CFP proves it uses inconsistent logic in choosing Washington over Ohio State

Last week’s fake College Football Playoff debate was between No. 4 Texas A&M and No. 5 Washington Huskies . CFP chairman Kirby Hocutt cited the one-loss Aggies’ strength of schedule for why they were ahead of undefeated Washington.

This week’s fake debate is between No. 4 Washington and No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes . While the Huskies are certainly deserving at No. 4, the Buckeyes theoretically would be ahead if the CFP’s same stated logic was applied from last week.

“Last week there was a close margin between the No. 4 team and No. 5, and at that particular time, the one-loss team that Washington was being compared to [Texas A&M], their only loss was to Alabama Crimson Tide ,” Hocutt said. “This week the one- loss team in that No. 5 position below Washington is Ohio State, and their loss is to Penn State Nittany Lions . That’s the difference in the eyes of the selection committee. But more than anything, it’s the consistency that we’ve seen week in and week out with Washington and what they’ve shown on the field.”

The more you try to make sense of the weekly rankings, the more your head will hurt. It’s a silly exercise that mainly serves to provide TV programming for ESPN and to box Hocutt into a difficult corner to explain different decisions by 12 people.

This was Hocutt last week explaining Texas A&M vs. Washington: “Washington is a well-balanced team, and they had a good win last week on the road against Utah Utes , but in the committee’s mind, Texas A&M has played a stronger schedule, and at this point in time, beating four teams with winning records, and Washington has only beat two.”

This is Hocutt this week explaining Washington vs. Ohio State, which has three wins over CFP top-25 teams compared to one for the Huskies: “Ohio State [had] a convincing win last week, three wins versus College Football Playoff top-25 teams, and I think as we go forward, we will place quality wins, a high value on those teams that are ranked in the College Football Playoff top 25.”

One week, quality wins matter when deciding No. 4. The next week, quality wins will matter more at a future date. Just flip a coin with the weekly logic.

An argument could be made that inconsistent reasoning isn’t the worst thing for the committee. It shows the committee is truly evaluating teams on a weekly basis, and perhaps correcting past mistakes. Still, the weekly exercise is often confusing to the public when reasons are stated.

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