At 4-6 on the season, the Syracuse Orange shouldn’t be anywhere near the College Football Playoff rankings -- and we aren’t! But nonetheless, it appears the Orange are playing a very significant role in the top 25.
Third Rankings: Top 2️⃣5️⃣ pic.twitter.com/hRECD5Ninw— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 15, 2017
Hmmm... the teams in those No. 2 and No. 3 spots are familiar.
Yes, despite the Clemson Tigers having a loss (to Syracuse) and the Miami Hurricanes having zero losses (and beating Syracuse), it seems the College Football Playoff committee sees the former as a better option to the latter.
Naturally, this means that a loss to Syracuse is actually MORE valuable to the committee than a win over the Orange (and a blowout win over Notre Dame doesn’t mean that much either, comparatively). Let’s check in on our friends down in Miami...
CLEMSON.— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) November 15, 2017
Now, the committee was quick to point out that Kelly Bryant was injured during our game. That’s true, though... your team should still be better than us, even with your backup in the game, no? And it’s tough to claim that was really the ONLY reason Clemson lost to Syracuse.
At this point, the CFP committee is making more excuses for the loss to Syracuse than Tigers fans did. And we know they certainly made several afterward.
Perhaps if Miami hadn’t faced the Orange at all, there’d be some sort of argument. But when you look at the team’s respective schedules, there are enough common opponents (FSU, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Georgia Tech) to compare them pretty equally. One went 4-0 against those teams. The other went 3-1.
I don’t even want to sound like a Miami apologist here, though we’re probably well past that point now. I’d just like the committee to come out and say that we’re this year’s “random team that matters more than it should” in the rankings. It was Pitt last year. And Minnesota in 2014. The 2015 season didn’t seem to have one of these as much simply because it was a cut-and-dry Playoff, really.
So I guess the moral of the story is probably to avoid playing .500ish teams in cold weather climates. Or don’t go unbeaten in the ACC through 11 weeks. Or that it’s truly more valuable to lose to Syracuse than it is to beat them.
We’re like the curse of lottery ticket holders, or something like that. It’s fine. Miami and Clemson play each other anyway in the ACC Championship. Though maybe then, the ‘Canes will end up getting dinged for “only” beating a two-loss team for the league title.