking that only the winner of the Ole Miss – Mississippi State game will get a playoff spot, think again!

Mississippi State (7-0) is ranked number one, and is scheduled to play Ole Miss on November 29.   If these two schools meet with only one loss between them and still ranked in the top four of the playoff rankings, it will be interesting to see what happens if Ole Miss defeats Mississippi State.  I mention this because if Ole Miss’ loss to LSU isn’t enough to knock them out of the top four, then logic would dictate that a Mississippi State loss to number four Ole Miss shouldn’t be enough to knock Mississippi State out of the top four either.  (In this scenario, it would be Mississippi State’s first loss on the season, and losing to number four Ole Miss would be a better loss than losing to LSU).

While this is the first ranking of the season (and first ranking ever), there is a lot that could happen between now and Nov. 29.  However, if this Mississippi scenario were to play out, it would be a good indicator for judging the playoff committee’s consistency in terms of ranking teams.

Takeaway after one week of rankings:

While many probably didn’t expect to see Ole Miss in the top four after their loss to LSU, it is apparent that the selection committee isn’t going to “punish” teams for a loss like the AP and Coaches’ Poll usually do.  For example, before their loss to LSU, Ole Miss was ranked No. 3 in both the AP and Coaches’ Poll.  However, after their loss, Ole Miss dropped to No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.  Despite these No. 7 and 9 rankings, Ole Miss debuted at No. 4 in the playoff poll.

Understanding the CFB Playoff

by Travis Normand

A couple of weeks ago, select members of the media participated in a mock college football playoff selection meeting.  Andy Staples’ wrote about the event and how the selection process worked.  His article was fascinating and can be found at or at the following link:

Mock selection exercise raises issues actual playoff committee will face, by Andy Staples of, Friday, October 10, 2014.

I highly recommend his article to anyone who really wants to understand how the process of selecting playoff teams will work.

Other articles on how the CFB Playoff selection will work:

Andy Staples ranks Aggies number two

English: Texas A&M University "aTm" ...

by Travis Normand

Last week I posted about Dennis Dodd ranking the Aggies number one in his very early 2013 pre-season poll.  As it turns out, Dodd is not the only one with high-praise for Texas A&M.  Andy Staples, of, produced his very early 2013 pre-season poll and has the Aggies at number two (behind Alabama at number one).

See Andy Staples’ early top 25 for 2013

While I am sure the Aggies will enjoy all the pre-season attention, Staples goes out of his way to demonstrate the point I made in my post about Dodd’s top 25.  My point was that while these polls are somewhat accurate/credible, they primarily serve as a means to drive internet readership/traffic during the off-season.  What better way to drive up your website’s hits than to put a team, with a large and excited fan base, in the number one or two spot.

Regardless, as of January 23, 2013, the Aggies have one first-place vote, and one second place vote.  Not bad.

Texas Aggies are the early preseason No. 1

English: Texas A&M University "aTm" ...

by Travis Normand

You read the headline correctly, the Texas Aggies are considered the No. 1 overall team — in a very early preseason poll — for the 2013 season.

While I personally couldn’t be more excited and flattered by the ranking, I take it with a grain of salt.  Why?  Because there are a lot of reasons for ranking the Aggies number one, however, none of these reasons really matter as it is currently January 16, 2013.

On the other hand, the person that gave A&M the top spot in this early poll is none other than Dennis Dodd (senior college football columnist for  In other words, the number one spot was not given by some “hack” with a blog by the name of  It was given by one of the most well-respected national college football writers.

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BCS Standings – Week 2 [Oct. 21, 2012]

by Travis Normand

Click HERE to see the BCS standings as of October 21, 2012.  This is the second BCS ranking of the 2012 season.

A few of my observations from this week’s BCS rankings:

  • Alabama remains in the number one spot overall, however, the Crimson Tide lost a first place vote in this weeks Harris poll (receiving 109 this week, while receiving 110 last week — total votes in Harris poll: 115).
  • Florida remains number two overall, and the Gators pick up a first place vote in the Harris poll (having receiving no first place votes last week).
  • Oregon drops from the number three spot in the BCS to number four, while Kansas State moves up from four to three.  At number three, Kansas State ties its highest-ever BCS ranking from 1998.
  • South Carolina drops from seventh place to thirteenth.
  • Texas A&M drops from eighteen to twenty.
  • Ohio makes its first ever appearance in the BCS ranked at number twenty four.
  • Michigan and Wisconsin also appear in the BCS for the first time this season (2012).

First BCS Standings of 2012 Released

by Travis Normand

If you are like me then you love this time of year.  I realize that I am one of the very few people who actually like the BCS system but that doesn’t keep me from posting about it.

As you are probably already aware, the first BCS standings of the 2012 season were released yesterday (14 Oct. 2012).  You can view the complete standings (in PDF form) here on the National Football Foundation’s website.

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The Trojans of USC are NOT who you (the AP voters) thought they were!

by Travis Normand

In case you missed it, Stanford defeated USC 21-14 on Saturday evening 15 September 2012, marking the fourth straight win for the Cardinal over the Trojans (and the fifth win in the last six years).

Yes, the Stanford Cardinal defeated USC in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and now 2012.  With such success on the field, one might think that Stanford would be considered a preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 Conference — but they weren’t.

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27 August 2012
Press Release

Trojans garner 9 of 16 first-place votes

DALLAS (FWAA) – If the 2012 Grantland Rice Super 16 Preseason Poll is correct, the Southeastern Conference will finish out of the top spot for the first time since 2005 and USC will win its sixth Football Writers Association of America national championship.

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Kiffin Lied; but USA Today is the One Without Integrity

USC's Lane Kiffin

by Travis Normand

Do you remember when the AP’s college football poll was part of the BCS formula?  Do you remember why the AP decided to remove its poll from the BCS?  It was essentially because the AP didn’t want to make/create the news; they simply wanted to report it.  In other words, the journalists who voted in the AP poll listened to their ethical side and (following a few controversies involving the BCS’ final standings) thought it would be best to recuse themselves from the BCS formula — thus removing any conflict of interest.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the USA Today / Coaches’ Poll.

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