College Football Playoff chairman explains decision to rank Michigan over Michigan State

Deciphering the decisions made by the College Football Playoff committee in its rankings has become a weekly ritual. CFP chairman Gary Barta helped to shed some light on why at least one decision was made.

Barta said that the reason Michigan sits at No. 6, a spot ahead of No. 7 Michigan State despite the head-to-head loss on Oct. 30, is because the overall stats favor Michigan.

The Spartans enjoyed a week ahead of Michigan after defeating the Wolverines 37-33 on Oct. 30 in East Lansing.. However, the following week, Purdue played the role of spoiler and defeated Michigan State 40-29 in West Lafayette, Ind. After the win, Purdue was ranked No. 19.

In the next installment of the rankings, Michigan was placed ahead of Michigan State, a trend that continued on Tuesday when the Wolverines were again ahead of the Spartans.

DeCOURCY: Sprinting 4 weeks after an ACL repair? New technique could dramatically reduce rehab, recovery

Barta is not entirely wrong. Michigan and Michigan State have been similar on offense, but the Wolverines have had the vastly superior defense this year, by the numbers.

Here’s a breakdown of the overall team stats, with national FBS ranks in parentheses.

Michigan takes the edge in three of the four overall numbers.

However, there is the lack of consistency with how teams are evaluated that has concerned college football fans. For example, Ohio State has statistically been the better team compared to Oregon. However, the Ducks beat the Buckeyes 35-28 in Columbus on Sept. 11, and have remained ahead ever since. Since that win, Ohio State has won each of its games, while Oregon lost to Stanford 31-24 in overtime.

Here’s a breakdown of the Ducks and Buckeyes this season.

Ohio State has the edge in all four, and it possesses the top offense among all FBS teams.

Yet, to the committee, the two teams are close enough that the head-to-head matchup — more than two months ago — is a difference-maker.

Both the Spartans and Buckeyes will have a chance to make their case to move up after this weekend, when the two teams face off in Columbus. The winner takes a decisive edge in the Big Ten East standings. The loser will have two losses, and will be all but out of the CFP picture.

Other head-to-head matchups have also been reflected in the CFP rankings. Cincinnati beat Notre Dame. The Bearcats are at No. 5 and the Fighting Irish at are No. 8. Baylor just beat Oklahoma this past weekend, dropping the Sooners to No. 13 and moving the Bears up to No. 11.

Ole Miss has a head-to-head win against Texas A&M, and ranks at No. 12 over the No. 16 Aggies despite Texas A&M boasting a win over No. 2 Alabama. Wisconsin beat Iowa, and depsite the three losses, the Badgers are at No. 15 and the two-loss Hawkeyes are at No. 17.

The committee has shown no issue ranking teams below another over head-to-head losses. It is, after all, why the game is played. The Spartans and Wolverines remain the most notable exception to that rule.

Source: Read Full Article