The OSU Problem: Why Minnesota is Behind Bama in the CFP Rankings

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The Golden Gophers represent a bigger problem that plagues teams like the Pokes.


If Minnesota goes 13-0 they’re in. No undefeated P5 team has been left out thus far, and I’d argue FSU should have been in favor of a 1 loss TCU or Baylor.

Without a massive reshaping of the conferences and total control of scheduling by the NCAA, I’m not in favor of autobids for anyone. The schedules are too unevenly weighted.

Hey Kyle, get off my lawn! I thought I was the proprietor of this island! Actually - great article. I agree completely. Keep banging this drum. Your “grit” vs. “lacks talent” observation was perfect.

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Shouldn’t the teams with all the stars not be seen as having grit if they have close wins? If you get all the best players every year you should be a dominate team. If you are picking up 2 and 3 star recruits and developing them you should be expected to lose occasionally or at least have close games. The logic of the powers that be, as accurately presented in this article, is bass ackwards. The only way to possibly make the current system better without expanding the number of teams would to somehow have a committee that could watch the games ans look at the stats with out knowing which team is which.

This discussion might get me more triggered than anything else. I just can’t help it because it is such a glaring flaw in the sport I love the most. I think the article does a great job explaining my feelings, and I think Kyle’s point that any sport where you can’t say “if you win them all you’re the champion” or “if you win your conference you’re in” is kind of a sham. It is inherently broken to where blue bloods are going to get credit and everyone else starting 10 points down. It isn’t really anyone’s fault. It is just what happens when you give a group of people who are involved in the industry the power to subjectively choose the 4 “best” teams. Factor in the TV rights and who the networks want (money talks) and it’s no surprise that this is happening. None of this is unbiased regardless of what the CFP committee tells you.

In my opinion, winning is all that matters when it comes to who should be in the playoff. And a team shouldn’t be allowed in if they don’t win their conference. All the other talk just drives me crazy. And truthfully it has really made me disinterested. I’ve stopped watching the announcement shows and everything because I’m tired of their logic and reasoning as to why the blue bloods are deserving. It is all just so flawed and changes every year to fit their narrative in that moment. If you went back and compared the criteria in 2014 to the criteria in 2016 to today’s criteria, it has completely changed and there is no logical explanation as to why. Remember when the 13th data point was everything? Remember bad losses mattered? Remember when being the most deserving mattered? At this point deserving doesn’t even seem like its being discussed.

The CFP committee has gotten lucky the last couple of years. Things played out in 2017, 2018 & 2019 to where the discussion was basically “Which blue blood program should we let in? Ohio State, Georgia, Alabama, OU, or Notre Dame?” And there isn’t really a wrong answer because they are all in the same category of being Blue Bloods. At some point though their hand will be forced and they will have to pick between a blue blood who went 11-1 but didn’t win their conference or someone else who’s having a magical season and won their conference. Maybe it’ll be this year with Minnesota or Baylor… Maybe it’ll be in 3 years when Spencer Sanders is leading OSU to a Big12 Championship. I just don’t really think anything will change until they are forced to make that decision. And God please don’t let it be OSU that causes the change again.


Been screaming this from the mountain top for YEARS.

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Here the part missing from your article. Texas. LSU played in Austin to start the season and played in Tuscaloosa last weekend. The national narrative of Big 12 defense was exposed. Take a look at the team stats from the two games and you will see Texas defensive performance was marginally better than Alabama in the majority of categories. Furthermore, Bama had plenty of game tape on the LSU offense that UT didn’t have making the comparison less favorable. So much for Saban can game plan better than anybody and Big 12 offenses wouldn’t work in the SEC.


Here’s my issue with Minnesota, specifically: look how close their three non-conference games…against really crappy teams…were. Do you all think they should play, for instance, an undefeated Clemson team? Do they deserve to play them?

There is the “the game has to be played” trope, I get that. But a lot of one-loss teams are still arguably better.

I call it the “Blue Blood Bias” problem. Of course a 1 loss Bama will get the benefit of the doubt where an undefeated Minnesota will not. It’s the same reason why 1 loss Oklahoma is currently ranked higher than undefeated Baylor. What compounds this problem, at least in the Big 12 currently, is that any team not named Oklahoma will have to go undefeated in the regular season, and win the conference championship game, to get close to the playoff. Even if that happens, at best the Big 12 champion will get is #6 and we get to watch an SEC team get in without even playing for its own conference championship. Heck, Oklahoma (Blue Blood that they are) could win out and still probably get to #5 at best in the final rankings because they are not SEC.

My “dream” playoff scenario would be:

Ohio State

Those teams are just simply good. You all can talk about “blue blood” preferential treatment, but those teams are really, truly good.

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Which one loss team has a better WIN than Minnesota’s win over Penn State?

Remember… with the exception of 2011, the wins have always been more important than the losses.

Close wins at the beginning of the year or not, if they get to the Big 10 CCG and beat Ohio State, they would absolutely deserve to play Clemson. At that point they would have proven far more this year than Clemson since they’d have as many as 4 wins over ranked teams.

From what I can tell, they’ve had the lowest ranking for an undefeated P5 team in the initial rankings by the CFP. But everyone thought they were a pretender.


I agree that the principle behind the dilemma is frustrating. However, I think the conversation surrounding Minnesota at this particular time is fruitless. If they win out, they are going to be in the playoff. That would give them wins over Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio State or Penn State again. Something tells me we won’t be having this same discussion at this time next month. The drama usually comes when comparing teams with a single loss, but undefeated teams have a pretty clear path to the playoff. If Minnesota loses to Wisconsin then turns around and wins the Big Ten Championship, I’m here for the Minnesota vs. Alabama debate.

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I honestly think the only fair way to decide a national champion is to expand the playoff to 8 teams. This idea is not original. The P5 conference champions automatically get bids. 3 other bids go to the next 3 highest ranked teams that are not P5 conference champions. Get rid of committees and polls, all selections and playoff seeds are determined by computer ranking like Sagarin. Round 1, 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7, 3 Plays 6, and 4 plays 5. Venue is home field of the higher seed.

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Here’s my issue with your post - I would say that would make a great playoff if those teams win out and earn their way in. But they gotta earn* it first from m,y perspective. [Caveat: I will admit I have an exception. I do not want Baylor in the playoff under any circumstance – even if they “earn” it.]

*I think we’ve had the “best teams” vs. “most deserving teams” debate before. Good points to be made either way.

I’ll give you that. IF they beat Ohio State (along with running the table) they should get in. But only then.

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I mean…has anyone seen Ohio State actually play? They look absolutely incredible from front to back. And I despise them! I despise Ohio State wholeheartedly. But they are flat-out good and dominate teams. They leave no question that they are going to destroy teams.

Georgia beating Florida in Florida’s stadium is the first one that comes to mind.

They have that Notre Dame win too… so yeah UGA would be the first team to put in over Minnesota.

But that South Carolina loss… woof.

No doubt they’re good. But Minnesota has been blowing out bottom-feeder Big 10 teams too. (BTW, I fully expect Ohio State to come out as the Big 10 champion. Not trying to say I think Minnesota is better. Just saying I don’t want to see another situation like a couple of years ago when Penn State won their conference and then stayed home while another team from their conference went to the CFP).