#DearAndy: Which Week 13 matchups have College Football Playoff implications?
The angst generated by these College Football Playoff selection committee rankings reveals probably isn’t good for some of your hearts, but it’s great for #DearAndy questions. Here is what we answered in the video …
• Why do seven three-loss teams outrank undefeated Marshall?
Read on for more questions and answers …
From @ThisisHog: What are the biggest games left not involving potential playoff teams that could increase another team's chances to get in?
One of those games is Thursday night when Kansas State plays at West Virginia. Everyone in Waco should be watching. Normally, a Big 12 game wouldn’t make a difference for Baylor, because it won’t change the Bears’ opponents’ records. But since Baylor lost at West Virginia 41-27 on Oct. 18, it really can’t afford the Mountaineers to take another loss. If Kansas State wins and West Virginia drops to 6-5, then Baylor’s loss starts to look a lot like Ohio State’s loss to Virginia Tech -- but without the built-in excuse of J.T. Barrett just beginning to take over at quarterback for the injured Braxton Miller. Baylor has the head-to-head win over TCU, and the Big 12 is a tough league at the top. However, with a miserable nonconference schedule, the Bears can’t afford to have their loss look any worse.
Another such game comes Saturday when Ole Miss visits Arkansas. By virtue of its win over Alabama, Ole Miss would be the two-loss team with the best chance to get into the playoff if the Rebels win out, so this game might not completely qualify based on the wording of the question. Still, it could be important for Mississippi State. This is a game between two SEC West teams, so it won’t change anything about the Bulldogs’ opponents’ records. But with the committee seemingly looking so closely at best wins, Mississippi State would prefer to face a 9-2 Ole Miss team in the Egg Bowl. This is especially important because Mississippi State won’t get another matchup against a likely two-loss opponent in the SEC title game if Alabama wins out. With a nonconference slate as weak as Baylor’s, the Bulldogs need quality wins to stay ahead of the rest of the one-loss pack. This is especially true if Auburn takes its fourth loss when it visits Alabama on Nov. 29.
This next one won’t affect the committee’s opinion, but it could produce a less-than-ideal matchup for a contender. If North Carolina beats Duke on Thursday, Georgia Tech would win the ACC Coastal Division. That would mean Florida State would have to play three consecutive inside-the-tackles, run-heavy offenses (Miami, Boston College and Florida) before having a week to prepare for an option team in the ACC championship. This would definitely fall under FoxSports.com writer Bruce Feldman’s Body Blow Theory, which posits that teams playing a week after facing power-running foes are at an automatic disadvantage. The Seminoles have to face three such teams in a row. Adding an option team behind that trio would be brutal for Florida State’s front seven. The 'Noles would much rather Duke beat North Carolina and Wake Forest and win the Coastal. That would offer a much better matchup after three weeks of pounding.
From @BFrazierRTR: Will Amari Cooper get invited to NYC?
He should. The Alabama junior is the best receiver in the country. While playing against better cornerbacks than most of his counterparts, Cooper ranks second nationally in receiving yards per game with 130.3. He has provided a reliable target for quarterback Blake Sims, allowing the first-year starter to grow comfortable in a new offense. If your life depended on one college receiver beating his man for a touchdown on the next play, you’d throw the ball toward Cooper.
Cooper’s problem is that he plays receiver, and most Heisman Trophy voters believe there are only two positions in football. Desmond Howard (1991) was the last receiver -- Charles Woodson (’97) moonlighted as a receiver but was primarily a cornerback -- to win the award. Quarterbacks and running backs will get the most votes, and right now the Heisman race looks like a two-man competition between Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon. Still, if Cooper keeps playing the way he has, he should appear on enough ballots to earn himself a free trip to the Big Apple.
From @JonathanMidgley: Are rankings reevaluated from scratch each week or are they built upon from the previous week?
They are supposed to be built from scratch each week, and the voting system used by the selection committee is designed to encourage completely rethinking the ballot. But I fear the multiple meetings and rankings could create a confirmation bias that the basketball committee avoids by meeting only once. If the football committee spends six weeks declaring Team X is excellent, what happens when evidence rolls in during the final week that suggests Team X is not so excellent? Will those preconceived notions be discarded?
Committee members begin each meeting by listing their Top 25 teams in no particular order. This forms the pool from which all teams will be selected. Committee members follow that by listing their top six teams in no particular order. After some (hopefully) robust discussion, the top six vote-getters from that group are ranked one through six by each committee member. The votes are tabulated, and the top three are set aside. Those are seeds Nos. 1-3 for the playoff. The other three schools from the six are thrown back into the voting pool.
Committee members then list their top six of the remaining teams in no particular order, and the top six vote-getters are called up for a vote. After more discussion, each committee member ranks those teams one through six. The top three are kept, filling slots Nos. 4-6 in the rankings. That means team No. 4 will have gone through four separate votes to get there. Hopefully, that process scrubs away any attachment to where the teams were ranked the week before. But we won’t know for certain until the final Top 25 is revealed on Dec. 7.
From @Ihagretime: If you had to live in a town purely for food purposes, where would it be?
This would come down to a competition between Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore. Austin has the most good barbecue per square mile and is the kind of creative incubator that produces all manner of quality cuisine. Portland has Pok Pok wings, pork rillette hand pies from Olympic Provisions and a great new place opening seemingly every day.
How do I break the tie? Easy. It’s against the law to pump your own gas in Oregon. I’d never live there. One of the basic freedoms I enjoy as an American who doesn’t live in Oregon or New Jersey is pumping my own gas. Never mind that the added expense of employing professional gas pumpers keeps prices higher and cuts down on the number of 24-hour gas stations, making life generally less convenient. It’s more the principle of the thing. In Texas, you can pump all the gas you want 24 hours a day at one of about 50 pumps at a Buc-ee’s flagship store. (The closest one to Austin is in Bastrop, and such a place would never exist in Oregon because the company couldn’t afford to staff it.) Then you can head inside and buy 30 varieties of beef jerky.