College Football Playoff Rankings prediction: Ohio State slides into top four after Michigan State upset

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee gave us their first top 25 for the 2021 season last week, and while most did not agree with all of the rankings, it is their opinion that matters. There has already been quite a bit of movement as eight of the teams ranked last week lost, and seven of those losses came to unranked teams.

The four teams projected to drop out of the rankings: No. 17 Mississippi State, No. 18 Kentucky, No. 20 Minnesota and No. 23 Fresno State.

Here is the criteria that committee members consider when building the CFP Rankings each week:

Strength of scheduleConference championships (once decided)Head-to-headResults vs. common opponentsResults vs. ranked opponents

Thankfully, the committee’s definition of “ranked opponents” is different than what you’re used to seeing. The rankings they use are the prior week’s CFP Rankings. They do not consider where teams are ranked when the games were played either in the CFP, AP Top 25, etc. Using game-time rankings is the most worthless way to determine “ranked opponents”. In fact, the committee specifically forbids the use of any poll that has a preseason starting point.

There are also criteria that are not specifically listed and will likely never be said out loud by anyone. Those include things like margin of victory. Teams cannot always control their strength of schedule, but they can take strides to make up for a weak one by dominating the opponents they do face.

Also, game control is back! Actually, it never went away, but it’s doubtful we will ever hear that term again. Regardless, when the committee chairman is mentioning halftime scores, like Gary Barta did when talking about the North Carolina-Notre Dame game last week, then you know game control is a thing. It…


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