How would the College Football Playoff committee rank teams this week? Which four schools would make the playoff?
We can use analytics to make an educated guess on the committee rankings. The Associated Press poll provides a baseline for the Top 25 teams before the committee releases its first poll. My algorithm then adjusts teams based on the most recent opponent and margin of victory.
Teams that win keep their place or make a jump if they beat a higher-ranked opponent. Teams that lose drop but not as much if they lose to a highly ranked team. You get the idea.
Let's look at the three most interesting movers from Week 3.
|1||Ohio State||Win vs. Western Michigan, 38-12|
|2||Michigan State||Win vs. Central Michigan, 30-10|
|3||Ole Miss||Win vs. Vanderbilt, 27-16|
|4||Baylor||Win vs. Rice, 70-17|
|5||TCU||Win vs. Texas Tech, 55-52|
|6||Notre Dame||Win vs. UMass, 62-27|
|7||UCLA||Win vs. Arizona, 56-30|
|8||Georgia||Win vs. Southern, 48-6|
|9||LSU||Win vs. Syracuse, 34-24|
|12||Utah||Win vs. Oregon, 62-20|
|13||Alabama||Win vs. Louisiana Monroe, 34-0|
|15||Texas A&M||Win vs. Arkansas, 28-21|
|16||Northwestern||Win vs. Ball State, 24-19|
|17||USC||Win vs. Arizona State, 42-14|
|18||Stanford||Win vs. Oregon State, 42-24|
|19||Mississippi State||Win vs. Auburn, 17-9|
|20||Wisconsin||Win vs. Hawaii, 28-0|
|21||Oklahoma State||Win vs. Texas, 30-27|
|22||West Virginia||Win vs. Maryland, 45-6|
|23||Oregon||Loss vs. Utah 62-20|
|24||Michigan||Win vs. BYU, 31-0|
|25||Toledo||Win vs. Arkansas State, 37-7|
Ed Feng, ESPN
Michigan Cracks the Top 25
Tanner Mangum had a magical start to his BYU career. The quarterback took over for the injured Taysom Hill in the opener and completed a Hail Mary to beat Nebraska. Then he did it again the next week against Boise State.
However, the fairy dust disintegrated when Mangum met the Michigan defense, as I predicted it would. Mangum couldn't summon up the big plays against an underrated Wolverines defense and ended the day averaging less than one yard per pass attempt after accounting for sacks.
BYU has a 2-2 record, which is not bad for a brutal four-game stretch in which it entered each game as the underdog. It is the street cred that BYU earned over the first three weeks of the year that catapults Michigan into the Top 25 after its dominating 31-0 win over the Cougars, earning major style points with the committee.
Based on this game, it's clear this Michigan team has turned a corner. The offense looked crisp, and the defense looked intimidating. The Michigan faithful can rest well, knowing Harbaugh has the Wolverines playing Top 25-worthy football.
Embarrassing Home Loss Drops Oregon Out of Top 20
We knew Oregon had issues on defense. Eastern Washington, an FCS team, and Georgia State, not much better than a FCS team, gained 549 and 431 yards, respectively, against the Ducks.
The defense has been bad for a while, but no one noticed last year since Marcus Mariota had the offense flying high. Now without Mariota, Oregon looks lost. The 62-20 loss drops Oregon to 23rd in the committee rankings. The large margin of victory for Utah lands the Utes at 12th.
With two losses already on the card, Oregon's playoff hopes are over.
TCU's Miracle at Texas Tech Costs It a Spot
TCU had almost zero injuries on defense in 2014. That is not the case this year.
Heading into Saturday's game at Texas Tech, the Horned Frogs were missing three defensive linemen, a linebacker, a safety and a cornerback.
This rash of injuries allowed Texas Tech to light up the scoreboard in Lubbock. The Red Raiders had a 52-48 lead late in the fourth quarter, and TCU needed a miracle touchdown on 4th-and-goal to escape with the win.
The committee would recognize this as a lucky win, so TCU drops one spot behind Baylor.