CFP Chair Corrigan talks top-six, Michigan investigation after first rankings 

The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season have been released, and Selection Committee Chair Boo Corrigan explained the decision-making behind the rankings. 

Ohio State stood atop at No. 1 in the first CFP rankings, its highest CFP rank since the 2019 season. No. 2 Georgia, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Florida State rounded out the playoff-bound top-four. 

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Corrigan spoke about the reasoning behind the Buckeyes’ No. 1 ranking, saying Ohio State’s play on both sides of the ball ultimately gave it the edge. 

“The win against Penn State, to win at Notre Dame, to win at Wisconsin,” Corrigan said. “They’re proving they can do it at home. They’re proving they can do it on the road. They have explosive plays, down a receiver, Marvin Harrison, Jr. is clearly one of the top players in the country. And as we’ve looked at it, as we evaluate it, it is part of the overall evaluation, but a top-five defense that’s giving up about 10 points a game really does play into it as well. So to pick on completely on one side when the other side is so dominant, and by the way, the offense is really, really good so we got to take all of that into account as we’re looking at it, and we came to the conclusion as a committee that they deserved the No. 1 ranking.” 

Much was to be seen regarding Michigan’s ranking and the ongoing NCAA investigation into alleged sign stealing. The Big Ten Conference released a statement Oct. 19 that it had been notified by the NCAA of the investigation, and Michigan has since suspended a staff member with pay. 

On Wednesday night, “a vast majority of the Big Ten coaches expressed their frustrations with the ongoing signal-stealing investigation at Michigan in a video call with commissioner Tony Petitti, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN

Hancock said “there wasn’t any suggestion that anything changed” when talking about Michigan athletics director Warde Manuel’s position on the CFP committee, as he is a member of the selection committee, and both he and Corrigan said Manuel “was fully engaged in the meeting.” 

“To Bill’s point, (Manuel) was completely engaged in everything that was going on,” Corrigan said. “Obviously, he gets recused early in the process if you will with our ranking, but Warde was in the room, was engaged was making the points that he had seen for the teams that we were talking about, was a really good committee member as all 12 of them were.” 

The topic of the ongoing NCAA investigation into alleged sign stealing by Michigan wasn’t a big talking point, according to CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock. 

“It just wasn’t an issue,” Hancock said. “Warde brought credibility when he came to the committee, and he still had it and still has it. And as Boo and I both said he was fully engaged today so it’s just not an issue here.” 

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The Wolverines have the No. 6 scoring offense and No. 1 scoring defense in college football. Hancock said Michigan has “played well all season” amid the ongoing sign stealing investigation. 

“Fact of the matter is no one knows what happened,” Hancock said. “The NCAA is dealing right now with allegations only. The committee makes its judgments based on what happened on the field, and clearly Michigan has been a dominant team.” 

Behind the top-four is No. 5 Washington and No. 6 Oregon, which both faced off against one another with the Huskies prevailing 36-33 in Week 6. 

Based on resumes, Florida State has two ranked wins, Washington has one and the Ducks have two. 

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Corrigan advocated for the Seminoles’ No. 4 ranking, and noted that the recent performances of the Huskies and Ducks — Washington has won its past two games by nine points or less — led to their positioning in the first CFP rankings of the year. 

“I think as you look at the full body of work, with Florida State being No. 4, the win over LSU, the win against Duke, kind of a frontloaded schedule if you will,” Corrigan said. “They’ve looked really good. Offensively putting up 41 points a game, their defense is ranked in the top 20, but again, as we looked at it overall and went through the process, we came out with Ohio State one, Georgia two, Michigan three, Florida State four. With regards to Washington, a huge win over Oregon, who we have at No. 6. But in looking at that, the game most recently, two most recent games at home against Arizona State and on the road at Stanford from a committee standpoint gave us some pause and put them in at No. 5.”