Column: With three weeks left, best not to overreact to playoff rankings

Jacob Martella

Yelling and being frustrated at college football rankings is a tradition as old as the sport itself. 

People love to say how much a particular poll is off in judging a team or just how wrong a ranking is — see the BCS, for example.

But with the next round of the College Football Playoff rankings coming out Tuesday night, and especially after what happened last week, it would be wise for folks to take some advice from Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers quarterback, and just “relax.”

The rankings that come out Tuesday are not the final rankings. Nor are next week’s or even the week after’s. There are four weeks remaining in the regular season, and, if we haven’t already learned this by now, this is still a very fluid situation.

Last week, the two biggest issues that people had were with TCU being fourth while Baylor was behind in seventh — even though the Bears beat the Horned Frogs by 3 points last month — and Florida State dropping to third behind Oregon despite still being undefeated.

This week, the likely issues will be whether Ohio State deserves to be in the coveted fourth spot, whether Mississippi State should stay in the top four — also opening up the debate of whether the SEC should get two teams in the playoffs — and whether TCU should still have a higher ranking than Baylor. But no matter what the Week 13 rankings reveal, there shouldn’t be a loud uproar over these issues, at least not yet.

The issue of whether Ohio State, and the Big 10 by virtue, should be in the playoffs will likely work itself out on the field. Any of the teams ahead of the Buckeyes could easily still lose. Alabama still has to play Auburn; Oregon will likely face off against a pesky Arizona State team; Florida State still looks vulnerable; and Baylor and TCU each have a losable game. So regardless of the Buckeyes’ ranking, folks in Columbus should be patient.

The same can be said for Mississippi State fans. The Bulldogs have a potential loss against Ole Miss coming up but could also make the SEC title game if Alabama were to lose. That, combined with the likelihood that the SEC probably won’t get two teams because of the parity, should calm people both in and out of Starkville, Mississippi, until the last rankings come out.

Finally, the Baylor-TCU debate will likely continue until the end of the season, but Baylor fans would be better off waiting until after the Kansas State game on Dec. 6 before making their argument, as Baylor could easily lose that game. Also, TCU could lose to Texas before that game even happens. A win in that game, though, would equal the résumés, which the committee has said would bring about the head-to-head tie breaker, which the Bears own.

But the point is that there’s no need to be fuming after the rankings are released. Yes, it’s okay to disagree with them, but it’s pointless to lose sleep over the order of the teams before it’s final.