College Football Playoff Committee Chair Explains Penn State Over Clemson

The first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2019 season were announced on Tuesday, November 5 and there were a handful of surprises at the top. The Ohio State Buckeyes earned the top spot over the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, who are the top-ranked teams in the AP and Coaches Poll, respectively, while the Penn State Nittany Lions checked in at No. 4.

Penn State in the top four over Clemson was a bit of a shock, but committee chairman Rob Mullens explained why the Nittany Lions got the edge over the Tigers.

For Penn State, it was the overall strength of their resume through the opening two months of the season.

“In the end, what it came down to and it was, you know, again, much debate. Penn State has the marquee wins against 14th-ranked Michigan and a road win at 18th-ranked Iowa,” Mullens said. “In addition, they have a non-conference win over Pitt, which is a pretty good win at this point. So sure, the close win [by Clemson] over North Carolina is a factor because we’re looking at the entire resume. And what we see with Clemson is an impressive team, an offense that’s improved in the last few weeks, outstanding quarterback, outstanding running back.”

The good news for Clemson, however, is that the top four teams still have to play each other before the end of the regular season — LSU vs. Alabama and Ohio State vs. Penn State — so the Tigers should have the inside track to the playoff if they ultimately win out.

Who else is on the outside looking in?

A full look at the rankings for games played through November 2 can be seen below.

  1. Ohio State (8-0)
  2. LSU (8-0)
  3. Alabama (8-0)
  4. Penn State (8-0)
  5. Clemson (9-0)
  6. Georgia (7-1)
  7. Oregon (8-1)
  8. Utah (8-1)
  9. Oklahoma (7-1)
  10. Florida (7-2)
  11. Auburn (7-2)
  12. Baylor (8-0)
  13. Wisconsin (6-2)
  14. Michigan (7-2)
  15. Notre Dame (6-2)
  16. Kansas State (6-2)
  17. Minnesota (8-0)
  18. Iowa (6-2)
  19. Wake Forest (7-1)
  20. Cincinnati (7-1)
  21. Memphis (8-1)
  22. Boise State (7-1)
  23. Oklahoma State (6-3)
  24. Navy (7-1)
  25. SMU (8-1)

About the College Football Playoff: The College Football Playoff matches the No. 1 seed vs. No. 4, and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in semifinal games that rotate annually among six bowl games – the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. This season’s Playoff Semifinals will take place Saturday, December 29, 2018, at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and Capital One Orange Bowl. The College Football Playoff National Championship will be Monday, January 7, 2019, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

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