The College Football Playoff committee released its first top 25 ranking of the year on Tuesday night and Clemson, the defending national champion, and undefeated team … was fifth.
You can see the committee’s line of thinking: Clemson isn’t in the SEC, so it hasn’t played as tough competition as #2 LSU or #3 Alabama. (At least that’s how the thinking goes, right?)
The Tigers also haven’t been as dominant as #1 Ohio State, who have crushed just about anyone in their line of sight, including, like, a random guy who walked by them on the way to the dining hall. It was a passing encounter, lasted a few seconds maybe, and the Buckeyes hung 68 on that guy.
No. 4 Penn State has crushed teams, then won tough Big Ten slogfests against sloggy Big Ten teams Iowa and Michigan. You can see the narrative there.
Clemson, on the other hand, only beat a middling UNC team by one. They play in the ACC. It’s far from a perfect team.
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But this is one of those cases where it feels like the CFP committee is getting too cute. It’s almost a flex — these experts saying that they watch games, and they know how to judge teams better than results.
So even though the defending national champion is undefeated this season, the committee can basically say: Well, sure. But we’ve looked at you, and we’ve decided there are four teams better.
This is … iffy. I understand that the committee should watch the games and formulate their own opinions, but college football is hard. There are a boatload of teams all playing different schedules, and there’s variance week to week, and who can really know?
Clemson fans are mad, and I think they have every right to be. I always get a little hesitant when the committee flexes like this. When they basically say: Hey, I know what the numbers say, but don’t worry, y’all. We know better.
It’s the same reason that I’m a bit unnerved, I guess, that undefeated Minnesota is #17 in this ranking, even though the Gophers play in the Big 10 and have crushed everyone this year. The committee has decided they’re in the Big 10 West, though, and listen, Minnesota isn’t that good.
Who’s to say? The committee is probably right, and Penn State will probably go and put a walloping on Minnesota on Saturday, and that will be that.
But if Penn State loses, which is absolutely in the cards, it’ll be great in that you’ll have two fanbases — Clemson and Minnesota — screaming at the committee: WE TOLD YOU SO.
Tuesday’s Big Winner: Load Management
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
NBA fans were totally fired up for a matchup tonight between Kawhi Leonard’s Los Angeles Clippers and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks, a potential NBA Finals matchup, and we aren’t getting it (really) because Kawhi will be sitting.
Why? They want to be easy on Kawhi’s quads. They’re monitoring his minutes. It’s a bad day for NBA fans but a really good day for Load Management fans.
Quick Hits: Say Goodbye Gardner Minshew, Ben Simmons, NO LONDON
–Minshew Mania is over, with the Jaguars turning the ball back over to Nick Foles upon his return. I will never forget these three weeks or whatever it was.
-Ben Simmons still isn’t shooting, but somehow it doesn’t matter for the 76ers. It must be cool to be so good at every part of your job that you can be totally useless at one part and no one cares.
-The Chargers owner lost his mind when someone else asked if the team was moving to London. This man HATES BANGERS AND MASH. JUST HATES THEM. NO LONDON. NO.