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The Book 2016: Week 15

The Book's four teams in the CFP. How should one evaluate non conference schedules. The best one loss teams?

Tide roll into the CFP as our #1 team
Tide roll into the CFP as our #1 team
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The debate has been settled.

The 12 person CFP committee has spoken and provided us a final four of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington.  The results are disappointing to some, maddening to others, definitely not that simple to explain (see Kirby Hocutt), but certainly one that at least some, if not the majority of those who pay attention to college football can at least agree was a plausible outcome.

Did they get it right?  That's hard to say.  One thing is clear, there is no 100% correct answer to this and what we will see from here out should not determine whether they got it right or wrong.  If Washington loses to Alabama by 60, there will be cries about why Penn State should have gotten in instead or if Ohio State wins, there will be some talk that they never should have had the chance in the first place.

When you get to the playoff, you are now answering a totally different question than what you were to originally select the four teams.  It is now a two game season and it is about who the best team is over those two games, not about who should have been included or not and success or failure in these games does not justify inclusion or exclusion in the tournament to begin with.

As we have seen in this process, the committee went against its own protocol on several points (good article here from FBS Schedules on their process) and ignored conference championships, head to head results, even strength of schedule when it came to picking the teams.

From where I sit, they had real trouble qualifying what "best" meant.  Best throughout the year, best now (hello USC), best based on resume, or best based on fewest losses. Ah, ha!

Although we will never hear it, it is my belief that the easy route here was to justify best based on fewest losses of power five teams.  In Alabama, there was  the only undefeated team and there were just three power five teams with one loss...put them all in and be done with it.  Means it then became much easier for them to eliminate Penn State over either Ohio State or Washington, regardless of whether they were better or not.

The issue I have there is the protocol and the value you place on conference championships where the committee has said they matter.  Penn State has that over Ohio State and although through feel and even through our Book metrics, Ohio State comes out on top (despite the loss), what was the sense of the conference title?

By taking a non conference champion from the same conference, heck from the same division, as a team you left out, you invalidated the Big 10 season and said, it really didn't matter very much.  If they were going to do it this way, they would have been better leaving Washington out...but the Huskies bring us to another topic, strength of schedule.

I was blown away by how so many of the so called experts said it wasn't Washington's fault that they played a soft non conference schedule.  On that I agree.  If you want to argue they could have scheduled better competition, that's fine, but the UW football team, not their athletic department, played the schedule that was in front of them and had components of it that were set up many years ago, without any input from the players or Head Coach Chris Petersen.

But therein lies the rub.

UW's non conference schedule was ranked #127 out of 128, just ahead of our beloved Eagles. What the committee did by trying to justify their decision was place the burden of Washington's scheduling choices on other programs they were competing against.

The schedule itself was not a problem, but it had to be weighed against what others did.  End of story.  No talk of Washington thinking they wouldn't be in this spot and therefore scheduling for the purposes of building a program and not to compete for a college football title.

Teams should be selected for the college football playoff SOLELY based on their resume. Now you can debate the relative strength of that resume, but every other way of looking at "best" of determine who is in, is infinitely more subjective.

Will this move the needle to get to eight teams? No and changes certainly won't happen anytime soon. Also wrong are the people who think an eight team bracket will solve the problem. I would like to see eight because I believe more good football is never a bad thing and I would like to include one too many teams vs one too few, particularly considering the abundance of participation trophies known as bowl games that we have.  What it does mean though is that there will be calls for more transparency, more consistency, less art and more science.  Kind of sounds like the BCS...or the Book!

The Book had the top three teams the same and in the same order, it did however differ on 4 and 5 with the two logical suspects of Penn State (straight resume) and Washington (combination of resume and power ranking) flipping spots.

It really does underscore that the committee came down to evaluating two losses vs strength of schedule, exclusive of conference championships and head to head results and they chose number of losses as their key metric.

Back next week with just the point spreads for the bowl games!

Enjoy the games and Go Eagles!

Note:  the Massey composite rankings are as of Monday evening, December 5.

