SIAP: CFP Chairman calls last week's loss 'impressive,' explains why we have a shot

Submitted by Mr. Elbel on November 30th, 2016 at 8:42 AM… CFP Chair Kirby Hocutt explains why we're ranked #5, how close we were to being ranked #4, and why we still have a shot at the playoff. Very interesting article. I didn't think we had a legitimate shot at the playoff until I read this given the TCU precedent set 2 years ago, now I'm not so sure. Great read. (I'm posting on a browser on my phone so I'm sure my formatting is crap. Sorry bout that.) Here's your money quotes: "So how close are Wisconsin and Penn State to Washington and Michigan? Hocutt's answer boiled down to this: "But I think the separation from four to seven is not a wide margin of separation, but specifically between Washington and Michigan, it's razor thin."" ...""We talked about Michigan's additional loss to an unranked team [Iowa] sitting there on their resume," Hocutt said. "So again, can't look forward and anticipate what may or may not happen this weekend, but Michigan does have an impressive resume in the eyes of the selection committee.""



November 30th, 2016 at 12:30 PM ^

The sad thing is, OSU didn't bribe the officials; the officials were known biased entities and were still chosen to work the game.  It'd be like everybody knowing we bribed officials, watched a game where the officials earned the bribes, then shrugging their shoulders about it.  Bobby Sagers and Kevin Schwarzel, Bucknuts who openly cheated us.  Never Forget

The Fan in Fargo

November 30th, 2016 at 10:28 AM ^

Iowa tanked against NW but other than that, they aren't a bad team by any means. Also, for all of the know it all, yet uninformed that say NDSU cant play at a high level when they are fired up is just sad. I'd say, 3 of 4 losses that the Hawkeyes have are expected but Michigan didn't flop that game. Pretty good team in a super tough environment. Just as insane as any in the country. Just ask the Huskers if Iowa was playing good towards the end. They didn't even play a night game!


November 30th, 2016 at 3:31 PM ^

home loss to NORTH DAKOTA STATE?

Or the home loss to Northwestern?

Or getting crushed by Penn State (on the road, admittedly)

Yes, they beat Michigan, and pounded on Nebraska, and to be fair, S&P has them at number 22.

That said, I think their losses are really damning when looking at their overall body of work, and overshadows their two good wins. I don't think they are a top 25 team..





November 30th, 2016 at 8:50 AM ^

Each of the last two years the team sitting at #5 entering the conference championship weekend has ended up in the playoffs. 


The way Hocutt was talking about getting the "best four teams" tells me that he is looking for the slightest excuse to put Michigan in. Not only because the committee knows that we are one of the four best, but because they want better TV ratings and they don't want a team that will get blownout by Alabama (Wisconsin, Penn State, etc.). 


People talk about conference champions like the B1G doesn't have exactly what it had last year, two meh teams playing for the conference championship, one of whom beat OSU in a fluke game, while the best team(s) sit at home. You want another Bama ass-whipping? Pick the B1G champion again, see how it works out. 


November 30th, 2016 at 9:00 AM ^

^^^^^This. He reiterated twice the "best 4 teams".

We all talk about conf. championships but he said head to head, conf. championships, common opponents and the 4th slips my mind "in no particular order" determine close resumes. The value of those listed factors is determined individually by each committee member.

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November 30th, 2016 at 9:44 AM ^

Spot on. Both Michigan and OSU have already played four of the current  top 9 teams, each going 3-1. You can't really argue with the teams in the B1G championship game, as that is just the way it shook out, but it is clear they are not the two best in the conference. Penn State pulled a huge upset against the #2 team in the country, then beat TWO other teams with winning records this year.

On the other side, I do understand how some fans will end up being upset as there is a possibility that maybe only one team in the CFP is a conference champion. I still think an 8 team playoff is perfect. That gives you a chance to give automatic bids to each P5 champ, with three at large bids. That also leaves the door open for a Western Michigan to have a shot at playing with the big boys.


November 30th, 2016 at 11:27 AM ^

Agreed. There would have to be some sort of caveat since, in particular the B1G West and SEC East, some of the conferences have one division much more loaded than the other.

If there were specific, agreed upon criteria for automiatic bids, and for what will be weighed for at large picks, it would eliminate a lot of the guess work and complaining.


