This Week in the College Football Playoff Odds Standings

Posted by Daniel Strum on Thursday,November 26, 2015 12:52, EST in

If NCAA Football betting fans been following the weekly standings in the College Football Playoff, the two key things to remember are short-term thinking and the “eye” test. However, don’t expect the CFP Selection Committee to be consistent in their application of those two ideas.

Taking A Look at This Week in the College Football Playoff Odds Standings

Let’s look at the trends. Clemson has been #1 from the beginning. They look strong, and they keep winning. LSU was #2 in the initial rankings. Three tough losses later, and LSU isn’t even in the top 25. Now, Alabama is #2, even though they have a loss to an 8-3 Ole Miss team that isn’t even in the top 15 of the rankings. Then comes Oklahoma at #3, but given the fact that they have beaten TCU and Baylor back to back, that passes the short-term thinking test. Remember that Oklahoma is 10-1, with that loss coming to unranked Texas. That’s probably too long ago for the committee to remember. So if you follow that logic, the #4 team should probably be Notre Dame, who continues to look strong each week, or Michigan State, who dominated Ohio State and has also beaten Michigan and Oregon. Michigan State has a loss (to unranked Nebraska, which apparently matters more than Oklahoma’s loss to Texas), as does Notre Dame, but they lost to top-ranked Clemson.

How Much Longer Can the Hawkeyes hold the #4 spots

Even so, that #4 slot is currently held by the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes. Yes, they are 11-0, but they have only one win against a top-25 CFP team (Northwestern). They haven’t played anyone else who was that difficult – and they haven’t been routing people. Think Florida State from a year ago. Notre Dame sits at #6. The seventh slot is still Baylor’s, despite their loss to Oklahoma. Baylor plays #19 TCU, but it would be extremely difficult to see Baylor ending up in the mix. Ohio State is #8 now, with a tough game at Michigan. Michigan State has to fall to Penn State for either Ohio State or Michigan to end up in the Big 10 Championship Game against Iowa.

So what could happen? Oklahoma plays #11 Oklahoma State this week on the road. If OU can win that Bedlam game, they are likely a lock to stay in. That would make three straight wins against ranked opponents in the last three weeks of the season. It’s hard to finish any stronger than that. Notre Dame plays at Stanford, who currently sits at #9. If Notre Dame can win, could they leapfrog Michigan State and Iowa? Let’s see. Iowa plays at Nebraska (who knocked off Michigan State at home). Michigan State hosts Penn State, and if they win, they’re in the Big 10 Championship Game. Here’s a question, though. How did Ohio State only drop to #8 after they lost at home to Michigan State? They haven’t beaten anybody in the top 25. Oklahoma State has beaten one, and they’re only at #11.

That’s where consistency and fairness always come into question when it means determining playoff teams in college football. For now, the Big 10 winner looks like it will take that #4 position, as long as it is either Iowa or Michigan State. If Michigan State loses to Penn State, could Ohio State beat Michigan, beat Iowa and end up in the playoff? Given the committee’s apparent bias toward them, it’s quite conceivable that Notre Dame could be left watching the Big 10 leapfrog them. Stay tuned.