CFP COMMITTEE STYLE RANKING
RANK TEAM RECORD POWER COMBINED CFP SAGARIN MASSEY
1 Alabama Crimson Tide 13-0 1 1 1 1 1
2 Clemson Tigers 12-1 4 2 2 5 4
3 Ohio State Buckeyes 11-1 3 3 3 2 2
4 Penn State Nittany Lions 11-2 7 5 5 6 6
5 Washington Huskies 12-1 2 4 4 4 3
6 Oklahoma Sooners 10-2 6 7 7 9 8
7 Michigan Wolverines 10-2 8 8 6 3 5
8 Colorado Buffaloes 10-3 13 10 10 10 11
9 Wisconsin Badgers 10-3 11 11 8 7 7
10 USC Trojans 9-3 5 6 9 8 9
11 West Virginia Mountaineers 10-2 26 13 16 22 17
12 Florida State Seminoles 9-3 9 9 11 11 12
13 Stanford Cardinal 9-3 22 12 18 17 13
14 Western Michigan Broncos 13-0 32 31 15 15 10
15 Oklahoma State Cowboys 9-3 15 17 12 19 23
16 Virginia Tech Hokies 9-4 16 16 22 25 26
17 Pittsburgh Panthers 8-4 21 14 23 30 28
18 South Florida Bulls 10-2 34 27 - 27 20
19 Boise State Broncos 10-2 61 36 - 34 19
20 North Carolina Tar Heels 8-4 23 19 - 38 35
21 Nebraska Cornhuskers 9-3 49 28 - 33 25
22 Louisville Cardinals 9-3 14 21 13 16 14
23 Florida Gators 8-4 25 26 17 29 24
24 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 8-4 30 24 - 40 39
25 Miami-Florida Hurricanes 8-4 12 20 - 20 30
26 Iowa Hawkeyes 8-4 17 23 - 18 21
27 Auburn Tigers 8-4 19 18 14 14 15
28 Navy Midshipmen 9-3 29 33 25 41 34
29 Washington State Cougars 8-4 18 22 - 13 18
30 Tennessee Volunteers 8-4 33 25 21 37 27
31 Houston Cougars 9-3 36 34 - 24 29
32 Temple Owls 10-3 24 37 24 21 22
33 LSU Tigers 7-4 10 15 20 12 16
34 Utah Utes 8-4 28 29 19 28 33
35 Texas A&M Aggies 8-4 42 32 - 26 31
36 Kansas State Wildcats 8-4 20 30 - 23 38
37 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 9-3 48 45 - 32 37
38 Minnesota Golden Gophers 8-4 37 35 - 35 36
39 Georgia Bulldogs 7-5 43 38 - 49 45
40 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 10-3 27 48 - 36 32
41 Memphis Tigers 8-4 41 43 - 39 42
42 Kentucky Wildcats 7-5 44 39 - 59 49
43 Arkansas Razorbacks 7-5 47 40 - 44 46
44 BYU Cougars 8-4 31 46 - 31 41
45 Air Force Falcons 9-3 69 57 - 55 48
46 San Diego State Aztecs 10-3 46 60 - 53 44
47 Appalachian St. Mountaineers 9-3 63 63 - 48 40
48 Toledo Rockets 9-3 62 55 - 46 43
49 Northwestern Wildcats 6-6 40 41 - 42 47
50 Old Dominion Monarchs 9-3 81 78 - 77 60
51 Vanderbilt Commodores 6-6 39 44 - 52 51
52 N.C. State Wolfpack 6-6 38 42 - 45 53
53 Troy Trojans 9-3 86 74 - 73 52
54 TCU Horned Frogs 6-6 53 50 - 43 56
55 Wyoming Cowboys 8-5 74 71 - 66 55
56 South Carolina Gamecocks 6-6 75 56 - 78 69
57 Idaho Vandals 8-4 91 79 - 85 65
58 Ole Miss Rebels 5-7 54 47 - 57 54
59 Colorado State Rams 7-5 51 62 - 50 50
60 New Mexico Lobos 8-4 70 76 - 70 61
61 California Golden Bears 5-7 52 49 - 51 57
62 Indiana Hoosiers 6-6 56 54 - 58 59
63 Boston College Eagles 6-6 67 61 - 74 72
64 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 8-4 95 86 - 93 79
65 Maryland Terrapins 6-6 85 70 - 64 64
66 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 8-5 68 81 - 69 62
67 Baylor Bears 6-6 64 68 - 71 66
68 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 6-6 73 66 - 75 76
69 Texas Longhorns 5-7 66 65 - 63 74
70 Eastern Michigan Eagles 7-5 96 84 - 95 80
71 Mississippi St. Bulldogs 5-7 45 51 - 47 58