November 30th, 2016 at 10:28 AM ^

I know I'm being a debbie downer and its probably because I don't want to get my hopes up since none of this matters if there isn't a pretty major upset this weekend but I think people are glossing over some warning signs.  The gap between 4 to 7 being mentioned as small means an impressive win from either psu or wisconsin may jump them, also further down in the article he is discussing why florida state is ranked above Louisville despite losing by 40 and the justification is that Florida state is the better team right now and over the last few weeks.  If recent weeks is a determing factor that highlights how PSU blasted an Iowa team we lost to a week later.  It may or may not be enough but the comitte has provided justifications both for keeping Michigan above the big ten champ but also for dropping them below a team they have beaten if that team looks good this weekend.

The Mad Hatter

November 30th, 2016 at 10:41 AM ^

Don't.  The only way either team would get in over us would be with a Washington / Clemson loss and a total blowout in the B1G Championship game.  Something like the 59-0 OSU did in 2014.

Neither PSU or Wisconsin is capable of laying a beat down like that on the other.

I think that if Colorado wins, and even if Washington wins on a fluke / last second play, we're in.  Washington has a crap SOS and would get pounded by Alabama.  The committee knows that we would at least play Bama close and might even beat them.


November 30th, 2016 at 12:04 PM ^

The committee is already in that situation -- the primary effect of the conference championship game is to provide one extra opportunity to lose.  Ohio State is a virtual lock for a spot specifically because Iowa beat Michigan.  If that hadn't happened, OSU could have been in position to lose to Wisconsin this weekend and get shut out of a spot.

Furthermore, your argument already makes that point, because if the Pac 12 didn't have a championship game, and UW is marginally ahead of Michigan today, UW woudn't have to worry about losing to CU and potentially getting passed by Michigan.

FWIW, if UW wins in a fluke fashion, it's absolutely possible that Michigan passes them.  It's clear that the committee has taken the fluky nature of Michigan's losses into account, or they wouldn't be sitting at #5 in the first place.


November 30th, 2016 at 12:53 PM ^

The thing is that Michigan's loss to OSU was more impressive than any of Washington or Wisconsin's wins. I would venture to say that even Penn St's win over OSU was as impressive as Iowa's win over Michigan- both were crazy home night games that were barely pulled off - Iowa isn't even in the top 25. He even said that they were impressed by the loss to OSU, which probably means that at least some or most of them feel that Michigan was jobbed.

All I'm saying is that I feel like he went out of his way to make a point about Michigan, and it was sounding like anyone behind Michigan has a slim shot at getting in unless both Clemson and Washington lose.

931 S State

November 30th, 2016 at 11:24 AM ^

Let's further compare 2015 to 2016.  MSU's 2015 Resume was dramatically better than that of 2016 Wisconsin or Penn State.  Wisconsin nor PSU are likely to benefit from the same consideration this year because they don't have half the resume that 2015 MSU did.  Throw on top the fact that 2015 MSU was beat down in the semi-final and the ratings were a disaster.  It's quite obvious that the CFP committee is placing less emphasis on Conferance Championships this year solely by virtue of their current rankign of OSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado.  Their stated goal before they employ the use of any metric is to put the four best teams into the playoff.  The fact that there was two hours of debate whehter Michigan or Washington belonged in the #4 spot further emphasizes that point.  In terms of metrics, conference championships is only one of several, none of which are weighted in any particular order.  It's all entirely possible (and even likely) that conf championship will be wieghted less than the other metrics.  Weather & Injuries are even metrics that are considered in the selection process, which also goes in our favor (Speight played OSU w/ a broken collarbone).  The stregth of wins is what will give Michigan the edge.  Michigan and OSU have virtually the same resume and OSU is essentially already a lock.  They table has been set.  Go Buffs!  Hope Harbaugh watches some game film of Washington this week and gives Coach MacIntrye a phone call or two.

2015 MSU: B1G Champions, 3-0 CFP Top 10, 4-0 CFP Top 25, H2H win to OSU

2015 OSU: 0-1 CFP Top 10, 1-1 CFP Top 25

2016 Wisc: B1G Champions*, 1-1* CFP Top 10, 2-1* CFP Top 25, H2H Lossses to Mich & OSU

2016 PSU: B1G Champions**, 2-1 CFP Top 10, 2-2* CFP Top 25, H2H Loss to Mich, H2H Win to OSU

2016 Mich: 3-1 CFP Top 10, 3-1 CFP Top 25, H2H Wins over PSU & Wisconsin, H2H Loss to OSU

2016 OSU: 3-1 CFP Top 10, 3-1 CFP Top 25, H2H Wins over Michigan & Wisconsin, H2H Loss to PSU

*Presumes win over PSU

**Presumes win of Wisconsin


November 30th, 2016 at 12:02 PM ^

I mean part of the reason we need colorado over wisconsin more than vt over clemson is because a bad colorado loss could drop them out of the top 10.  Michigans resume loses a lot of its punch over PSU's if both teams are 2-1 against the top 10 whereas as Colorado win means Michigan would have 3 wins in the top 10 including 2 top 6 wins.


