College Football Playoff Rankings Vs. KFord: CFP Committee Got No. 1 Right & Nothing Else

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Written By Kelley Ford | Last Updated
college football playoff rankings

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee released its second rankings this week as the ultimate authority in choosing the four playoff teams that will decide CFB national championship futures. The best college football betting sites adjust their odds with each edition. You’ll hear the phrases “ranked wins” and “record vs. top 25” until the bracket is set. They stumbled upon the correct No. 1 team this week but got everything else wrong.

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. Click on the odds anywhere in this post to bet now. New users lock in bonus offers.

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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.


BIGGEST GRIPES WITH TOP 4 of College Football Playoff Rankings

No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (9-0, 6-0): +6 spots compared to KFord MD


  • W 30-3 vs No. 84 East Carolina
  • W 35-7 vs No. 73 UNLV
  • W 31-6 vs No. 102 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. 80 Indiana
  • W 49-0 at No. 67 Michigan State
  • W 41-13 vs No. 69 Purdue

No. 3 Michigan at No. 10 Penn State is unquestionably one of the biggest games of the college football regular season. With that comes a much-needed résumé-boosting opportunity for the Wolverines. But the key word there is opportunity. The Wolverines haven’t won that game yet. So, for at least one more week, Michigan’s best wins of the season continue to be at No. 50 power-rated Minnesota vs No. 45 Rutgers and at No. 59 Nebraska. Apparently, that’s impressive enough to the Committee for them to rank the Wolverines No. 3. As I said last week, 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: 35% (No. 9)
  • SM: 15.3 (No. 1)

No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1, 6-0): -4 spots compared to KFord MD


  • W 56-7 vs No. 103 Middle Tennessee
  • L 24-34 vs No. 8 Texas
  • W 17-3 at No. 107 USF
  • W 24-10 vs No. 12 Ole Miss
  • W 40-17 at No. 42 Mississippi State
  • W 26-20 at No. 16 Texas A&M
  • W 24-21 vs No. 32 Arkansas
  • W 34-20 vs No. 14 Tennessee
  • W 42-28 vs No. 8 LSU

Alabama has six wins against teams with a top-45 power rating. SIX! That’s as many as No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Michigan combined. But because of a 10-point loss to No. 8 power-rated Texas, the Committee automatically defaults to slotting the Crimson Tide behind those teams? 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.” I would like to think that the esteemed group could dig a little bit deeper than simply looking at the number in the loss column.

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 4
  • REC: 8% (No. 4)
  • SM: 6.8 (No. 11)


No. 12 Oregon State Beavers (7-2, 4-2): +10 spots compared to KFord MD


  • W 42-17 at No. 77 San Jose State
  • W 55-7 vs FCS UC Davis
  • W 26-9 vs No. 103 San Diego State
  • L 35-38 at No. 39 Washington State
  • W 21-7 vs No. 21 Utah
  • W 52-40 at No. 48 California
  • W 36-24 vs No. 25 UCLA
  • L 24-27 at No. 31 Arizona
  • W 26-19 at No. 66 Colorado

I have no issue with Oregon State being ranked. Through nine games, the Beavers’ résumé includes two wins against teams with a top-25 power rating and two more against top-70 teams. That is absolutely worthy of consideration in a top 25 ranking. But No. 12? LSU has four top-40 wins, and none of the Tigers losses came to teams power-rated worse than No. 13 – all away from home, no less. But because the Committee simply counts losses, the Tigers are seven spots behind the Beavers? (Note: Notre Dame (7-3) and Kansas State (6-3) also deserve to be ranked ahead of Oregon State, for what it’s worth.)

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 22
  • REC: 73% (No. 22)
  • SM: 1.2 (No. 16)

No. 18 Utah Utes (7-2, 4-2): -6 spots compared to KFord MD


  • W 24-11 vs No. 25 Florida
  • W 20-13 at No. 55 Baylor
  • W 31-7 vs FCS Weber State
  • W 14-7 vs No. 22 UCLA
  • L 7-21 at No. 20 Oregon State
  • W 34-14 vs No. 51 California
  • W 34-32 at No. 14 USC
  • L 6-35 vs No. 3 Oregon
  • W 55-3 vs No. 84 Arizona State

Utah should be the highest-ranked two-loss team. Not Oregon State. “But Kelley, Oregon State won this game head-to-head!” Congrats, you have successfully read what I wrote in the results section above. But let’s look at the full résumé, not just one game, shall we? Utah has five top-55 power-rated wins; Oregon State has three. Utah lost against power-rated No. 3 and No. 20; Oregon State lost against power-rated No. 31 and No. 39. But please, tell me again why Oregon State deserves to be ranked six spots higher than Utah. I’ll wait.

KFord Résumé Metrics

  • MD: No. 12
  • REC: 44% (No. 12)
  • SM: 0.0 (No. 19)

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