The initial College Football Playoff rankings came out this week, and despite the fact that Baylor is the #2 team in the nation and TCU the #5, they were dropped by this august committee to #6 and #8, respectively. Maybe respectively is not the right word since this committee obviously has no respect for football excellence. This same committee left both of these schools out of last year’s playoffs to jump other teams up.
Ohio State is #3, despite the fact that the only team of consequence it plays all year is Michigan State. Alabama and Notre Dame are #4 and #5, although both have been beaten this year. What’s that about?
TCU and Baylor were both 11-1 last season and are both unbeaten this year. Why do they deserve such disrespect? Along with Oklahoma State, they lead the Big 12, which has the best combined nonconference record of any of the power five conferences. What do they have to do?
The records of these two schools are even more impressive when you consider the disadvantages under which they operate. Notre Dame is the only school in the top 8 of these rankings besides Baylor and TCU with an enrollment of under 20,000 students, and in Notre Dame’s case, total enrollment is a misleading figure.
If an athlete is a Roman Catholic and Notre Dame wants him, odds are that’s where he’ll go. There is a lot of pressure within that church for students to go there if the school wants them. TCU and Baylor have no such advantage.
In fact, TCU and Baylor have another major disadvantage compared to the other schools in the rankings. If an athlete lives in Alabama, odds are very strong he’s going to either Alabama or Auburn, and Alabama usually wins that contest. A Louisiana high school athlete is almost undoubtedly going to LSU. What other school is there?
Same with Ohio State—there is no competition from any other major school in the state. Clemson and Michigan State each have one competing school major enough to draw off some of the athletes, but that’s all.
Texas high school athletes, on the other hand, are heavily recruited by three other major universities within the state—Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, although I suspect A&M lost some of its luster when it turned tail and ran away from the Big 12 a few years ago. Texas high school athletes are also heavily recruited by both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and other recruiters come from states all over the nation to try to get our athletes. That’s a lot of competition for two small private schools to have to contend with.
Considering the recruiting wars and the relatively small enrollments, it’s amazing these two schools are even in the discussion. Considering their records, it’s amazing they aren’t both in the top four. Come on, CFP, let’s get real and recognize quality.
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