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College Football Poll Watch: The College Football Playoff Rankings are an Enigma

Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson

With the arrival of the College Football Playoff rankings, the focus of this weekly column shifts away from the coaches and media and their meaningless polls and moves to a room in Dallas full of some old guys and Condoleeza Rice.

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The playoff rankings, released every Tuesday, almost always leave us with more questions than answers — right up to the final rankings of the season. It's almost like the entire process is designed to simply drive conversation and ratings as opposed to actually accomplish anything in the way of demonstrating what the committee is looking for.

Here are some of this things that stood out to me in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings.

Why is Texas A&M still in the top 10?

I get that you can't punish the Aggies for losing to Alabama, but this team just got beat by Mississippi State — one of the worst Power Five teams in the country in 2016. Ranking them above every two-loss team outside of Wisconsin is bordeline absurd.

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The Group of Five is still at a huge disadvantage

Western Michigan has two wins over Power Five teams. That's a fact. The Broncos are also 10-0 against a schedule of teams full of kids who go to school for free because they are good at football. They have a 24.9-point margin of victory in those 10 games — and that includes the one-point win at Northwestern. And yet they can't crack the top 20 in the eyes of Condi and the boys? This system will never allow a Group of Five team to compete for a "national" championship.

It's Alabama or bust for the SEC

The way the rankings have shaken out so far, it looks like Alabama must win out for the SEC to be represented in the playoff. If the Crimson Tide lose to Auburn, they won't play in the SEC Championship Game, and the committee won't send a two-loss SEC champion to the playoff over undefeated or one-loss champions from the other Power Five conferences.

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Related: Your 2016 Guide to Rooting for an SEC-Free College Football Playoff

Louisville is probably going to get TCUed

This entire system was set up to put the best four teams in the country in a four-team playoff for all the marbles. None of us are blind. Louisville is one of the six best teams in the country, yet the Cardinals are the only one that no longer control their own destiny as far as winning a conference title goes. We are heading toward the second instance in three years where a one-loss team capable of winning the national championship will not be allowed to play for it.

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Those are the biggest issues and concerns I have with the College Football Playoff rankings this week. The way this season has gone, chances are pretty good that we'll have an entirely new batch of questions and concerns next week. As long as the committee continues to move their goal post of expectations and values, we'll have plenty to talk about up until the final week of the 2016 season.

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on,, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.