November 30th, 2016 at 8:51 AM ^

I honestly think there's a segment of the committee and voters who knows last week was a screw job and really wants to make it right by putting us a loss away from the playoff. That, and I think they realize that Washington versus Bama would be a curb stomping, like last year's MSU playoff game


November 30th, 2016 at 9:05 AM ^

I was thinking the same. They still need to cover themselves, politically. That can't just stick us in there because they might think we deserve it. But all things being equal, I believe many of those voters believe we were hosed last week. This all hinges on Penn St. winning and Washington losing. If that happens -- I think they have the political cover they need.


November 30th, 2016 at 10:25 AM ^

How do the resumes compare if Washington wins this weekend but Clemson loses


Clemson 11-2

Key wins over: @ #12 Florida State, vs. #13 Louisville, @ #14 Auburn (none are playing this weekend)

Losses to: vs. #25 Pitt, N vs. #23 Va Tech (probably shoots up into the upper teens with a win)


Michigan 10-2

Key wins over: vs. #6 Wisconsin, vs. #7 Penn State, vs. #8 Colorado  (in this scenario all 3 play this weekend and 2 of them lose so 2 teams will drop)

Losses to: @ UR Iowa, @ #2 Ohio State

Advantages for Clemson - No unranked losses, made conference title game, 2 of their 3 best wins were on the road, 1 more win than Michigan

Disadvantages for Clemson - Lost home game, their 3 wins will probably still be lower than at least 2 of the 3 best michigan wins if not all of them

Advantages for Michigan - 3 top 15ish wins, no home losses, 1 loss was in 2 OT on road against #2 team

Disadvantages for Michigan - 2 of their 3 best wins lost the day before CFP selection, no good road wins, loss over unranked team, did not win division/play in title game


I think Clemson still gets in over UM at least if they lose this weekend. 


November 30th, 2016 at 12:07 PM ^

The rankings have been set up so that the B1G title game is playing for the Rose Bowl not the CFP. Doesn't matter who wins the B1G title game and by how much (recall score differential is not relevant according to the CFP protocol) ... neither PSU or UW is "razor thin" in consideration for that #4 spot and therefore the addition of the title win does nothing for their case. UM wins 2 out of 3 protocols (SOS and H2H), so the conference champ protocol is moot.

Clemson at #3 isn't losing to VT. Alabama is a lock at #1. OSU is a lock at #2.

The #4 spot is either Washington or Michigan. The committee will watch the PAC-12 title game, compare it to Michigan's game with CU and then discuss / vote.

The protocols are four things: (1) SOS, (2) H2H, (3) Confernce Champ, (4) Common Opponent. Washington has to beat CU and has to do so in a convincing fashion. If Washington wins like 42 - 39 in an even-up shoot out, Washington is in severe trouble given their really poor SOS and lack-luster game vs Rutgers. The Huskies had like 90 yards rushing and 250 passing ... Rugters outgained Washington by like 380 yards to 340 yards !!! It wasn't all that impressive of a win. Now compare that to Michigan's complete domination of Rutgers, at night in their house. The common opponent protocol is in our favor. Washington has to have a really strong game against CU to keep their #4 spot.


December 1st, 2016 at 12:28 AM ^

The committee will watch the PAC-12 title game, compare it to Michigan's game with CU and then discuss / vote.

You bring up a good point . . . if Washington squeaks by CU we still have a shot since we beat CU soundly.



November 30th, 2016 at 9:52 AM ^

according to the BIG and Delany who did a thorough review of the game only to find one missed call in the entire 60 minutes of game time and two OTs by the crew who were half either buckeye fans or previously fired incompetent refs. So the I'm sure the committee would reconsider any previous thoughts that the late hits, the missed holds, the inconsistant pass interference calls played any part in the loss. /s (is that needed?)

I really can't believe that Michigan has a shot. I believe that Michigan is the second best team in the country and poses the best shot to take down Alabama from all the rest of the teams in the country. I just am surprised that committee is doing the same. 


November 30th, 2016 at 8:52 AM ^

Its out of our hands people, just sit back, relax, and enjoy some stress free college football this weekend!


Being a Colorado boy, post Colorado game, I have enjoyed watching the Buffs all season and do hope they win regardless of waht it does to Michigans chacnes... But as always GO BLUE