Forget the Forgotten? The Playoff Selection Committee in Review

If somebody is going to win, somebody has to lose. If one man strikes it rich, a second man is filing for bankruptcy. The guy who gets the girl leaves the other guy watching “Singles” on HBO. That’s the way the universe works, and that’s the nature of college football.

Hail your winners, fans: Clemson, Alabama, Washington and Ohio State. The rest of us had to lose so that strong may drink the sweet ambrosia of victory. It’s a sacrifice one is willing to make because, who knows? The cup may be passed to us next year.

Well, maybe to some of us. The privileged ones. The connected ones. The ones with the new Air Jordans waiting in their lockers. The rest of us? Nah. We get 15th place.

That’s where the best Group of Five team in the nation landed in the final College Football Playoffs poll: fifteenth for Western Michigan. Thirteen and Oh doesn’t buy you much these days unless you put up a $9M dollar weight room first. Landing at 15th is pretty damn shabby for a conference-winning, undefeated team, and man, the Broncos had to fight for even that scrap.

Western Michigan entered the first CFP Poll at 23rd with an 8-0 record, right beneath 5-3 Florida State and behind 11 teams with multiple losses

Next week, the undefeated Broncos climbed two spots to 21, where it remained the following week. And the week after that. Finally, after going 12-o, the Broncos cracked the CFP top twenty by landing at #17 on Week 14 – four spots below four-loss Auburn. The Broncos would go on to defeat Ohio in the MAC championship game, and the Committee magnanimously awarded the very best Group of Five team of 2016 a #15 ranking.

Please suspend reading the remainder of this article for twenty minutes as I slow clap for College Football Playoff Committee generosity.


This was supposed to be the year when the Group of Five was to be treated to a more balanced approach to the rankings, with former Southern Miss head coach Jeff Bower and former Central Michigan head coach Herb Deromedi taking seats at the table. But the Group of Five only became more ostracized from its well-heeled brethren. Like 2016, only three Group of Five teams made the final CFP Rankings in 2015: Houston, Navy and Western Kentucky. But Houston cracked the Top 10 at #8. Navy, at #17, slipped into the top 20. This year, Navy and Temple are just kind of crammed down at the poll’s dingy bottom, #24 and #25. Both teams have three losses. Seven teams with four losses rank ahead of Navy and AAC champion Temple. 

You may rationalize the rankings as a product of mediocre years. But mediocre was across the board in 2016. The Group of Five, as usual, seemed to pay a higher cost. My God, why is Tennessee ranked #21?  Why is Pitt ahead of Temple? LSU has seven wins! 

Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.



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