Stephen A. Smith has weighed in on the race to make the College Football Playoff field.
It seems many around the sport are not fans of his latest take.
Speaking on ESPN's First Take on Wednesday morning, the day after the latest College Football Playoff rankings were revealed, Smith took aim at TCU. The Horned Frogs, 10-0, are ranked No. 4 for the second week in a row.
But the sports talk personality believes they don't deserve to be ahead of Tennessee, which lost to No. 1 Georgia this season, due to the level of competition they've played.
"I measure the stiffness of competition," Smith said. "And I’m looking at TCU. Let me let the audience know: Colorado, Tarleton State — I don’t know what the hell that is, non-major of course — SMU, Oklahoma, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Texas. Does that sound like a schedule that warrants you being a top-four team in the nation even though you’re undefeated?”
There's just one problem with Smith's argument.
It might be fair to knock the Horned Frogs due to the number of close games they've won. But just about every objective strength of schedule metric views the Horned Frogs' schedule as more demanding than that of the three teams above them in the rankings.
ESPN's Football Power Index ranks TCU as No. 1 in the country in strength of record. It ranks 38th in strength of schedule, ahead of Georgia (44th), Ohio State (60th) and Michigan (82nd). The Sagarin ratings also consider the Horned Frogs' schedule tougher than that of the Bulldogs, Buckeyes and Wolverines.
Even without looking at computer metrics, it should be clear that TCU has played a sufficiently challenging slate.
At one point this season, the Horned Frogs played four consecutive opponents that were ranked at the time. Two of their opponents are currently ranked among the top 25, the same number Georgia and Ohio State have played. Michigan has beaten just one top-25 team.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that Smith has drawn a lot of blowback.
He's been criticized not just by fans, but by some prominent college football reporters.
"TCU's strength of schedule is higher than Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan, on both ESPN and Sagarin," Chris Vannini of the Athletic tweeted. "Strength of record is No. 1."
"Did you just google TCU’s schedule without having watched any games?" tweeted Nichole Auerbach. "And without any understanding of how good some of those opponents are?"
Despite Smith's opinion, TCU doesn't appear to be in jeopardy of dropping out of the four-team playoff field as long as they remain undefeated.
They will look to do so when they face Baylor on Saturday.