One week into the College Football Playoff rankings and we already have a controversy.
The Texas A&M Aggies came in at No. 4, while the unbeaten Washington Huskies, came in at No. 5.
The reason for that, per College Football Playoff Committee Chairman Kirby Hocutt, is because of Texas A&M’s strength of schedule.
“The committee in our mind believes that Texas A&M has played a stronger strength of schedule at this time in the season compared to Washington,” Hocutt said. “Texas A&M has four wins against teams with records better than .500 while Washington has only two.”
Hocutt than had larger discussions with host Rece Davis about how the committee views conference champions, Penn State and how to evaluate conferences.
On predicting or projecting conference champions:
We have very robust conversations and discussions about these teams and the margins are razor thin, especially when you look at the team’s we just compared in Texas A&M and Washington. We do a deeper dive. That’s our focus as a committee. To look at strength of schedule, to look at quality wins, where those games are played, etc. Conference champions, very important, but we won’t know that for a number of weeks.
On Penn State being ranked No. 12, much higher than its AP Poll ranking:
Penn State has played a strong schedule. A great win over Ohio State, four of their six have been against teams with a winning record. In the eyes of the committee, we’ve taken a lot of looks at the schedule they’ve played and been very impressed with their improvement but also their quality of win.
On the committee’s assessment of the Pac-12
We don’t talk about particular conferences, we evaluate teams. Our charge is very simple: To rank the 25 best teams in college football and pick the four very best teams in college football for inclusion into the College Football Playoff. We do not look conference affiliations as we talk about teams in our committee room.
This is the first of six rankings put out by the committee. The first five rankings come out on Tuesday and the final rankings come out the Sunday after the conference championships.