Why TCU is (and Should Be) Ranked Ahead of Baylor and Ohio State
For all my Baylor friends, my oh-so-many Ohio State relatives, and the general media who went into mass hysteria when the results of the new CFP’s rankings were released Tuesday evening, here, for all of you, is why TCU is correctly ranked ahead of both the Bears and the Buckeyes at this moment in time. I welcome any and all responses/comebacks to the facts I present below:
The first thing you have to look at when considering this situation are the three teams’ schedules and the rankings of the teams they played at the time they played them. Why is this important? Because team makeup and level of compete change week to week and as the season progresses. For instance, try and convince me Wisconsin isn’t thrilled to be playing Ohio State this week instead of last when J.T. Barrett was still in the mix. Timing matters. Season momentum changes based on outcomes of games, players getting hurt (or healthy), and motivational wane as a loss or two occur can effect how a season plays out, but not how the team was viewed on that specific Saturday afternoon or night. So let’s stack the schedules and outcomes of the three against one another and see what we get.
Ohio State – Only two top 25 victories: A 49-37 over then #8 Michigan State and a 31-24 victory over then #25 Minnesota (which TCU beat 30-7 by the way). The Buckeyes play #13 Wisconsin Saturday with a chance to improve their resume…..BUT THEY HAVEN’T PLAYED THEM YET!
Baylor – Also only two top 25 victories: Of course the 61-58 win over then #9 TCU and a 48-14 win over then #15 Oklahoma. That’s it. Like the Buckeyes they’ll get a chance to add one more to their resume on Saturday when they play #9 Kansas State – BUT THEY HAVEN’T PLAYED THEM YET!
TCU – OK let’s add ‘em up – 4 top 25 wins including 2 top 10 wins. A 37-33 win over then #4 Oklahoma, a 41-20 win over then #7 Kansas State, a 42-9 win over then #15 Oklahoma State, a 31-30 win over then #20 West Virginia. That’s what the committee sees when they look at the “overall body of work,” as well they should. As of today, right this moment, the committee has it right. Again that might change come Saturday ….BUT IT HASN’T HAPPENED YET!
If you want to dig even deeper, then let’s look at each of the singular losses that each squad has suffered:
The Buckeyes lost at home to a sub-par Virginia Tech team 35-21. A bad loss, no two ways about it. It’s been an albatross around Ohio State’s neck all season….as it should be. They’d love a do-over but it ain’t happening. You don’t think Missouri would like to take back its faux pas against Indiana earlier in the season too? They’d probably be playing Alabama for a spot in the playoff Saturday afternoon if they could. Unfortunately there are no mulligans in football. Slip ups like those are killers.
The Bears one loss was at least on the road, albeit to a then unranked West Virginia team 41-27. Not as bad as the Buckeyes loss for sure, but still a two touchdown loss to an unranked team. I’m not even bringing into the conversation their non conference schedule which is ranked 128th out of 128 FBS schools (ok so I did bring it in – sue me).
The Frogs one loss of course occurred to then #5 Baylor, in Waco, on a last second field goal. Its not even close which of the three has the “best loss” if you want to phrase it that way. Mix that in with twice as many top 25 wins and TCU clearly deserves to be ranked ahead of the Buckeyes and Bears…right now.
Want to look at some specific phases of the game? Total TD’s allowed by each defense this season: Ohio State – 36, Baylor – 34, TCU – 28. Total yards gained per game for each teams’ offense? Ohio State – 333.8, Baylor – 364.5, TCU – 370.7. Turnover margin? Ohio State +5, Baylor + 12, TCU + 18. Are these the “end all” when it comes to deciding what team is better than another? Of course not, but they are numbers that come into play.
Listen, I get the head to head thing with TCU and Baylor, but when you look at the overall body of current work of the three schools, it isn’t even close. This is still college football, which has always been part beauty pageant with the need to impress the judges with style points, and TCU’s just done a better job of that so far. There’s always been voters with opinions and agendas, along with the computers and polls, and really nothing has changed much in that regard with the new playoff format. Amid all the hyperbole all we really did was go from 2 to 4 spots that everyone is ultimately shooting for. Can the committee members change their collective minds after Saturday’s results if things play out in Baylor and Ohio State’s favor? Sure they can – BUT IT HASN’T HAPPENED YET!