72 Arizona State Sun Devils 5-7 79 67 - 76 77
73 Ohio University Bobcats 8-5 80 89 - 84 75
74 UCF Knights 6-6 71 73 - 56 63
75 Texas Tech Red Raiders 5-7 50 87 - 65 78
76 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-8 35 53 - 54 70
77 Arkansas State Red Wolves 7-5 82 88 - 72 73
78 Oregon Ducks 4-8 59 52 - 62 68
79 UCLA Bruins 4-8 60 58 - 60 67
80 Duke Blue Devils 4-8 58 64 - 80 84
81 Syracuse Orange 4-8 76 69 - 82 88
82 Oregon State Beavers 4-8 57 59 - 61 71
83 SMU Mustangs 5-7 93 83 - 81 82
84 Army Black Knights 6-5 102 94 - 92 91
85 Central Michigan Chippewas 6-6 97 90 - 94 86
86 Miami-Ohio Redhawks 6-6 83 96 - 90 90
87 Missouri Tigers 4-8 65 72 - 79 81
88 Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 5-7 90 75 - 87 89
89 Hawaii Warriors 6-7 110 103 - 102 97
90 Southern Miss Golden Eagles 6-6 100 101 - 98 92
91 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns 6-6 88 99 - 91 87
92 Iowa St. Cyclones 3-9 72 82 - 68 95
93 Northern Illinois Huskies 5-7 77 92 - 86 85
94 Arizona Wildcats 3-9 87 80 - 83 93
95 South Alabama Jaguars 6-6 116 107 - 103 96
96 Illinois Fighting Illini 3-9 89 85 - 89 100
97 Michigan State Spartans 3-9 55 77 - 67 83
98 Cincinnati Bearcats 4-8 92 95 - 96 98
99 Akron Zips 5-7 113 109 - 110 101
100 Tulane Green Wave 4-8 98 100 - 88 99
101 Georgia Southern Eagles 5-7 103 104 - 100 94
102 North Texas Mean Green 5-7 117 112 - 116 109
103 Nevada Wolf Pack 5-7 101 110 - 105 107
104 Purdue Boilermakers 3-9 84 91 - 104 103
105 San Jose State Spartans 4-8 107 106 - 108 108
106 Bowling Green Falcons 4-8 104 108 - 107 104
107 East Carolina Pirates 3-9 106 102 - 101 105
108 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2-10 112 98 - 111 112
109 Virginia Cavaliers 2-10 78 93 - 97 106
110 ULM Warhawks 4-8 127 115 - 119 113
111 Kansas Jayhawks 2-10 94 97 - 106 117
112 UNLV Rebels 4-8 108 113 - 113 111
113 FIU Panthers 4-8 111 117 - 112 115
114 Connecticut Huskies 3-9 114 111 - 115 118
115 Utah State Aggies 4-8 99 105 - 99 102
116 Charlotte 49ers 4-8 126 119 - 120 119
117 Ball State Cardinals 4-8 105 116 - 109 110
118 Kent State Golden Flashes 3-9 109 114 - 118 114
119 Texas-El Paso Miners 4-8 120 125 - 123 121
120 New Mexico State Aggies 3-9 121 118 - 122 120
121 Florida Atlantic Owls 3-9 123 124 - 124 125
122 Rice Owls 3-9 115 121 - 125 124
123 Marshall Thundering Herd 3-9 122 123 - 121 122
124 Georgia State Panthers 3-9 118 122 - 114 116
125 Massachusetts Minutemen 2-10 119 120 - 117 123
126 Buffalo Bulls 2-10 124 127 - 127 127
127 Texas State Bobcats 2-10 128 128 - 128 128
128 Fresno State Bulldogs 1-11 125 126 - 126 126

THE ACC/CFP RANKINGS
RANK TEAM REC SAGARIN MASSEY
1 Clemson 11-1 1 1
2 Florida State 9-3 2 2
3 Virginia Tech 9-4 5 4
4 Pittsburgh 8-4 6 5
5 North Carolina 8-4 7 7
6 Louisville 9-3 3 3
7 Georgia Tech 8-4 8 8
8 Miami 8-4 4 6
9 North Carolina State 6-6 9 9
10 Boston College 6-6 10 10
11 Wake Forest 6-6 11 11
12 Duke 4-8 12 12
13 Syracuse 4-8 13 13
14 Virginia 2-10 14 14

Record against the Vegas spread for the season

Last Week's record:  Won 7 Lost 9 Tied 0 .438 winning percentage
Season record:  Won 351 Lost 352 Tied 12 .499 winning percentage