BCS vs. College Football Committee Rankings Comparison

Samuel Chi@@ThePlayoffGuruCollege Football Playoff GuruOctober 29, 2014

AP Images

The College Football Playoff selection committee unveiled its first rankings Tuesday night, and they are, in fact, spot-on.

Based on these rankings, we can easily deduce that strength of schedule is of paramount importance to the committee, and head-to-head results are fastidiously considered. Their rankings are more logical and consistent than the two polls, particularly the Amway Coaches Poll, which should now be thoroughly discredited.

The CFP rankings also vary slightly from what the BCS standings would've looked like. The reason for that is rather obvious: the influence of the polls. In the BCS standings used from 2004-2013, the polls accounted for two-thirds of rankings. That element has been completely suppressed as the committee's list bears much more of a resemblance to computer rankings.

Here are the committee's Top 25 teams, as compared to a facsimile of the old BCS standings, our CFP mock standings and the two major polls:

Playoff Committee Rankings Comparison
CFP RankTeamBCSB/R MockAPCoaches
1Miss State1111
2Florida State2422
4Ole Miss6579
8Michigan State91085
9Kansas State10111111
10Notre Dame7867
14Arizona State13171514
16Ohio State14161313
20West Virginia21202022
23East Carolina*22242119
*Top group-of-five team

Explanations of Rankings

BCS rankings are a simulation of the BCS formula used from 2004-2013 with two exceptions: 1. The AP poll is used in place of the Harris Poll; 2) Sagarin and Massey rankings are their native systems instead of the non-MOV version used for the BCS.

CFP mock rankings are published weekly at Bleacher Report, with components including polls, computers, strength of schedule and conference championships. The full rankings are here.

A few highlights, thoughts from committee's first rankings

Committee's rankings don't behave like polls 

That is a good thing—a very good thing. The biggest problem with the BCS in its latter years was that the polls were weighted disproportionately. One of the major beneficiaries of this has been Alabama, which always seems to get more support in the polls than it deserves. The Tide, ranked No. 3 in both polls as well as the would-be BCS standings, are much more accurately placed by the committee at No. 6.

Strength of schedule matters, a lot

Oct 25, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio walks the sideline during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium.  MSU won 35-11. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten is being punished as a weak conference, as Michigan State might not be able to play its way into the playoff even if it wins out. Ohio State, at No. 16, virtually has no chance. The committee also is making an example out of Baylor, which is several spots behind its Big 12 rivals with identical records, because of its pathetic nonconference slate.

Where's Marshall?

The only team that's in the Top 25 in both polls and would-be BCS standings but omitted by the committee is Marshall, the only other undefeated team besides Mississippi State and Florida State in its rankings. The Thundering Herd have won their eight games by an average of nearly 30 points, but their weak schedule clearly has been a huge detriment.

As of now, East Carolina is the only team from the group-of-five conferences in the rankings.

The tournament starts now

Don't be fooled by the bracket that's being put out on TV (and everywhere else). Though there are four SEC West teams in the Top Six, there are four guaranteed losses among those teams as they still have to face each other multiple times. Essentially, eight of the top nine teams—except Michigan State—have a chance to play their way into the playoff, which leaves us with the one real surprise...

No luck of the Irish

Oct 18, 2014; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly reacts from the sidelines after a series of downs against the Florida State Seminoles during the first quarter at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Merc

Despite three members with ties to the school (and are not covered under the recusal policy)—Condoleezza Rice, Ty Willingham and Pat Haden—Notre Dame did not get much love from the committee.

At No. 10, the Irish need some help to get into the playoff field even if they finish 11-1. It's a clear indication that the committee isn't fond of horseshoes or hand grenades: Notre Dame's close loss at Florida State doesn't count for much.

Follow on Twitter @ThePlayoffGuru


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