Michigan State gets the “3” seed; Oklahoma gets the “4” seed
The college football playoff bracket has been announced: Alabama will play Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl and Clemson will play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. The teams were ranked as follows:
- Michigan State
The committee basically has to rank Clemson number 1 because they haven’t lost a game yet, Alabama is, I think, clearly the best of the one loss teams (and arguably the best overall team), but Michigan State being ranked higher than Oklahoma seems a bit odd to me.
Sagarin (as of today) has Alabama number 1, Oklahoma number 2, Clemson number 3 and Michigan State all the way down at number 9. Now I’m not going to fault the selection committee for putting Clemson at number 1 seed, they are the only undefeated team (even if they believe Alabama is better). I have no problem with Alabama at number 2 either (best 1 loss team), but Michigan State seems to clearly be the 4 seed here.
But wait! Here’s my theory on this. Look at the Vegas odds as of November 30th (I’m guessing these haven’t changed too much since conference championship games):
The committee has it’s hands tied with ranking Clemson number 1 even if they believe that Alabama is the better team, as Vegas believes. So I think the committee wanted to avoid putting arguably the two best teams (Alabama and Oklahoma) in a semi-final match-up even if it means rankings Oklahoma 4th below a, what I believe to be, clearly inferior team on paper (Remember Michigan State is here thanks to a botched punt).
If a bracket were created with seeds based on the Vegas betting odds OR Sagarin’s ratings (OR most ratings collected here by Massey), you’d get (1)Alabama vs (4) Michigan State and (2 (or 3)) Oklahoma vs (2 (or 3)) Clemson. Which is exactly the same bracket that we actually have!
So I don’t think that the committee actually believe Michigan State is better than Oklahoma, I think they sneakily made Oklahoma the 4 seed to get better semi-final match-ups since they were stuck with Clemson as the 1 seed.