No. 3 Ole Miss (3-0) did more than just jump 12 spots in the AP Poll after beating Alabama last week. It also built up a lot of equity for the College Football Playoff.
But just how much equity did the Rebels pick up?
“Well, they picked up a lot,” USA Today college football analyst George Schroeder said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “But the one thing I want to tell you is this: It might not be popular in some quadrants down South, but I think you need to not overdo what beating Alabama means – because this is not the Alabama of two years ago and three years ago and four years ago. This is a really good Alabama, but it’s not the dynasty that we were talking about three or four years ago. They’ve slipped a notch – or maybe two – and currently they’re really struggling in the quarterback part, which is a huge deal. And meanwhile the rest of the league, at least on the West, has kind of risen up around them.
“Now, I will say this,” Schroeder continued. “Having said all that, I think Ole Miss might be for real. I love Chad Kelly at quarterback. He’s just the right amount of reckless. He’s a playmaker. And then their defense is really really good, led by Robert Nkemdiche. So I would be buying Ole Miss. I just think we overdo this as though they just sort of beat the best Alabama team we remember in recent years, and this is not that team. That’s not to say that Alabama can’t come back and do what the’ve done in the past, which is run the table and get back in this thing. But I’m going to need to see a whole lot more out of the quarterback.”
While fans can get duped by brand names and the aura of certain programs, the playoff committee, we hope, does not. But does it?
“Oh, I think sometimes,” Schroeder said. “Look, they do a really good job, the committee members do. But I think sometimes that the presuppositions are an issue. You don’t have to look any further than the first poll last year when three out of the four teams were from the SEC-West. Well, as it turned out – and we don’t have a lot of data to go with it – but by the end of the year, several of those teams had three losses. A couple of those SEC-West teams had a few more, and the league went 2-5 in bowl games with the top five teams in the standings losing. Look, is that fair to go by bowl games? No, but there aren’t many measurements we have outside of conference, and so non-conference games on the front end and bowl games on the back end are what we go with. And so I do think that the committee sometimes gets swayed by the presuppositions and sometimes I think certain programs get a little more credit probably. I think that happens in other leagues, too – the Ohio States of the world and the Oklahomas of the world and whoever they are if they’re perennial winners. But I think they do a really good job of trying to sift through that by the end of the year.”