With much of the nation’s college football community in an uproar over the first edition of College Football Playoff rankings, committee member Jeff Long had to answer some tough questions on Tuesday night.
For one: Why was Alabama ranked No. 4, while fellow one-loss SEC team Florida was No. 11?
“They’ve got three wins against teams that have .500 or better records, and then Florida has two,” Long, Arkansas’ athletic director, told 247Sports.com‘s Chance Linton. “So I think that was probably the biggest difference.”
Long probably meant to say, “teams better than .500,” because Alabama and Florida have four and three victories over .500 and better teams, respectively (both beat 4-4 Tennessee).
“I think that they’re actually very close,” Long said. “Even though they may be separated by that length in our rankings, those are two teams that we do think are very close.”
Another factor: The lopsided nature of Alabama’s three big wins (Wisconsin, Georgia and Texas A&M) was enough to distance ‘Bama from Florida, according to SI.com’s Stewart Mandel.
CBS’ Jon Solomon reported that Long also said Alabama’s and Florida’s wins over Georgia were not equal.
“Alabama beating Georgia w/ (running back Nick) Chubb and starting QB was a factor and noted in vote,” Solomon tweeted. “Florida beat Georgia without Chubb and 3rd string QB.”
USA Today’s George Schroeder says that the committee thinks its No. 1 through No. 4 teams are “pretty strong,” while there was more debate about No. 5 through No. 8.
Alabama hosts new No. 2 LSU in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night (8 pm ET, CBS).