First College Football Playoff Rankings Vs. KFord Most-Deserving Top 10: Did Committee Get It Right?

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Written By Kelley Ford | Last Updated
college football rankings

Starting this week, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee is the ultimate authority for ranking college football teams, whether you like it or not. 13 people in a conference room inside the Gaylord Texan Resort decide which four teams compete in the prestigious CFP, and the best college football betting sites adjust with each edition of the College Football Playoff rankings. You’ll hear the phrases “ranked wins,” “record vs. top 25,” and “record vs. teams over .500” uttered ad nauseam for the next month. Honestly, at this point, it’s just embarrassing that these are still the benchmarks being used by some of the sport’s most influential people.

In today’s environment of advanced statistics and more sophisticated mathematical models, better ways exist to rank college football teams. Enter the KFord Most-Deserving Rankings.

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MOST-DESERVING COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAMS

To summarize, my Most-Deserving (MD) Rankings are a results-oriented (résumé-based) metric that describes how a team has performed against its schedule (including scoring margin) relative to how the average top-25 FBS team would be expected to perform against that same schedule.

For a full explanation of the inputs and concepts to keep in mind, refer back to my first CFB rankings post of the season. Which teams are the most over- and under-ranked by the AP Poll, according to my MD Rankings? Let’s discuss.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL Playoff RANKINGS VS. KFORD MOST DESERVING AFTER WEEK 9

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OVERRANKED
No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (8-0, 5-0): +6 spots compared to KFord MD

Results

  • W 30-3 vs No. 84 East Carolina
  • W 35-7 vs No. 82 UNLV
  • W 31-6 vs No. 99 Bowling Green
  • W 31-7 vs No. 45 Rutgers
  • W 45-7 at No. 59 Nebraska
  • W 52-10 at No. 50 Minnesota
  • W 52-7 vs No. 87 Indiana
  • W 49-0 at No. 67 Michigan State

Michigan was included in my top 3 most overranked teams by the AP Poll more than any other team in my weekly column. I was hoping that the College Football Playoff Selection Committee would hit the reset button on where the Wolverines are ranked, but alas, here I am once again having to write about why this team doesn’t deserve the lofty ranking it has been given. 

The final three games on Michigan’s schedule are against teams with a top-35 power rating. So, résumé-boosting opportunities are coming for the Wolverines. But the fact of the matter is that to date, Michigan’s opponents have an average KFord power rating rank of No. 72 nationally. The Committee should be ranking teams on what they have accomplished so far, not what they might accomplish in the future.

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 9
  • REC: 39%; No. 10 (season-best)
  • SM: 15.8; No. 1 (season-best)

UNDERRANKED
No. 4 Texas Longhorns (7-1, 4-1): -3 spots compared to KFord MD

Results

  • W 37-10 vs No. 94 Rice
  • W 34-24 at No. 1 Alabama
  • W 31-10 vs No. 85 Wyoming
  • W 38-6 at No. 64 Baylor
  • W 40-14 vs No. 31 Kansas
  • L 30-34 vs No. 2 Oklahoma (in Dallas, TX)
  • W 31-24 at No. 73 Houston
  • W 35-6 vs No. 57 BYU

A summary of the Committee’s initial rankings is as follows:

  • Nos. 1-5: Zero-loss teams
  • Nos. 6-13: One-loss teams
  • Nos. 14-23: Two-loss teams
  • Nos. 24-25: Group of 5 teams

It’s not too hard to figure out the Committee’s message: Have a zero in the loss column and be ranked highly. “Sorry, Texas, we realize you handed top-5 power-rated Alabama its first loss in Tuscaloosa since 2019, but because you also lost to top-5 power-rated Oklahoma on a neutral field, you’re ineligible for a top-5 spot in our rankings until these other teams (who have played no one, by the way) lose.” What? It makes no sense.

The Committee is “composed of some of college football’s most decorated ambassadors, including highly esteemed university administrators, former coaches, former student-athletes and sitting directors of athletics,” and the best they could do was group teams by number of losses. The sport deserves better.

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 4
  • REC: 19%; No. 5
  • SM: 8.3; No. 10

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No. 19 UCLA Bruins (6-2, 3-2): +10 spots compared to KFord MD

Results

  • W 27-13 vs No. 64 Coastal Carolina
  • W 35-10 at No. 91 San Diego State
  • W 59-7 vs FCS NC Central
  • L 7-14 at No. 17 Utah
  • W 25-17 vs No. 34 Washington State
  • L 24-36 at No. 18 Oregon State
  • W 42-7 at No. 101 Stanford
  • W 28-16 vs No. 66 Colorado

UCLA has been tested twice this season – and lost both times. Per my power ratings, UCLA’s second-best win of the season is against Coastal Carolina. And that’s worthy of a top-20 ranking? I don’t get it. 

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 29
  • REC: 85%; No. 31
  • SM: -0.3; No. 19

UNDERRANKED
No. 10 Ole Miss Rebels (7-1, 4-1): -4 spots compared to KFord MD

Results

  • W 73-7 vs FCS Mercer
  • W 37-20 at No. 38 Tulane
  • W 48-23 vs No. 65 Georgia Tech
  • L 10-24 at No. 5 Alabama
  • W 55-49 vs No. 8 LSU
  • W 27-20 vs No. 36 Arkansas
  • W 28-21 at No. 30 Auburn
  • W 33-7 vs No. 98 Vanderbilt

Ole Miss has four top-40 wins, per my power ratings. Michigan has zero. But because Ole Miss lost at Alabama while Michigan beat Indiana, that makes the Rebels less deserving than the Wolverines? Come on.

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 6 (season-best)
  • REC: 23%; No. 6 (season-best)
  • SM: 6.6; No. 12 (season-worst)

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