MADISON, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 28: Kyle McCord #6 and TreVeyon Henderson #32 of the Ohio State Buckeyes before the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin.
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First College Football Playoff Rankings Draw Widespread Criticism

The College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday, and there were some interesting takeaways, including Ohio State at No. 1 and two undefeated teams not being ranked, which included James Madison and Liberty.

The complete list of the College Football Playoff Rankings includes teams like Washington, Oregon, and Texas on the outside looking in, with Kansas at No. 21, Tulane at No. 24, and Air Force at No. 25.

Now, it's important to remember that the College Football Playoff Rankings and the AP Top 25 are different.

In the AP Top 25, James Madison, who didn't make the College Football Playoff Rankings, is No. 23. Liberty isn't in either ranking, though they did receive 47 votes for the AP Top 25.

So, why aren't either of them included?

Let's start with James Madison. As Brett McMurphy points out, James Madison wouldn't be eligible for the College Football Playoff this year.

Why aren't they eligible? Per NCAA rules, James Madison, who is in their second season as an FBS program, can't compete in the postseason for the first two years after coming from the FCS. The only way they could compete in any postseason action, bowls included, is if there weren't enough 6-6 or better teams to fill the 82 slots for the bowls.

As for Liberty, they don't have any NCAA rules against them. They would be eligible for the College Football Playoff, but they're likely not ranked in either category because of their wins.

At 8-0, the Liberty Flames have beaten Bowling Green, New Mexico State, Buffalo, FIU, Sam Houston, Jacksonville State, Middle Tennessee, and Western Kentucky. None of the teams they've beaten have been ranked, and the remainder of their season includes LA Tech, Old Dominion, UMass, and UTEP. It's a great accomplishment for them if they go undefeated, but they haven't beaten any noteworthy opponents. They must amp up their schedule and beat some legitimate contenders to be taken seriously in either ranking system. But, to be fair to them, there are ten teams in the College Football Playoff Rankings with two losses.

Now, Ohio State, being No. 1, is garnering some attention.

"Ohio State was a play away from losing to Notre Dame. Their QB is a weakness of the team. #1 on resume alone, sure, but this is one of the weakest 1 seeds we've ever seen," one user wrote.

The Buckeyes are, of course, undefeated. As that X user pointed out, they were, quite literally, one play away from losing to Notre Dame, but they still got the win. Notre Dame also downed the USC Trojans this season, so they're not a bad team.

Ohio State averages 32.1 points per game (30th) and allows 10.4 points per game (2nd). Their two most notable wins include Notre Dame and Penn State. They have Michigan to round out the regular season.

One way to determine a team's dominance is to examine their record against the spread. Ohio State is 4-3-1.

Here are the records of the other teams ranked inside the top four and Washington and Oregon, who are just outside at No. 5 and No. 6:

  • Georgia: 2-5-1
  • Michigan: 4-3-1
  • Florida State: 6-2
  • Washington: 3-4-1
  • Oregon: 6-1-1

The Seminoles have had massive wins this season, including over LSU, Clemson, and Duke.

The four teams in the College Football Playoff are fair as of Week 10, but the order of the teams could use some rearranging.

MORE: College Football Power Rankings After Week 9