SALT LAKE CITY — Conference championship weekend went mostly as expected, other than an uncharacteristic showing from Utah as the Oregon Ducks dismantled the Utes in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
As a result, ranking the top teams in my ballot was especially tricky. I don’t feel teams should be punished too harshly for losing in a championship game; however, given Utah’s resume and a 22-point loss to Oregon, they end up with the short stick this week.
Yes, Georgia lost by more to LSU than Utah did to Oregon, but they lost to a team that’s arguably the No. 1 team in the country. They also have three wins against current Top 25 teams, whereas Utah has none. The College Football Playoff selection committee punished Alabama hard for not having a win against a Top 25 team, so why should Utah get preferential treatment?
The Ducks peaked at the perfect time. After a loss to Arizona State, and then a mediocre showing against Oregon State, the Ducks looked the part of their ranking. But in the championship game, Oregon mostly looked like a Top 10 team ready for its next victim. The Ducks ultimately fall victim to scheduling Auburn in the first week and then failing to go undefeated in Pac-12 play.
Falling: Georgia, Utah, Virginia
Utah is a tricky player in the ballot this week. Utah has moved up in the rankings due to the “eye test” and how well they’ve done for a majority of the season — blowing out opponents by more than four touchdowns on average. But in their two toughest games of the season, both losses, Utah looked outmatched and outplayed. Those that have watched the Utes all season know that’s not the “real” Utes — or maybe it is and they didn’t get tested. Nobody really knows.
Georgia falls, but they land in a favorable spot because of the body of their work and the fact that they made it to the championship game. Unlike Utah, their resume is mostly solid — looking at you South Carolina.
Sorry, Virginia, you got stuck with Clemson.
Added: Oklahoma State
Dropped out: Virginia
As always, hit me up on Twitter (@JFurKSL) if you have any questions about my ballot.