The College Football Playoff will release its first set of rankings Tuesday night, and just between you and I, dearest subscriber, they don't matter. I tell you this as somebody whose primary responsibility at CBSSports.com is to cover college football: these rankings are truly meaningless.
They are nothing more than a television event. They are designed to get you talking about the rankings as if they matter when they most certainly don't. You'll argue that the rankings don't make any sense because the selection committee will tell you that one team is ranked at a spot for a particular reason. Then they'll ignore that particular reason when explaining why another team is ranked somewhere else.
And you know why? Because they don't matter. I mean, think about it. The committee releases a top 25 when only four teams make the College Football Playoff. Why do you need to rank 25 teams when only four make it? At most, you only need to rank 15 teams because the rankings help settle the New Year's Six bowls. So that's 12 spots up for grabs, even though the non-playoff bowls in any given season have conference tie-ins, so even then, the rankings don't matter!
The only rankings the committee will release that do matter are the final ones, and even then, the reasons they'll give you will be nebulous at best and confounding at a minimum.I can't wait to be mad about them anyway.
Now let's take a look at today's news.
- Our Jerry Palm gives his predictions for what the College Football Playoff rankings will look like.
- The Hot Stove has been lit!
- Maybe Tom Brady's just being responsible during a pandemic.
- Pete Prisco's Power (p)Rankings
OK, let's get to today's picks
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Nashville at Toronto, 6 p.m. | TV: FS1
The Pick: Under 2.5 (-150): We don't have a lot available to us this evening, but the MLS Playoffs are going on, and we can take advantage of them. The first round concludes tonight with three matches, and I love the value on the total here, even at this price. Nashville has been the Cinderella story of MLS. It's the club's first season in the league, and they've managed to squeeze their way into the playoffs. Tonight they face a Toronto side that's been one of the best teams in the league all year.
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While these two are separated by a lot of points in the standings, they do have something in common. Both are strong defensively. Toronto led the Eastern Conference with an xG against of 25.2 this season, and right behind them in second was Nashville at 25.4. With the MLS playoffs being a knockout format (one-game series), teams tend to get a bit more conservative in their approach. So, with two strong defensive teams playing tonight, I expect we'll see both sides being a bit cautious in their approach. This could easily be a 1-0 match.
Key Trend: Toronto allowed only six goals in 10 regular season matches at home.
💰 The Picks
🏈 College Football
College Football Playoff Champion
The Pick: Alabama (+175) -- When the College Football Playoff Rankings come out tonight, there's a strong chance Alabama will be the No. 1 team. It's for a good reason. Alabama is the best team in the country. Over the last few weeks, we've seen other contenders like Clemson and Ohio State falter. Notre Dame beat Clemson, but it's had some hiccups along the way itself. Alabama, meanwhile, seems to be improving. The offense has been firing on all cylinders since the season began, but now the Tide is improving on the defensive side of the ball. Ever since the first half of their victory against Georgia, the Alabama defense has taken things up a notch, and right now, I don't get the sense there's another team in the country as complete as this team.
The Pick: Los Angeles Lakers (+325) -- You know that one friend of yours who complains about the NBA being too predictable? They say the reason they doesn't watch is because you already know who is going to win. Well, as annoying as they are, they're not entirely wrong. The NBA offseason is a lot shorter this year, and while plenty of teams have improved, so have the reigning champions. And I don't think anybody else has improved enough to be considered a true threat to the Lakers, especially when you consider that the Lakers have improved too. They're going to have a more balanced roster next season, and one that will fit better alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The SportsLine Projection Model, which has returned over $7,800 on top-rated NFL picks since its inception, reveals the best Week 12 parlay picks.
⚽ Champions League Parlay
A 4-leg parlay for Wednesday that pays +231.
- Manchester City -360
- Ajax -340
- Liverpool -155
- Bayern Munich -460