On Tuesday night, the College Football Playoff committee released its first ranking of the season. The Wisconsin Badgers football team (6-2 overall, 3-2 B1G) enters week 11 ranked No. 13, which is slightly higher than most other polls.
It seems that the committee was swayed by a few factors. One is that the Badgers score favorably on various computer models such as SP+. There are a lot of similarities between the CFP rankings and the SP+ rankings, such as Ohio State being ranked first and Clemson being ranked fifth.
WEEK 11 SP+ TOP 10— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) November 3, 2019
1 Ohio St
10 Minnesota! (up 2)
AU's ST rating slipped a bit (the system works!), allowing Minn to slide into 10th.
* Rising: UL-Lafayette, Oregon St, Ga S'ern
* Falling (further): NW'ern, Cuse, NIU
Another is that the committee probably ignored Wisconsin’s road loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, which the committee ranked first. Another factor is that the committee ranked the Michigan Wolverines No. 14, and they couldn’t bring themselves to put Michigan ahead of Bucky.
November 5️⃣ #CFBPlayoff Selection Committee Rankings:— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 6, 2019
1️⃣1️⃣. Auburn // @AuburnFootball
1️⃣2️⃣. Baylor // @BUFootball
1️⃣3️⃣. Wisconsin // @BadgerFootball
1️⃣4️⃣. Michigan // @UMichFootball
1️⃣5️⃣. Notre Dame // @NDFootball
Joining Wisconsin in the CFP top 25 is No. 18 Iowa (6-2 overall, 3-2 B1G) who will visit Camp Randall this Saturday. The Badgers’ final opponent of the season, Minnesota (8-0 overall, 5-0 B1G), was only ranked No. 17.
The top-four features two B1G teams: No. 1 OSU and No. 4 Penn State. Joining them are No. 2 LSU and No. 3 Alabama.
The two teams left out of the top-four, No. 5 Clemson and No. 6 Georgia, will have plenty of opportunities to sneak into the playoffs, as there is no possible scenario both OSU and PSU make the playoffs.
The surprisingly high ranking means the Badgers have the slightest hope of making the playoffs if they win out. That is a mighty if (do you see Wisconsin beating OSU in Indianapolis?), so the Badgers are practically eliminated.
Short story shorter, these rankings are not much more than a thought experiment for those of us in cheeseland. However, I am happy to have this thought experiment. What would need to happen for Wisconsin to make the playoffs?