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Podcast: Is there any value to the College Football Playoff weekly rankings?

CFB Playoff Trophy

The first batch of rankings from the College Football Playoff selection committee were released Tuesday night, leaving us all to once again ask “Why?” Why is Alabama in the top four? Why does it matter who the top teams are now, when the whole process starts from scratch next week, and the¬†week after that, and the week after that? Why are they even releasing a weekly ranking in the firts place when the only job this selection committee has to do is put together a final ranking to determine who plays in the playoff and the other big money bowl games? Why do we get all hot and bothered over such nonsense in the middle of the season?

The answer to that last question is probably “Because we can’t help ourselves.” And it’s true. Even if you make a point to ignore the College Football Playoff weekly rankings, you are participating in the topic and the buzz surrounding it. I may be as guilty as the next. I go at length to say just how meaningless these early rankings are, just as I do with the preseason polls, but the only way to prove that point is to point out what is wrong with the ranking once it is released. You win, College Football Playoff. I wanted a playoff in college football, and this is the price I shall pay.

Regardless of what you think about the weekly rankings, I do think it is interesting to see how the selection committee has evaluated the season to date and compare that to how we feel about the season as well as compare it against the major polls like the Associated Press Top 25. The top three teams in the playoff ranking are also in the top four teams in the latest AP Top 25, although the order is different with AP No. 1 Ohio State coming behind CFB Playoff No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 LSU. AP No. 2 Baylor lags in the playoff ranking at No. 6. Schedule harder games, Baylor. We have been through this before.

As always, my biggest takeaway with this early poll is to step back, take a deep breath and relax. All of the top playoff contenders still have their biggest games in front of them this month, which will allow for plenty of pieces to fall into place accordingly for the playoff picture. For starters, Alabama plays LSU and Clemson plays Florida State this week. TCU and Oklahoma State also play, and those two will also still have games against Baylor and Oklahoma (and Baylor and Oklahoma play too), so the Big 12 could easily pick itself apart or see one team rise up and become the conference’s first playoff participant after being left out last season. Ohio State and Michigan State still have to play each other, and the Buckeyes still must visit Ann Arbor at the end of the year. And either the Buckeyes or Spartans are probably going to have to deal with a sleeper in Iowa. This will sort itself out in due time.

My guest on the No 2-Minute Warning podcast today is Ralph Russo, who covers college football for the Associated Press. He has been on the bucket list of guests for this podcast for a while, so it is an honor to get him on today to discusses the first College Football Playoff ranking as well as take a quick glance at some of the big games around college football this coming weekend.

Follow Ralph Russo on Twitter @ralphrussoAP.

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About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.