The College Football Playoff committee released its second rankings of the season on Tuesday night and much to the surprise of no one, they don't make any sense.
Last week, the committee had Tennessee No. 1 in its initial rankings, saying the Volunteers had clearly the best résumé in the country with wins over Alabama, LSU and Kentucky. It also had undefeated TCU at No. 7, behind then-one-loss Alabama and committee chairman Boo Corrigan said TCU's struggles in first halves and falling behind in games were part of the reason the Horned Frogs were lower than many expected.
Now fast-forward one week. Tennessee lost by 14 points on the road against the undefeated defending national champions. TCU beat 4-5 Texas Tech at home in a game in which the Horned Frogs once again had to overcome a deficit, this time in the fourth quarter. And those results are somehow enough to move TCU from No. 7 to No. 4 and drop Tennessee from No. 1 to No. 5.
"How does that make any sense?" a reasonable observer might ask. Well, in just one week, the CFP committee apparently went from being skeptical of TCU's early game struggles to lauding its effort to continually overcome the deficits it creates for itself.
If I were to put on my conspiracy theorist cap for just a minute, it would seem to me that the committee is trying to come up with whatever reasons it can to reverse engineer the result it wants, particularly in regards to teams it has received negative feedback on in previous rankings. If that's not the case, then this is simply a group with no idea what the fuck it's doing. I'm not sure which is worse.
If TCU finishes the season undefeated, though, I have no problem with it being a College Football Playoff participant. I don't necessarily think it would be one of the four best teams in the country, but if you win every game on your schedule, you did all you could do.
But then there's Oregon. It seems very plausible the Ducks and Vols could end up competing for the final CFP spot at the end of the season, both with one loss. Their only common opponent is Georgia, which beat Oregon 49-3 on a neutral field and took down Tennessee 27-13 in Athens. Somehow, Corrigan actually said on live television the committee views those losses as identical.
What the fuck are we even talking about? In no world is a 46-point loss on a neutral field the same as a two-possession game in which the Vols had the ball at the end of the fourth quarter with a chance to score and try an onside kick. That's not to say Georgia didn't beat Tennessee soundly, but those losses are not similar. The Bulldogs were playing back-ups the entire fourth quarter against Oregon.
Last week, we were told Tennessee had the best résumé in the country. And just a week later, the groundwork has already been laid to have Oregon leapfrog Tennessee if it finishes 12-1 and wins the Pac-12, completely ignoring the rest of UT's résumé and saying the teams are similar because they both have a "one-sided" loss to Georgia. That's what that rhetoric from Corrigan was meant to do.
Maybe this all ends up being much ado about nothing because we still have four more rankings from the CFP committee and there's no telling how much it will change its thinking between now and then. But I can only go on the information the committee has given us thus far and right now, that information is abject nonsense.