Cleat Geeks

Someone has to be #5

Simply put, since there are only 4 teams in the college football playoff, someone has to be #5. I know who I would choose as the 5th team. I think it is relatively cut and dry. But my criteria is not the same as the selection committee. I want to look at the overall record, the strength of schedule, head to head match-ups, good wins and bad losses to not only determine the top 4 teams, but to rank those top 4 teams as well. That would be my deciding criteria. And for the record, I like the fact that we get a new ranking every week so we can see where the teams slot in every week and so we, as average college sports fans can think and evaluate right along with the selection committee.

To get the top 4 teams (and a 5th team) we need to look at the top six teams.

FSU's Jameis Winston

FSU’s Jameis Winston

Overall Record

This one is almost a mute point. But, at the same time I want to prove some points and point out a few happenings this year. Is going undefeated the so called end-all be-all? Should it be? To me the answer is no. Just because a team was ranked at #1 at the start of the year does not mean they should stay there if all they do is win. It should also depend on who they are beating and how they look in those wins. But, going undefeated should be rewarded, so in this category FSU gets a point and is ahead of everyone else.

Strength of Schedule

I would divide strength of schedule into, when the two teams played, above and below .500 teams. In other words, start the teams at zero and give them a point for every team they beat that is over .500 when they play each other. And if they lost to a team below .500 you take a point away from them. Again a relatively simple and quantifiable stat that gives you the true strength of their schedule.

I would also accentuate the non-conference schedule in an attempt to give us good college match-ups every week and reward programs who schedule better non-conference opponents. Teams who beat non-conference foes who finish the year over .500 I would give an additional point, but would take a point away for beating a non-conference opponent under .500. No. 1 Alabama’s best non-conference win came over West Virginia (7-5). For No. 2 Oregon, it’s a win over No. 8 Michigan State (10-2). No. 3 TCU’s best was against Minnesota (8-4). No. 4 Florida State beat Oklahoma State (5-6), Notre Dame (7-5) and Florida (6-5) but none of them had good years. No. 5 Ohio State’s best win was over Cincinnati (8-3). And No. 6 Baylor’s top win was over Buffalo (5-6).

The scores for the 1st 2 categories; Alabama 8, Oregon 5, TCU 5, FSU 5, OSU 3, Baylor even.

Nick Saban and Alabama

Nick Saban and Alabama

Head to Head Match-ups

From left to right Pat Colbert, Jordan Najvar, Ivory Wade and Troy Baker

From left to right Pat Colbert, Jordan Najvar, Ivory Wade and Troy Baker

Winning is everything, right? I value winning, in fact I value winning alot. But, it is not the end-all be-all. If it were, we should just cancel the whole play-off and hand the trophy to Florida State. Therefore, a head to head win should be given more quantifiable points than a regular win over another team. One winning team should be given credit for beating another winning team, but that does not mean that the winning team is always going to be better than the loosing team. So to quantify the value, I would give the winning team of a head to head match-up 3 points (instead of just 1) but, overall if the point total for all the categories were higher at years end for the looser of the head to head match-up I would not say that just because they lost to a certain team they can never overtake them in the standings no matter what the total points for the year were after you add up all the criteria categories. For example, Arizona beat Oregon early in the season, but lost to them earlier this week.

Everyone stays the same except for Baylor who is now at 3.

Good WinsWashington Oregon Football T25

Let me define this a little. If you beat a top 25 school at home, should it be given as much presidence if you beat them at their house or in a neutral site? Personally, I do not think so. I believe you need to give a program more credit for going on the road and knocking off a top 25 team on their own campus, then you beating a top 25 team at your campus. On the same hand I believe you need to also give a program more credit for beating a top 25 team at a neutral site such as in a conference game. My math would be if you beat a top 25 team on your campus I would give you 1 point. For a win on a neutral site, 2 points. If you then go to their campus and beat a top 25 team, you receive 3 points.

Adding the good wins math to the top six teams they would look like this; Alabama 13, Oregon 14, TCU 11, FSU 12, OSU 11, Baylor 9.

Bad Losses

In theory, a good team should not have a bad loss. But it happens. That does not mean they should not be punished for a bad loss. If you are going to reward teams for good wins, then you should punish them for bad losses. My definition of a bad loss is a loss to a team that is below .500. Moreover, if you loose to them at home it is even worse and should be treated as such. Therefore, if a team looses to a team who’s record is at or below .500 at years end they will be deducted a point, and if the loss is at the looser’s campus, they will loose an additional point.

The final scores are Alabama 13, FSU and Oregon 12, TCU 11, OSU 9, Baylor 8.


No, this is not one of my original categories. But these are the reasons why I love sports. These are the things that create controversy, and keep us coming back for more. But, in some people’s mind (I would be one of the some) these things, although unmeasurable have to be taken into and given some consideration. But, the problem is how much consideration? And who on your committee gives them more consideration than others. And ultimately, who can sell that consideration to the other members of that committee.

Third string Quarterback Cardale Jones.

Third string Quarterback Cardale Jones.

So if I am on the committee, Alabama is clearly my number 1. Taking into consideration that Oregon lost to a top 10 team (Arizona) at seasons end and when they met at full strength at a neutral site Oregon beat them soundly while Florida State kept sneaking by with close win after close win to inferior opponent after inferior opponent I would put Oregon #2 and Florida State #3.

Now the toss up between TCU and Ohio State. First, at seasons end, the only opponent that TCU beat in the top 25 was Oklahoma. And they have slid from being ranked at #5 when TCU beat them to #20 presently. Ohio State beat 2 opponents that are both ranked higher than Oklahoma, one at a neutral site and one in their own building while TCU beat Oklahoma at home. Ohio State had 1 more game to give me a resounding winner of their conference, while TCU and Baylor are co-champions without a play-off. Plus, the biggest thing for me is the fact that even with the ugly loss to Virginia Tech at home, it was only Braxton Miller’s second game. And what pushed me over the edge was the huge dominant win against a really good Wisconsin team on a neutral site. Therefore, I would put Ohio State #4 and TCU#5.


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