Michigan Football: Why the first CFP ranking is perfect

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press /

Why the first set of College Football Playoff rankings were perfect for Michigan football. 

Listen, I understand the pain and frustration of Harbaugh and him never seemingly being able to get over the hump in big rivalry games.

It definitely leaves a lot to be desired, but the sun still rises everyday, and, the last time I checked, Michigan football isn’t out of the CFP playoff conversation yet.

Also, Michigan played a hell of a game against MSU. You can’t deny that. If the Wolverines had converted on a few more TDs instead of FGs, they would’ve won.

The first iteration of the CFP rankings came out yesterday evening, and Michigan checked in at No.7, behind Georgia, Alabama, MSU, Oregon, OSU, and Cincinnati.

The ranking itself was a little surprising in the sense that the CFP playoff rankings always seem to screw over Michigan, so the fact that U-M only dropped one spot from their AP ranking should bode well for the future.

Why being seventh is perfect for Michigan football

Listen, you may not believe in the football team anymore, and that’s completely fine (you have every right with the way past years have finished down the stretch), but the reality is that Michigan still has everything in front of them to have a special season.

As I mentioned in my previous article, almost no team goes through the regular season completely unblemished. Great teams are supposed to get tested. If great teams never get tested, then they would never know their weaknesses. Against other great teams, those weaknesses would rear their ugly heads and that team would be completely exposed and wouldn’t know how to counter.

Michigan football got exposed against MSU.

The Wolverines red-zone offense has been a key issue at times this season, and their inexperience at LB is another issue that had been exposed sometimes this season.

All of that is correctable though. OSU and Alabama both have a loss right now. So, Michigan isn’t the only team in the top-10 of the CFP rankings with a loss.

More often than not, those teams shake off their loss and fix their weaknesses in time to still make it to the playoff.

Michigan can still do the same. Obviously, the Wolverines have no more margin for error, but to be honest, one-loss is a blessing in disguise. Would the fans and media love for Michigan to just go undefeated every season? Of course. But again, that’s not reality.

Reality says that more than likely, a loss will happen somewhere down the line. If we were being completely realistic with ourselves, Michigan probably wasn’t going to go undefeated anyways.

Everybody said that Michigan would lose to Washington or Wisconsin, and some even said Nebraska.  Teams have so much pressure of maintaining their unblemished records that sometimes, that pressure can make a team crack.

On the other hand, though, a loss really helps determine the good and bad about a team, and can actually be even more of a bonding moment than just winning every game.

I guarantee every single player on Michigan’s roster loves to win but hates to lose even more than winning, including all of the assistant coaches and Jim Harbaugh himself.

That’s what bonds a team.

The No. 7 ranking that the CFP committee gave the Wolverines is perfect because it puts them right near the top of the rankings, but it reminds the players that they still have more work to do to reach their goals.

Michigan is still within striking distance of making it into the top-four. Obviously, the main downside to losing is Michigan may need some help above them to reach their goals, but as long as Michigan wins all of its remaining games, it shouldn’t really need to rely on anybody else (besides the Big Ten Championship game).

Just for a second, look at Michigan’s strength of schedule and entire body of work compared to teams ranked above them.

Right off the bat, Michigan already has a better strength of schedule than Oregon.
That bodes well for the future if the teams look nearly identical in another category if it comes down to rankings at the end of the year. Michigan State still has to play OSU, and although Michigan lost to MSU, I still believe Michigan will put up a better fight against OSU than MSU will.

This is when we will really find out what Jim Harbaugh is made of this season. Not when he’s winning games, but when he loses a game, his back is kind of against the wall, the hot seat is a little warm (to some people), the fans and media are turning on him again, and he has to try to keep his players with the same mindsets that they had when they were undefeated.

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So for now, Michigan fans need to calm down. The season is not over yet, it is actually just getting started, and I expect Michigan to come out with a vengeance moving forward. The push to the playoff happens now.