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Ohio State passes LSU to the top spot, committee goes off the rails on Baylor

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Rob Mullens explains one logical decision, and a dubious one.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff-Selection Sunday Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There was a relatively minor shakeup at the top of the CFP rankings this week, as the committee swapped Ohio State with LSU in the first two slots, which means that for now the Bayou Bengals would face Clemson. The top 10:

  1. Ohio State
  2. LSU
  3. Clemson
  4. Georgia
  5. Alabama
  6. Utah
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Minnesota
  9. Baylor
  10. Penn State

There is plenty to unpack in chair Rob Mullens’ weekly teleconference script, but let’s start with what you are really here for: his comments about Alabama.

Q. I was curious just how big a gap the Selection Committee believes there is between Alabama, Utah and Oklahoma, like just how close are those teams? Or is there a discernible gap between any series of two of them?

ROB MULLENS: Well, we spent considerable time talking about four through six, four through nine. And again, we’re comparing full resumes. There’s not a metric for closeness. I mean, clearly the committee looks at Georgia with their three wins over top-16 teams, one of them on the road at Auburn, the strength of their defense consistently every week. Alabama has been dominant with the exception of the loss to LSU. We’re aware of the injuries, as I’ve mentioned. And Utah, I think I’ve already mentioned on this call, only loss on the road to a ranked opponent when their running back missed the majority of the game.

It’s a running back, Rob. Give me a break. If one player at a non-premium position makes you lose to a very mediocre USC squad, then you probably aren’t legit. The good news regarding Utah where Alabama is concerned is that their resume argument is kind of gone now, since Oregon dropped all the way down to 14. They are in a virtual tie with Auburn at this point, which is fitting considering the opener between those two.

It’s great to see him acknowledge Alabama’s dominance though. That is separating the Tide from the Utes at this point, and they need to continue to be dominant on Saturday. No pressure, Mac.

Moving on, Baylor jumped all the way from #14 to #9 after beating a Texas team that keeps getting worse.

Q. Specific to Baylor, you just mentioned the committee starts with a clean sheet based on the week at hand. The Bears jumped five spots in your rankings this week after beating what’s now a 6-5 team at home. I was curious a little bit about that decision. I expected they might get a bump, I’m surprised they got that big of one is what I’m saying.

ROB MULLENS: Right, understand. That’s one piece of it. They had a dominant win over Texas from beginning to end. But in addition, the wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State continue to improve, as well, as those teams continue to win, and their only loss close to Oklahoma, who moves up to 7. So all that adds in to the clean sheet.

OK, Rob. This is where you lose me. How in the hell did those wins improve when Oklahoma State won by 7 points over a 4-7 West Virginia squad and Iowa State trailed Kansas in the fourth quarter? Is dominance valued, or isn’t it?

He also said this:

And then Oklahoma obviously beat No. 9 Baylor on the road without CeeDee Lamb. They also have a win over ranked Iowa State, only loss to a close quality K-State team.

So, the committee decides that Baylor is a top ten team all of a sudden (they are not) and Oklahoma gets credit for beating a top ten team, which pushes them up to #7, and Baylor losing close to #7 is the justification for Baylor being in the top ten.

Sure thing, Rob. I have some news though: the Big 12 doesn’t have one of the top ten teams in America, let alone two.

Last, the justification for swapping Ohio State with LSU, which is how it should have been to begin with.

Q. Just to follow up on that, what was the difference, though, this week about Ohio State that put them over LSU because you have said that they’ve been a complete team all season.

ROB MULLENS: They have, but they added their third win against a ranked opponent over Penn State, who we have ranked No. 10.

So, basically, LSU and Ohio State are a toss up so they went to a resume tiebreaker. This is instructive for Alabama, who needs to play well enough that there is clear separation between the Tide and whoever wins the Big 12 and Pac 12.

Hope for the best.

Roll Tide.