The third set of rankings from the College Football Playoff committee arrived Tuesday, and there’s a new No. 1. Georgia took the top spot, and that would seem like an open invitation for Ohio State to head up our latest installment of the Anger Index, but instead we lead things off this week with the same team that held the top spot last week.
1. Washington (again!) (10-0, No. 5)
Last week, Boo Corrigan gushed that Washington was ever so close to claiming the No. 4 spot from Florida State. Then Washington beat No. 16 Utah — a close game by the scoreboard, but one in which the Huskies had nine more first downs and 75 more yards of offense. Florida State, meanwhile, beat Miami — a good win, but not against a ranked foe — and had one of its worst offensive days of the past two years in the process. (Miami actually outgained the Noles.)
And yet, here we are again: Florida State at No. 4, Washington at No. 5.
It’s not as if the committee insists on standing pat just because everyone at the top won. Georgia leapfrogged Ohio State for the top spot, despite the Buckeyes playing arguably their best game of the year in a dominant performance against Michigan State. But Georgia was given credit for beating a top-20 opponent in Ole Miss, and — rightfully, we’d argue — ascended to the top spot.
Only, here’s a fun fact: According to ESPN’s Strength of Record metric — which calculates an average top-25 team’s odds of having the same record vs. the same schedule — Georgia checks in at No. 7. Washington is at No. 2.
And if this is just about style points, well — Ohio State and Florida State aren’t exactly embarrassing each new adversary. Washington has played four games vs. teams ranked in the top 25% of FPI, and it has won all four by an average of 7 points. Ohio State has played just two, and its wins have come by 3 (at the buzzer) and 8 (against a team that can’t throw a football more than five yards downfield).
Comparing five undefeated teams with but one common opponent is an impossible task that inherently requires splitting some very thin hairs. But it’s hard not to wonder which hairs the committee is slicing if it sees Washington as the clear No. 5 in this group.
The good news for the Huskies, however, is they travel to No. 11 Oregon State this week, while Florida State plays North Alabama. If they both win and the Huskies stand pat…