All week long, the national media have talked about the initial College Football Playoff rankings with one truth in mind: That the top-four rankings would go to unbeaten Alabama, Clemson, Michigan and Washington. Those assumptions have been thrown for a loop.
The ranking of one-loss Texas A&M (to Alabama, 14-33) over unbeaten Washington seems to convey one clear message: The committee is very unimpressed with Washington’s non-conference schedule, as well as the overall strength of the Pac-12. With longtime conference heavyweights Stanford and Oregon suffering downturns this season and USC being embarrassed on the national stage against the Crimson Tide, nationwide regard for the Pac-12 has taken a serious hit, as just four of the conference’s teams are included in the rankings and only Washington appears among the top 14 teams.
The good news for Washington is that their path to the playoff remains clear: Win out, and they’re almost assuredly included, as the committee has stated and demonstrated in the past that it values conference championships above all else. The flip side of that scenario is that Washington’s margin for error is razor-thin; lose any game between now and the Pac-12 title game, and a top-four ranking is all but unobtainable.
What do you think about the initial rankings? Did Washington get hosed, or is a No. 5 ranking appropriate?