The initial 2015 College Football Playoff Rankings came out last night, and their release triggered debate throughout the college football world. As of now, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State and Alabama make up the four-team field, with Notre Dame and Baylor as the first two teams out. There's a lot of football left to be played, however, so it wouldn't be a surprise if the final CFP rankings look radically different.
But looking at it in the present, there were certainly a few things that raised some eyebrows. Namely, fans of several programs can rightfully gripe that their team got a bit of a raw deal, and should have been rated higher.
Without further ado, let's look at the five teams that got screwed the most in the initial CFP Rankings, starting with:
Initial CFP Rank: 6
Why they should be higher: The Bears get plenty of guff for not playing out-of-conference opponents, and they deserve to be criticized for it. The committee has made it clear that scheduling is a major factor when it comes to ranking teams.
But let's look at some of the other things on the Bears' resume. Baylor is 7-0 with a juggernaut offense that shows no signs of slowing down. They have one of the top players in the country in wide receiver Corey Coleman. Directly ahead of them is Notre Dame, which has played a more challenging schedule but has one loss. The same can be said for Alabama at No. 4.
Baylor is about to get hit with some stiff tests this month. The Bears finish the season against Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas. There is a very good chance they don't run the table, especially with starting quarterback Seth Russell being out for the year with a neck injury. If the Bears lose a game, they deserve to drop in the rankings and have their CFP hopes ended. Until then, they have a case to be listed at No. 4 or 5.
Initial CFP Rank: 8
Why they should be higher: TCU was left out of last season's playoff because it lost to Baylor during the regular season. The 8-0 Horned Frogs could very well be 11-0 when the two teams play later this month.
Facts are, TCU is undefeated and its season-opening non-conference win at Minnesota is arguably better than any win the Bears have notched this year. Quarterback Trevone Boykin and wide receiver Josh Doctson are a potent pair, and running back Aaron Green (699 yards, eight touchdowns) gets overlooked. If the Horned Frogs can run the November Big 12 gauntlet -- they play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor with a cupcake thrown in against Kansas -- they deserve a spot in the playoff for sure.
Right now? The Horned Frogs look like they should be slotted a few pegs higher.
Initial CFP Rank: 10
Why they should be higher: While the committee gave Notre Dame plenty of credit for its only loss being a nail-biter at No. 1 Clemson, the Gators are also 7-1, their lone defeat on the road at No. 2 LSU. Victories over Ole Miss and Georgia by 28 and 24 points respectively also highlight UF's resume.
Alabama is 7-1, and its only loss came at home against Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide are a tremendous team with more recent success than the Gators, but is that really worth a difference of six spots in the CFP rankings? No.5 Notre Dame is another quality outfit, but again, the gap between the Fighting Irish and the Gators seems less significant than the CFP rankings would have you believe.
The good news for Florida? They have a chance to prove it on the field. Win out, and win the SEC Championship game, which would require beating Florida State and the SEC West winner, and the Gators should find themselves in the final foursome.
Initial CFP Rank: 11
Why they should be higher: David Shaw's team sure has come a long way from a surprising opening week loss at Northwestern. The Cardinal are 7-1 and the favorites in what has been a wild and woolly Pac-12 this season.
In league play, Stanford has impressive wins over UCLA, USC and Arizona and survived a scare last week against upstart Washington State. With home games against Oregon and Cal following this week's trip to Colorado, there is a very good chance the Cardinal are 10-1 going into the final game of the season against Notre Dame.
Stanford is lurking right now, and you could definitely argue they deserve a top 10 ranking . Would anyone be shocked if they find a way to run the table and make the CFP field? We wouldn't.
Initial CFP Rank: 13
Why they should be higher: Justin Fuente's Tigers are the official Cinderellas of this year's CFP, and while their odds of busting the bracket are incredibly slim, they should be bumped up a couple of rungs on the ladder.
In addition to being 8-0, the Tigers are 2-0 against Power 5 teams this year (yes, we're still counting Kansas) and they've beaten a team (Ole Miss) that knocked off Alabama. Now, should Memphis, through the transitive property, be rated higher than the Crimson Tide? No, but how they performed against a common opponent should indicate that this Tiger team is more than just a cute underdog story.
Led by NFL draft prospect Paxton Lynch at QB, Memphis could easily justify being ranked in the top 10, and if it wins out, should finish the season there.