The third College Football Playoff rankings were unveiled Tuesday, and, of course, there's controversy regarding how and why certain teams moved up or down in relation to the previous week. Some - including Fox Sports' Joel Klatt - think the committee is showing bias against certain conferences. Others are reserving judgement until the entire process plays out.
One columnist - John E. Hoover of Tulsa World - is floating a serious conspiracy theory. It involves the television networks, four "superconferences" and negotiating power. It also involves the playoff committee purposely excluding the Big 12 from the event. Check this out:
The best way for the college football movers and shakers to gain real bargaining power over ESPN and other television networks is for the best of the Power 5 conferences to congeal into four, 16-team superconferences. The leagues and schools would hold all the cards in the board room and could name their own price for the rights to broadcast their games.
The best way to make that happen is to dissolve the weakest of the Power 5 conferences — the Big 12 — and absorb the best of the Big 12 into the others.
And the best way to accomplish that is to take measures to lessen the chances of the Big 12 getting a spot in the four-team playoff. That will frustrate the Big 12’s best teams and best programs into wanting to leave, and if an OU or a Texas wants to leave, the Big 12 is doomed and it’ll be every school for itself.
Hoover goes on to give numerous examples that suggest that the committee could be setting up Notre Dame's resume to look better than Oklahoma's resume at season's end. He cites the rankings of Navy, TCU, USC, Stanford and others.
To be clear, Hoover isn't claiming any of this as fact - it's a theory. But it's one that's sure to get people talking.