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Hot Reads: Projecting the Playoff
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: Projecting the Playoff

October 05, 2016

What if we just played the College Football Playoff today? Well, that would be a terrible idea because we’d be forfeiting a whole lot of really great football, but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least entertain the idea.

We’re still a month away from getting any official rankings from the CFP selection committee, but Jerry Palm of thinks he has cracked the committee’s ranking code, despite the fact that it’s really not codified:

Here, we will try to emphasize the same criteria the committee uses. That will be difficult because, as we have learned, the committee can be all over the map. Sometimes, it decides that head-to-head record matters; sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes, strength of schedule matters; sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes, relative dominance matters; sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s about game control — whatever that is — or recency bias or … ah, you get the idea.

What we have learned is that this process is highly subjective. It is much more subjective than the process that the basketball committee uses, which is what the football committee was modeled after.

There’s nothing too shocking about Palm’s projected playoff teams of Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and Louisville. Michigan is right on the outside looking in at No. 5.

The real story here, however, is how much the Pac-12 and Big 12 aren’t factoring into the discussion at this point. Washington is the top-ranked Pac-12 team at No. 9. The Huskies look like they’ll keep climbing in the polls, but this is what a Rutgers-Idaho-Portland State non-conference schedule gets you. The Big 12 is in even worse shape with its top-ranked contender being 2-2 Oklahoma at No. 15. Sorry, 5-0 Baylor. That’s what a Northwestern State-SMU-Rice non-conference schedule gets you.

As for Nebraska, the Huskers come in at No. 20, which feels about right.


Ever wondered what the economic impact of ESPN’s College GameDay is on a college town? Texas A&M is fixing to find out when the popular show rolls into College Station this Saturday ahead of Tennessee-Texas A&M.

A&M associate athletic director Jason Cook said the school commissioned a study in 2012, when the Aggies were the site for an ESPN “GameDay” telecast, to test the worth of the publicity. The show, which coincided with A&M’s game against Florida, represented about $6.5 million in free advertising.

Cook said the school will commission another study to quantify the publicity for this Saturday’s show.

The show is longer now than it was in 2012, so I’m guessing this study is going to find a publicity value close to $10 million.


>>Our weekly Tale of the Tape will be a two-parter this week. Here’s part one, focusing on Nebraska’s third-down performance against Illinois.

>>Chris Heady of Land of 10 breaks down Nebraska’s epic 18-play drive from Saturday.

>>The Huskers were shut out on PFF’s Big Ten team of the week for I believe the first time this season.

>>With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the Atlantic coast, South Carolina’s governor isn’t sure the Gamecocks will be able to host Georgia on Saturday.

>>It seems like more and more people are realizing that Big 12 expansion is nearly dead and the conference might be even more of a mess than it was when it set out to interview expansion candidates. Berry Tramel writes that you can blame Oklahoma and Texas for the instability.


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