The initial College Football Playoff ranking was released between games of ESPN’s college basketball kickoff doubleheader on Tuesday night (synergy!), and two things are true about it: 1) Nothing much matters until the final ranking; 2) The Gophers and newly extended head coach P.J. Fleck can feel free to play the “nobody respects us” card based on its outcome.
The Gophers are one of seven teams that sit undefeated. The first five of those seven are ranked 1-5 by the CFP committee in the initial rankings. Baylor is No. 12. And the Gophers are way down at No. 17.
Four teams with one loss are ahead of Minnesota. More annoyingly, SIX TEAMS with two losses are ahead of the Gophers, including 6-2 Wisconsin at No. 13. The Badgers trail the Gophers by two games in the Big Ten West standings and have lost their last two games — one of them to Illinois, a team the Gophers thumped 40-17.
Do the Gophers belong in the top five? No way. This is where you can rightly point to the strength of schedule and the tense manner in which the Gophers won three non-conference games and say “prove it to us against better competition.”
It’s even fine to see Minnesota behind some one-loss teams that have played tougher competition.
But behind a bunch of two-loss teams, including a Badgers team that already has a bad loss and a 31-point defeat against Ohio State? That’s not right. The AP voters who have the Gophers 13th and the Badgers 16th are far closer to being right than the committee is at this point.
Again, none of this matters a ton right now, and things will change in a hurry during November.
So don’t get too mad, even if it says right here that the Badgers would get the Rose Bowl over the Gophers if the season ended today.