Although yesterday I argued Baylor should be ranked in the top 25, the reality is that preseason rankings have not mattered in the college football playoff era.
In 2014, TCU went from unranked to start the season all the way to the number three slot heading into the final weekend. The committee then moved them down to #6 the following week, but that seemed to be a reflection of the committee having to consider head-to-head and Baylor’s earlier win over TCU.
The playoff committee has not lined up with the A.P. poll. Baylor was #2 in the A.P. poll last season when the first rankings came out, but the Bears were #6 in the committee’s ranking. If anything, the A.P. has mirrored the playoff ranking as Florida State, while still undefeated, moved down in the A.P. rankings in 2014 despite remaining undefeated.
Baylor will have a number of tests in conference play. If the Bears finish 12-0, the preseason ranking will not matter, and they’ll be in the playoff. If they finish 11-1, they’ll once again face questions about the non-conference schedule(it’s improving, but not this year), and have to hope there are not four other 12-1 or 11-1 teams among the other four power conferences and Notre Dame.
None of the above is a prediction the Bears will make the playoff. We’ll do a full football preview, and at that time, the ODB staff will give you everyone’s picks and prepare for the shame of any horrendous selections. The 2016 football team has some things to worry about if they want to make the playoff, but the preseason ranking should not be one of them.