Despite Losing, Michigan Still At Number 3 In The College Football Playoff Rankings
The Michigan Wolverines proved an old college football adage to be true, if you're going to lose in the regular season, lose to an unranked opponent on the road.
But when it's all said and done, they still have to beat Ohio State in Columbus to get in the playoffs.
Undefeated Western Michigan, meanwhile, got hosed for no good reason.
Michigan and Ohio State have been on a Big Ten collision course since day one of the college football season, but now, the game has an even bigger meaning. Chances are, the loser will go home, while the winner will get a bid into the College Football Playoffs.
Michigan retained its third spot in the College Football Rankings released yesterday, despite an horrific (seriously, they played awful) showing in Iowa City, losing 14-13, on a last second field goal to a woefully mediocre Iowa team.
Luckily the powers that be are forgiving if you come to play in the big games. Michigan had piled up some bonus point in earlier wins over three of the top 10 teams in this week's rankings, Penn State, Wisconsin and Colorado. The Wolverines were also helped by the fact that two others in the top four, Clemson and Washington faltered last week, earning them a reprieve.
Where it gets weird will be in the fallout of the M-OSU match up in Columbus November 26. If Michigan wins, and holds serve this week at home against Indiana, they will play in the Big Ten championship game December 3 in Indianapolis.
Ohio State, meanwhile, could be locked out of the Big Ten title tilt even if they beat Michigan. The 11-1 Buckeyes would be tied with Penn State for the Big Ten East title (if Penn State takes care of business and wins its two remaining games). Penn State owns the tie breaker with OSU, having beat them a few weeks ago in State College, and would head to Indy for the title tilt, despite having more losses overall.
Would the College Football Playoff Comittee overlook a one loss Conference champion like Clemson or Washington to let the Bucks in? Who knows, and there's still a lot of big games to be played, but as usual, the college football playoffs are providing a ton of suspense and story lines.
One story line included the fact that Michigan's outstanding quarterback, Wilton Speight, may miss the rest of the season after breaking his collarbone in the Iowa game. A marginal performance by his back up, John O'Korn, this Saturday against Indiana could have a bearing on how the Committee views the Wolverines in future rankings.
Meanwhile, farther down the rankings, Western Michigan's undefeated Broncos were dissed when the Committee moved once beaten Boise State past them in the rankings. The only reason I could see for such a move was that WMU struggled against Kent State on the road. But, they recovered and won the game (more than I can say for Michigan) and deserved better treatment. Boise, for their part, defeated a marginal Hawaii team.
There is only one spot for a team from outside the Power 5 conferences in a major bowl game (the Cotton Bowl), and Boise would get that spot if the season ended today.
The final rankings and Bowl pairings will be announced Sunday December 4.
Here's this week's rankings:
1 Alabama 10-0
2 Ohio State 9-1
3 Michigan 9-1
4 Clemson 9-1
5 Louisville 9-1
6 Washington 9-1
7 Wisconsin 8-2
8 Penn State 8-2
9 Oklahoma 8-2
10 Colorado 8-2
11 Oklahoma State 8-2
12 Utah 8-2
13 Southern California 7-3
14 West Virginia 8-1
15 Auburn 7-3
16 Louisiana State 6-3
17 Florida State 7-3
18 Nebraska 8-2
19 Tennessee 7-3
20 Boise State 9-1
21 Western Michigan 10-0
22 Washington State 8-2
23 Florida 7-2
24 Stanford 7-3
25 Texas A&M