College Football Playoff Rankings: Projecting Fresno State, Utah State After Week 10
Did Utah State do enough on Saturday to make the College Football Playoff’s top 25? Will Fresno State rise? We predict what will happen.
Can more upheaval finally bring the MWC some respect?
Before we get to our projection of this Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings, we take a moment to discuss the Power 5 teams that lost throughout Week 10:
LSU: It’s cute that people thought the Tigers had a chance against Alabama, but it’ll be real tragic when they’re still in the top 7 for some reason.
Kentucky: The upside for Wildcat fans is that the basketball team has primed them for this kind of disappointment recently.
Florida: Tried to think of a good joke about the Gators but, honestly, nothing is funnier than the CFP committee thinking this team was the 11th-best in the country.
Penn State: Remember when Trace McSorley got hyped as a first-round NFL Draft talent? Anyway, this is the third year in a row that a Big Ten team in the CFP’s top 20 got pasted by a conference opponent, which you’d hope would be a point against ranking so many second-tier Power 5 teams but probably won’t be.
Utah: The Utes caught a bad break in Tempe, didn’t they? Sorry, sorry, I’m trying to delete it.
Iowa: It’s mystifying why the Hawkeyes continue to get so much national respect despite playing a relentlessly boring kind of football. Watch Purdue crack the top 25 now for some reason.
Texas: Texas football is a lot like Avatar: Both were big deals back in 2009, received periodic hype in the years since, but have essentially amounted to nothing and, like James Cameron’s five announced Avatar sequels, nobody outside of Austin is really looking forward to it, anyway.
Texas A&M: Watch Auburn take that #20 spot now for some reason.
Virginia: On the bright side, the Hoos are still right on track for a typical Bronco Mendenhall season. 8-5 forever, baby.
Now, onto this week. What did we learn from the College Football Playoff committee’s opening salvo, and what questions remain?
1. They got suckered in by preseason narratives.
Here’s a claim that should be more convincing to everyone: No one among UCF, Fresno State and Utah State can really claim the upper hand in the strength of schedule argument.
UCF – Sports Reference: 110 | Sagarin: 108 | Bill Connelly: 107 | FEI (as of 10/31): 130
Fresno State – Sports Reference: 115 | Sagarin: 102 | Bill Connelly: 128 | FEI: 123
Utah State – Sports Reference: 116 | Sagarin: 115 | Bill Connelly: 126 | FEI: 87
So what rationale is there that UCF and Fresno State are separated by 11 spots? The “zero” in the loss column, probably, but I’m still convinced that if Fresno State had been properly rated in the preseason — they won ten games last year and brought nearly everybody back, yet got just one point in the preseason AP poll — this conversation would look a lot different. The reality is that they should be close, but the Bulldogs will have a tougher uphill climb than they deserve.
2. They really love their strength of schedule.
How else would you explain ranking an Iowa State team that won just four games, or a Texas A&M team that, I don’t know, beat Kentucky? It gives the appearance of being overly labyrinthine, especially when you consider that half the SEC made the opening rankings. It’s okay to differentiate between the really good teams and teams that are just fine, guys! You can make room for the Group of 5!