Columnist: College Football Committee prone to manipulate rankings for TV ratings


The College Football Committee is a farce, as many who follow the sport, now realize. It is a group whose main mission is to manipulate the rankings to allow the teams with the biggest followings, located in the largest markets to dominate the playoffs.

In 2014 TCU was totally screwed by the Committee. The week before the final rankings the Committee ranked TCU second after it destroyed Iowa State by 55-3. It had beaten everyone that year including Texas and Oklahoma, with a lone 61-58 loss on the road at top-five ranked Baylor.

But TCU wasn’t going to bring as many eyeballs to the TV sets as say, Ohio State, which the Committee jumped from seventh to fourth in the final rankings, leaving TCU to wonder what happened. What happened was that Ohio State looked great winning the Big Ten championship game while TCU stood idle because the Big 12 didn’t have one.

They do now. And if TCU defeats Kansas State in it Saturday, the Committee has no choice but to finally give an undefeated TCU team its due. The Committee also gets  to make nice to the Pac-12 by inviting USC as its fourth team (after Georgia and Michigan) if the Trojans can hold off Utah Friday night. The Committee has slyly maneuvered USC into a position where it can slip into the playoff, should it win.

A Pac-12 team hasn’t made the CFP since 2017, and in those five years since not a single one has deserved to make it. But USC this year has the right recipe for the Committee: huge market, quarterback likely to win the Heisman and a hot coach. It doesn’t matter that there are a bunch of teams rated lower than the Trojans, like Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio State, LSU, and maybe even South Carolina, who would probably kick them to the dust. Consider that USC’s defense gave up 37 to Arizona. Arizona for gosh sakes!

And USC yielded 42 to UCLA, 43 to Utah, and 35 to Cal. The SEC would destroy that defense.

But it doesn’t matter. The Committee is getting what it wants: big markets, and hopefully big ratings. The Committee’s final wish is probably for TCU to lose, so that Ohio State could back into the playoff as it did in 2014. But with the semi-finals once again scheduled for New Year’s Eve—a blunder just as much a fault of ESPN as the Committee’s—great overall ratings may still be hard to come by.


Weekend – More TV info in coming days:

Friday, December 2, 2022

Akron  @  Buffalo – 1:00 PM  – (UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY)

North Texas   @  UTSA  – 7:30 PM – (Alamo Dome, San Antonio)                                                          

(14) Utah  @  (6) USC -8:00 PM  – (Allegiant Dome, Las Vegas)             

Saturday, December 3, 2022 

(12) Kansas State @  (4) TCU  -12:00 PM – (AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Tx)

Toledo   @  Ohio – 12:00 PM – (Ford Field – Detroit, Michigan)

Coastal Carolina  @  Troy 3:30 PM – (Memorial Stadium, Troy, Alabama)

(5) LSU  @  (1) Georgia – 4:00 PM – (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta)

(22) UCF  @  (19) Tulane – 4:00 PM – (Yulman Stadium – New Orleans, La.)

Fresno State @  Boise State – 4:00 PM  – (Albertsons Stadium – Boise, Idaho)

Purdue  @  (3) Michigan – 8:00 PM – (Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana)

(8) Clemson @ (17) North Carolina – (Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC)


Rich Podolsky

Rich Podolsky, an established writer and reporter since the 70s, has been a staff writer for CBS and has written for ESPN, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Palm Beach Post, the Wilmington News Journal, College & Pro Football Newsweekly and TV Guide. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers' Keystone Award for writing excellence. A fan of music from the 60s and 70s, he is the author of "Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear," which relates how Kirshner discovered Bobby Darin, Carole King and Neil Sedaka among others, and "Neil Sedaka, Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivor,” which tells the inside story of Sedaka’s comeback. His new book, “You Are Looking Live!” is about CBS’ revolutionary pregame show in 1975 which introduced Brent, Phyllis, Irv and The Greek to America.

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