A couple of years ago, I had the honor of serving on the mock selection committee for the College Football Playoff.
Got to stay at the swanky hotel in North Texas and sit in the war room seat held by then-member Pat Haden (no wise-cracks, please).
It was a fascinating insight into how the four-team playoff process works.
At the end, Arkansas athletic director and committee chair Jeff Long asked us “mockers” to share our thoughts on the process.
I told him it was imperative the top 25 list had credibility, top to bottom, every week.
Don’t give crazy fans MORE reasons to float conspiracy theories and claim bias against certain West Coast conferences that play late games.
Well, after one week, the committee has already spit one bit.
And now it has a credibility problem.
Last Tuesday, it released a first top 25 that ran contrary to almost every poll and rating index available.
It shunned those of us who follow this stuff with a top of four of Alabama, Clemson, Michigan and Texas A&M, the latter the only one-loss team in the bunch.
It left undefeated Washington, No. 4 in both major polls, at No. 5.
Saturday, Texas A&M laid an ostrich egg with a loss at last-place Mississippi State.
Washington answered the committee Saturday night, by going "Route 66" at California.
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The committee’s unnecessary shenanigans seemed to unnerve this year’s field of contenders to the point no one is going take any chances.
The theme Saturday seemed to be clear: run up the score if you can. Savage and\or embarrass your opponent.
After last week, who knows what the committee is thinking?
Top-ranked Alabama played a close game, against a tough LSU team, but that was about it.
Clemson, Michigan, Washington, Ohio State and Louisville put on shows that would have made seal-clubbers proud.
Those contenders won games by scores of 54-0. 59-3, 66-27, 62-3 and 52-7.
The committee’s decision last week now makes us wonder: if it didn’t like undefeated Washington over one-loss Texas A&M then, will it now jump Ohio State over Washington into No. 4?
Ohio State put such a 59-point hurt on No. 10 Nebraska, it raised the possibility the Pac 12 will get passed over again—rankling a fan base that already feels used, abused and disenfranchised. Washington was clearly trying to make the biggest statement it could against defenseless Cal, but was 66-27 good enough?
What a mess, unless you’re the undeniable Crimson Tide of Alabama, which somehow turned a 0-0 tie in the fourth into a dominant 10-0 win.
The difference in the came can be summed up in two words: better quarterback.
True freshman Jalen Hurts made two huge, ad-lib runs in the fourth quarter to break open a 0-0 tie. LSU quarterback Danny Etling, a transfer from Purdue, played like most LSU quarterbacks have played against Alabama (not great).
Poor Danny boy completed only 11 passes for 92 yards on his way to recurring nightmares about the Crimson Tide defense.
Defeat wrecked LSU’s national title hope and, maybe, Ed Orgeron’s chances to be named LSU’s permanent coach.
Orgeron has done a nice job taking over for Les Miles, fired Sept. 25 after a loss at Auburn. Orgeron still lacks the signature “interim” win that might cinch him a second chance after he was blind-sided out of Ole Miss after going 10-25.
Orgeron, remember, went 6-2 substitute-teaching for Lane Kiffin at USC, but his losses were to rivals Notre Dame and UCLA. Coach O is now 4-1 at LSU, with a loss to Alabama. He could still close the deal, though, with closing wins against Arkansas, Florida, and Texas A&M.
Back to our rant: the “blow-out” battle for Miss runner-up to Alabama was a sight to behold.
No. 2 Clemson set an early bar with a 54-0 win over Syracuse, while No. 3 Michigan immediately upped the ante with its 59-3 win over Maryland.
No. 6 Ohio State, coming off a loss to Penn State and a close win over Northwestern, said "enough of that" Saturday in Columbus. Taking advantage of an early injury to Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr., Ohio State scored a 62-3 win over the Huskers.
Never question Urban Meyer’s motives to score big when he smells blood in the water.
Louisville Coach Bobby Petrino was also in the pile-it-on mood after a recent close call over Virginia left the Cardinals languishing at No. 7 in the first CFP ranking.
The Sluggers took care of that with a 54-7 rub-out over Boston College.
Petrino complained this week the system promotes this kind of mistreatment of lesser.
And we all said yeah, duh.
“Maybe I should have left our starters out there against Florida State and scored 80,” he noted of his team’s 63 points against the Seminoles.
How about scoring more than 32 against Virginia, which fell to 2-7 with a loss to Wake Forest?
Washington State, ranked only No. 25 despite being undefeated in the Pac 12 North, also took out some anger on Arizona, 62-3.
Understand why Pac 12 fans are defensive. Stanford didn’t receive a point in either poll last week despite wins over Kansas State, UCLA, USC and Notre Dame.
Everyone says this is a crummy year in Paltry Alto, and it has been, but Stanford does now have six wins and the three losses came against teams currently ranked: Washington, Washington State and Colorado.
In other recap news, Rankman saw and heard some strange things:
--I saw former Cal star Marshawn Lynch, doing pregame donuts in a golf cart on the turf at Memorial Stadium, almost run over a member of the Cal band.
It was like 1982, on the same field, only that time a Stanford band member was in harm’s way.
--I heard Aaron Taylor, the CBS color analyst on the Florida-Arkansas game, describe the Hogs’ tenacity on defense with this phrase: “They buckled their junk.”
--I saw a game official at the Stanford game stop play with this announcement: “The chain has a broken link and we need to reset the clip.”
--I saw Notre Dame lose a close game to Navy—wait, neither was that unusual.
The Irish have already lost six games this year by 29 points, an average of 4.83 per gag.
I watched coach Ken “Knute” Niumatalolo’s become only the second Navy coach to win three times against Notre Dame, joining Wayne Harden in Roger Staubach’s 1960s.
--I saw North Carolina State lose another huge chance to notch a monumental win.
A few weeks after missing a chip-shot field goal to beat Clemson, the Wolf Pack dropped an interception in the end zone that could have defeated Florida State.
Oh well, c'est loss vie.
--And finally, I saw LSU back Leonard Fournette get stuffed again by Alabama’s defense.
Fournette, who looks like Bo Jackson against every other team, has gained 79, 31 and 35 yards in three games against the Crimson Tide.
He’d better hope Alabama doesn’t join the NFL.[/membership]