- Texas A&M getting in the top four ahead of Washington, the Big 12's subpar position and the lack of respect for Louisville highlighted the first playoff rankings.
The College Football Playoff selection committee released its first set of rankings Tuesday night. Here are three thoughts from the playoff committee's first top 25:
1. Texas A&M at No. 4 is awful
Putting Texas A&M at No. 4 is flat-out bad—there's no other way around it. The Aggies have just one win over a ranked opponent (No. 9 Auburn) and got blown out by No. 1 Alabama. Their big non-conference win came against 3–5 UCLA, which shouldn't be seen as anything special. Texas A&M has three wins over really, really bad football teams in Prairie View A&M, New Mexico State and South Carolina, which leaves Tennessee and Arkansas as the team's two other victories. Tennessee has fallen off a cliff and just lost to South Carolina, not to mention the fact that the Vols had some great luck early on, and Arkansas has one win in SEC play and has proven to be nothing great either.
Simply put, Texas A&M's strength of schedule is overhyped.
The Aggies play one quality team the rest of the way in No. 13 LSU, at home. It's stunning they were ranked ahead of both Washington and Ohio State.
2. Washington is the Pac-12's only hope, and the Big 12 is in trouble
While being at No. 5 isn't bad, it's not what Washington hoped for. By being ranked behind Texas A&M, the Huskies will likely have to finish the season undefeated. Luckily for them, USC and Washington State would both be quality wins, and there is a possibility No. 15 Colorado could meet them in the conference title game. Strength of schedule clearly hurts Washington for now, and that was the reason selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt gave for placing the Aggies ahead. Huskies fans shouldn't freak out though, as it is still very early and as long as Washington continues to win, it will be just fine.
Meanwhile, the Big 12 has four teams ranked in the top 25, but Oklahoma is the highest at No. 14. The Sooners already have two losses, and the chances of a two-loss team making it to the playoff are slim unless there is massive chaos. The middle and bottom of the Big 12 is terribly weak, and it continues to hurt the better teams in the league.
3. The committee doesn't believe in Louisville
Louisville is in big trouble. In Tuesday's Bubble Watch, I mentioned you shouldn't be surprised if Louisville tumbles in the rankings, and here the Cardinals are at No. 7. The reason that's such a big deal is that there are no high-quality opponents left on Louisville's schedule. Boston College, Wake Forest, Houston and Kentucky are its remaining four games, and because Houston has suffered multiple losses, there simply isn't an opportunity for the Cardinals to come up with the type of win they need to pass the teams ahead of them.
The ACC as a whole is relatively poor, especially once you get past the top three. Clemson is ranked ahead of Michigan for now, but that also could change as the season goes on.
Full College Football Playoff rankings
4. Texas A&M
6. Ohio State
12. Penn State
18. Oklahoma State
19. Virginia Tech
20. West Virginia
21. North Carolina
22. Florida State
23. Western Michigan
24. Boise State
25. Washington State