CFP Selection Committee announces top 4 NCAA teams, Pac-12 does not make the cut

December 7, 2015

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee announced today the top four teams in the final rankings of the 2015 regular season, with very few surprises among the projected playoff teams.

As expected, the top four spots went to Clemson, Alabama, Big Ten winner Michigan State, and Oklahoma.

“We now have the full body of work to evaluate all of the teams,” said selection chairman Jeff Long.  “The committee viewed Clemson and Alabama as clear-cut.  We had a lengthy discussion about Michigan State and Oklahoma.  The committee saw those two teams as very closely matched.  They are both conference champions and both 4-0 against top 25 teams.  Ultimately Michigan State’s two wins against top ten teams gave them the edge.”

No. 1 Clemson will face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl. No. 2 Alabama will face No. 3 Michigan State in the Playoff Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl.

The winners will meet in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, January 11, in Glendale, Arizona.

Although the new CFP system is exciting and avoids the mind-numbing incompetence of the BCS, it still is far from perfect.

With five power conferences plus Notre Dame all fighting for just four slots, some deserving team is bound to get eliminated just from a numbers standpoint alone.  The problem, however, is that the competitors do not all participate on the same level playing field.

This year, Stanford, the winner of the Pac-12 -- the deepest and most talented conference from top to bottom -- did not make the cut despite winning a conference championship game, playing nine conference regular season games, and facing tough Northwestern and Notre Dame in non-conference games.

By comparison, Alabama and its SEC brethren only played eight regular season conference games.  The Big 12's Oklahoma did not have to play in a pressurized conference championship game at all.

Last season, it was the Big 12 that missed the party, this time due to the lack of a conference championship game.

Ultimately, the Pac-12's more ambitious approach to scheduling ended up costing the Conference a playoff spot this year, as the abundance of quality conference teams beat up on each other, saddling all the squads with at least two losses.

As such, the lack of conference uniformity across the NCAA, coupled with the timid scheduling practices of certain conferences, will tend to put less deserving teams into the new Final Four format.

In addition to naming the playoff teams, the CFP also announced the New Year’s Six bowl match-ups.

Leading into the Playoff Semifinals on New Year’s Eve day, the Peach Bowl will feature No. 9 Florida State versus No. 18 Houston.

On January 1, 2016, the excitement will continue as the Fiesta Bowl will match No. 7 Ohio State against No. 8 Notre Dame, followed by the Rose Bowl Game featuring No. 5 Iowa versus No. 6 Stanford.  On New Year’s night, No. 12 Ole Miss will face No. 16 Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.

“Many people focus on the top four, but it is also important, especially for the student-athletes who play college football, to recognize every team in the top 25.  For many students, playing in a bowl game is a highlight of their life,” said selection chairman Jeff Long.  “The second year of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee is now in the books.  I am honored by the process, dedication and preparation that the committee members brought week in and week out.  It’s a lot of work, a lot of study and a lot of detailed conversation.  I’m grateful to each of them for their commitment.”

Here are the final rankings:

1 Clemson
2 Alabama
3 Michigan State
4 Oklahoma
5 Iowa
6 Stanford
7 Ohio State
8 Notre Dame
9 Florida State
10 North Carolina
11 TCU
12 Mississippi
13 Northwestern
14 Michigan
15 Oregon
16 Oklahoma State
17 Baylor
18 Houston
19 Florida
20 LSU
21 Navy
22 Utah
23 Tennessee
24 Temple
25 Southern California

By Staff of and news services

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