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Koch: Why can’t CSU crack the CFP Top-25?

Zac Koch
Zac Koch

After jumping up a spot to No. 22 in the AP top 25 over the weekend, CSU had high hopes of making it into the College Football Playoff rankings this week.

The Rams were able to relax last Saturday on their bye week, and got to watch a few teams they needed to lose fall: including Duke, Clemson and Minnesota. They saw exactly what they wanted.


But on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. when the CFP rankings were released, the Rams didn’t get to see what they wanted.

Instead, two of the three teams that lost, potentially opening up a spot for CSU in the CFP, remained in the rankings. Clemson suffered a 28-6 thumping to Georgia Tech, putting them at 7-3 on the season. Minnesota fell to No. 6 Ohio State 31-24, also putting them at 7-3.

So, as the Rams sit at 9-1 and No. 22 in the AP poll, a Clemson team that has lost two of its games by 20-plus points, and a third to an FSU team that hasn’t shown the strength that they did last year is still ranked, not to mention Heisman winner Jameis Winston didn’t play in that game.

Minnesota was on thin ice already before they lost last weekend, and yet still remained in the No. 25 slot. They had two losses, one to No. 5 TCU, and another embarrassing loss to an Illinois team that posts a 4-6 overall record and a 1-5 record in the Big 10. CSU’s only loss on the season was a 37-24 finish at the hands of an 8-2 Boise State team that posts a 5-1 record in the Mountain West.

So why can’t the Rams crack the threshold of the CFP top 25?

For starters, there hasn’t been a team in the CFP top 25 since week 10 that isn’t in a power five conference, and that was East Carolina. On the flip side, the AP poll has had at least one non-power five team in it’s top 25 every week since week three.

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, because let’s face it, we’ve seen the “Power 5” takeover coming for a while. But in such an exciting year for college football, being the CFP’s debut season, most people were probably hoping for more competition than that of the BCS era, an era dominated by the SEC in the late years.

Sure, there’s more exciting competition, but apparently it’s restricted to “Power 5” conferences according to the CFP committee.

For “non-Power 5” teams, wins mean less and losses mean more. The committee needs to recognize power outside of those five conferences, or else, why do they still play?


Seventeen of the teams in the CFP Top 25 have two or more losses, and seven of those teams have three losses.

What else can a team do to gain recognition than win games? Blow teams out?

No, that doesn’t work either.

Marshall is the only other “non-Power 5” team ranked in the AP polls, and they are still undefeated. The 10-0 Thundering Herd have annihilated every team they have played, and their closest winning margin was 15 points. Still, they were left out of the CFP rankings as well.

Is there anything a team from the likes of the Mountain West or Conference USA can do to gain recognition by the CFP committee?

It sure doesn’t seem like it.

Thanks for keeping track with Zac.

Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Zac Koch can be reached at and on Twitter @zactkoch

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