The College Football Playoff selection committee released its first rankings of the 2022 season on Tuesday, and controversy ensued as usual.
The committee is no stranger to outraging college football fans, and that tradition is alive and well in 2022. Fans immediately noticed some baffling decisions in the rankings, including LSU coming in at 10th, five spots higher than the AP poll, and Texas cracking the rankings despite a 5-3 record. Of course, the usual accusations of bias in favor of the SEC and against the Group of Five were also plentiful.
While some teams benefitted from these questionable decisions, others suffered. Let’s go over four of the biggest snubs from the initial College Football Playoff rankings.
4. Georgia Bulldogs
While not entirely unexpected, the decision to rank Georgia third still caught many off guard. The Bulldogs placed lower than SEC East rival Tennessee and Ohio State, which came as a shock to many fans. By placing the Bulldogs third, the committee missed a chance to market this week’s Tennessee-Georgia showdown as a top-two matchup.
To be fair, there is a solid argument to rank Ohio State over Georgia. The Buckeyes have looked more dominant this season, while the Bulldogs have had some shaky performances against lowly teams such as Kent State and Missouri. The Buckeyes also earned their biggest win of the season just before the rankings dropped, a 44-31 road win over Penn State.
However, Georgia has an even more impressive win under its belt. The Bulldogs decimated Oregon 49-3 in Week 1, whereas Ohio State needed a fourth-quarter comeback to upend Penn State. The committee ranked the Ducks at eighth, seven spots higher than the Nittany Lions, so it knows that the win is far more impressive.
As it stands, Georgia should edge out Ohio State for the No. 2 spot, but the committee thinks otherwise. The silver lining is that the Bulldogs have a chance to prove all the doubters wrong on Saturday. If they beat the top-ranked Volunteers, they will likely take the top spot and this ranking will be just a memory.
3. UCLA Bruins
UCLA has enjoyed a remarkable breakout season and now sits at 7-1 and firmly in the Pac-12 race. The Bruins have reeled off some impressive wins of late, most notably defeating Utah on October 8th. However, that isn’t enough to place any higher than 12th in the initial CFP rankings, two spots lower than their AP poll ranking.
UCLA’s low ranking becomes even more questionable when looking at the two teams just ahead. No. 11 Ole Miss has no wins over currently-ranked teams and got blown out by LSU, the one ranked team Ole Miss has played. Speaking of LSU, the Tigers come in at tenth despite having only one ranked win, a loss to Florida State and a blowout loss to Tennessee. The Tigers are the highest-ranked two-loss team, sitting three spots ahead of Kansas State, the next-closest one.
The Bruins do have some flaws in their resume, such as a 15-point loss to Oregon and only one ranked win. However, they have fewer flaws than both Ole Miss and LSU and have looked better in the eye test. Surely these teams’ conferences didn’t factor into these placements at all.
2. Michigan Wolverines
Michigan is soundly fourth in the AP poll, placing 66 points ahead of fifth-ranked Clemson. The Wolverines have been arguably the best team in the country in terms of game control, rarely trailing at all. However, the committee made the inexplicable decision to put Clemson ahead of Michigan in the initial rankings.
The main knock on Michigan is its poor non-conference schedule of Colorado State, Hawai’i and Connecticut. However, Clemson’s non-conference schedule of Furman and Louisiana Tech isn’t blowing anyone away, either. The Tigers have quality non-conference opponents coming up in Notre Dame and South Carolina, but those games haven’t happened and shouldn’t factor into the rankings until they do.
Clemson has also looked very vulnerable at points this season. The Tigers needed double overtime to beat Wake Forest and trailed by 11 in the fourth quarter against Syracuse.
Clemson may have three ranked wins under its belt, but Syracuse, Wake Forest and NC State are all in the 20s. Meanwhile, Michigan beat No. 15 Penn State and looked dominant while doing it. With a better signature win and better game control, Michigan deserves to be above Clemson.
1. TCU Horned Frogs
The committee’s ranking of TCU at seventh is simply inexcusable. The Horned Frogs are 8-0, have four wins over teams ranked at the time and two over teams in the initial rankings, and have looked strong while doing it. They have one of the most impressive resumes in the country, arguably the second-best behind Tennessee.
Despite that, the committee has TCU ranked behind Alabama in the initial rankings. The Crimson Tide have only one ranked win this season, a one-point victory over Texas, who arguably shouldn’t be in the rankings at all. The Horned Frogs have two wins against higher-ranked teams, and have looked better in the eye test as well.
Even more baffling is the rationale that committee chairman Boo Corrigan used to try to justify this ranking.
Corrigan said that TCU has “gotten behind in some games,” yet conveniently ignored that Alabama was behind when the clock expired against Tennessee. He also cited wins over Arkansas and Mississippi State, two unranked 5-3 teams, as quality wins for Alabama. That’s not even getting into how Alabama struggled against a 5-3 Texas team and an awful Texas A&M team.
Conflicting comments from the CFP Committee chair Boo Corrigan on TCU (a thread)
On TCU: "the defense struggled to keep points off the board at times"
On Alabama: "to play the game as late as they did into the game and a last-second field goal … it is a very competitive game"
— CFP Resume Rankings (@CFPResumeRanks) November 3, 2022
If the Crimson Tide had TCU’s resume, they would undoubtedly be in the top-four. TCU should definitely be ahead of Alabama, and arguably Clemson as well. The only reason why the Horned Frogs are so far down is because they aren’t as big of a name.
Big-name bias has been a problem for years, and the first installment of the College Football Playoff rankings is emblematic of that reality. Multiple teams suffered in the initial rankings due to that bias, but none more than TCU.