ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan has been shut out of the College Football Playoff Top 25 for the second straight week.
Following its 33-10 win Saturday against Minnesota, Michigan appeared to have a realistic shot at cracking the top 25 with seven wins, and College Football Playoff committee chair Kirby Hocutt said Michigan was “on the cusp” of being ranked this week.
Instead, Michigan remains on the outside looking in. It has seven wins this season, but none are what the CFP committee consider to be quality wins.
Michigan (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) needs to do one thing in November if it wants to make the top 25: continue to win games.
The Wolverines need to win Saturday at Maryland, and then in the final two weeks of the regular season against a pair of top-25 opponents: Wisconsin on Nov. 18 and Ohio State on Nov. 25.
Michigan, however, isn’t putting much public stock into the rankings.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Michigan safety Jordan Glasgow said Tuesday. “The only thing that matters is at the end of the year, so all we need to focus on is our record in the next game. It doesn’t matter if we have, what do we have, two losses? I don’t remember. And we’re not even in the top 50.
“It matters at the end of the year, the final rankings come out and that determines where you go.”
The 13-person College Football Playoff committee bases its rankings on four criteria: strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, comparative outcome of common opponents, and championships won.
The Big Ten has six teams in this week’s College Football Playoff Top 25: No. 25 Northwestern, No. 20 Iowa, No. 14 Penn State, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 12 Michigan State and No. 8 Wisconsin.
There are nine two-loss teams and five three-loss teams in this week’s rankings, including Iowa (6-3) and Northwestern (6-3) from the Big Ten.
Some might be surprised by three-loss Northwestern being the Big Ten’s final entry in the rankings, but Northwestern has two facts in its favor that Michigan doesn’t: First, the Wildcats have wins over No. 12 Michigan State and No. 20 Iowa. Second, Northwestern’s strength of schedule is No. 18 in the Sagarin Ratings.
Iowa is in a similar scenario. Iowa’s strength-of-schedule rating is No. 9, and it has wins against No. 21 Iowa State and No. 13 Ohio State.
Michigan is No. 48 in the Sagarin Ratings.
Michigan’s only win against a ranked opponent this season was Sept. 2 against Florida (then ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press poll), but Florida is no longer ranked. Furthermore, all seven of Michigan’s wins this season have come against programs that currently have losing records.
A factor could help Michigan this weekend: the handful of games that pit ranked teams against each other, including Michigan State-Ohio State, Iowa State-Oklahoma State, Georgia-Auburn, Iowa-Wisconsin and Alabama-Mississippi State.
Yet again, the bottom line is that the Wolverines have to win in order to enter the rankings.
“As we all know, college football is so unpredictable,” Hocutt said. “Trying to anticipate what’s going to happen in the next three weeks is impossible. Every team in the top 25 or on the cusp of being ranked has the opportunity to strengthen or weaken their resume in the weeks ahead.”
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