College Football Playoffs surrounded by controversy

The College Football Playoff Rankings were released on Sunday, December 4th, and there has been much dispute across the country over whether these rankings are correct. Ohio State got the number 3 seed, and with many of us being Buckeye fans, we could only wonder if Ohio State deserved to be on the playoff. So, here at Panther Press we ask: Did the CFP Committee get it right?

  The first seed was obvious – Alabama. The Crimson Tide have steamrolled anybody that crossed their path this season, and finished undefeated. Nobody is arguing here.

  Clemson jumped Ohio State for the two seed, mainly because of their conference championship, which the Buckeyes lacked. Once again, not a lot of dispute here.

  Now this is where things get dicey. Ohio State secured the number three seed, and Washington had the number four seed, leaving out number five, Penn State. Many people were disappointed that Penn State, a conference champion with a nine game win streak that beat Ohio State, was discarded from the Playoff.

  So, the question is, who deserved those last two playoff spots?

Here’s a graphic that helps sort things out.

Image Provided by Madeline Capka

Image Provided by Madeline Capka

Some takeaways:

  • Washington only played six teams with at least a .500 record. So, sure they won a lot of games, but did they really beat anybody with a lot of skill?
  • Penn State has two losses, including a loss to a mediocre Pittsburgh team.
  • Ohio State has three wins in the top fifteen. One of these wins was a blowout victory over the Big-12 champion, Oklahoma. This shows that Ohio State has the skill to defeat quality teams

  The Committee has said many times that their goal was to put in the four best teams. Ohio State beat some of the best teams in the country, and don’t forget the 62-3 win over Nebraska, who was once ranked number nine. Ohio State’s loss was to Penn State, however. So shouldn’t Penn State get in over Ohio State?

  Sports writer Bill Connelly explained why the Buckeyes deserved the win more.

  “Ohio State lost via blocked kick on the road to the No. 5 team in the country. But Penn State still lost twice, to the No. 6 team in the country (a team Ohio State beat) and to Pitt.

  The Buckeyes played Oklahoma in non-conference play and stomped the Sooners in Norman. The Nittany Lions played Pitt and lost via last-second interception.

  Ohio State is second in both the AP and coaches polls; Penn State is fifth in both.

  The Buckeyes are third in S&P+, second in Sagarin, and ahead of the Nittany Lions in nearly every other computer ranking.

  Scoring margin against six common opponents: Ohio State plus-149, Penn State plus-78,” Connelly wrote.

  Ohio State may have lost to Penn State, but it was mostly because of a crazy special teams play. Also, Penn State wouldn’t have even been in the conference championship without the help of Ohio State,  who beat Michigan Penn State lost to.

  So, it does look like the committee got the third seed right, with Ohio State. But should the fourth seed have really been Washington?

  Most statistical indicators give the edge to Washington, but the eye test says differently. Penn State looked great in the Big 10 Championship Game against Wisconsin, and has been playing with a lot of momentum. Meanwhile, Washington lost what I believe was its biggest test against USC, and skated by with an easy schedule.

  All in all, the are still some questions remaining. How much should strength of schedule be rewarded? Is the committee afraid to put in two teams from the same conference? Will they ever put in a two-loss team? We’ll see if these are answered in the coming seasons.

Panther Press Playoff Picks

Who WE would have selected:


  1. Alabama 2. Clemson 3. Ohio State 4. Penn State


  1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Clemson 4. Penn State


  1. Texas A&M 2. UCLA 3. Kent State 4. West Virginia


  1. Alabama 2. Clemson 3. Ohio State 4. Washington

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