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CFP Rankings Week 4

Written by Casimir Moninghoff

December 19, 2020

We may have missed you last week, but we’ve got you covered before the Conference title games today! Lots of interesting storylines and possible scenarios before the final rankings tomorrow at noon on ESPN. Here are the rankings as they stand through four weeks.

Florida lost! That was one of the things that needed to happen in order to cause some potential chaos in the CFP. We all have been talking about the playoff being Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, and Florida in some order. LSU ended that conversation with a wild win at the Swamp. The game was tied at 34 with 2 minutes to go on a 3rd and 10. Florida got the stop and had forced a punt…..or so it seemed. Just after the play was finishing, the LSU receiver’s show came off into the hands of cornerback Marco Wilson who proceeded to throw the shoe in excitement of the stop about 20 yards down field. Refs threw flags on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct, which is an automatic first down to keep the drive alive for LSU. The Tigers completed their drive by giving their kicker Cade York a chance, and he delivered. A 57 yard field goal with seconds remaining. However, Florida finally has a quarterback in Kyle Trask and while hope seemed lost, he was determined to keep the Gators in the Playoff hunt. He drove them down the field and got them in field goal range with a chance to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately, Evan McPherson’s attempt from 51 yards was wide to the left. This loss knocks Florida out of CFP contention even with a game against Alabama for the SEC title today. There simply is too much for the Gators to overcome with Clemson still staying if they lose, Texas A&M, and even Iowa St. ahead of them now for a coveted fourth spot.

Speaking of Iowa State, they made yet another interesting jump this week. This time they are #6 and right on the cusp of making the CFP for the first time ever. However, they will tell you that they are focused on their first ever Big 12 title game. The Cyclones have made it to where they are this year by defeating Oklahoma and Texas in the same year and then rolling through the rest of their schedule in the conference. One of their two losses is to #19 the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette. The Committee has rewarded them for their successes this year and rightfully so. Should their be a two-loss team in the playoff this year, Iowa St. is doing everything they can to show that they should be the team. The committee has clearly displayed that conference titles seem to be at the forefront of their decision making as well. That does not bold well for Texas A&M as they are not in the SEC title game with their loss to Alabama already. The Cyclones have one more test today and it is against the Oklahmoa Sooners. I believe that they will defeat the Sooners and win the Big 12 championship. While the Sooners are a good team, it does seem as if their may be a closing of the gap in the Big 12. A win today, and a little bit of help (Notre Dame and Alabama winning) would leave the Cyclones with a strong case to make the College Football Playoff.

Cincinnati fell another spot unfortunately due to Coronavirus keeping them off the field. The other knock that led to their fall, as CFP chair Gary Barta explained was their strength of schedule or lack thereof. The AAC has one other ranked opponent in Tulsa, but the Bearcats will most likely knock them out of the rankings, which leaves them finished with no ranked opponents at the end of the season.

CFP Rankings Week 4 Gary Barta on ESPN

Unfortunately for the Bearcats it seems that they would need a whole lot of chaos in order to make the jump heard around the world into the CFP. They would need Notre Dame to blow out Clemson, Northwestern to beat Ohio State by at least a touchdown, Iowa State to lose a close game, Tennessee to beat Texas A&M, and they would need to destory Tulsa just to get themselves back into the conversation. While this is not impossible, it is certainly improbable and we are looking at another year of a Group of 5 team coming so close and yet so far from breaking the glass into the College Football Playoff.

Ohio St. saw the Big Ten change their requirement of 6 games played in order to make the Big Ten championship game. The Big Ten eliminated the requirement entirely mainly due to the fact that Ohio State had defeated their lone challenger on their side of the conference, Indiana, earlier in the season. Had that not occurred, I believe Ohio State would have been forced to play Indiana during the week the Michigan game was cancelled. While I do believe that Ohio State should have played more games, that is something they cannot control. The conference certainly waited too long for a start date, and their opponents had to cancel games for the majority of the season, not the Buckeyes. Had OSU been the culprit of the cancellations, I believe this would have played out differently. Ohio State has looked dominant in the games they have played so far and as long as they have one more display of dominance, they will be in the College Football Playoff for another year.

The CFP committee has had an interesting year thus far and a difficult one at that as each conference played a different number of games, quality of opponents changed, and we seem to have a glimpse of how a CFP committee views Group of 5 conferences, on their own, against Power 5 conferences. That view seems to be that Group of 5 conferences need to have multiple teams in the rankings in order to be in the discussion to make the playoff. Simply having one team go undefeated will not break the glass, and to a point I can understand that. At the same time, I do believe an undefeated team should be able to compete for a National Championship. That is where the talk of expansion comes into play and apart from one idea, which we will cover after the season, I am against that. We are set up for a potentially historic conference championship weeked and I hope you all enjoy the games as much as I know I will!

Featured Image Via: College Football Playoff

Follow me on Twitter: @CaseyMoninghoff

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