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The curious case of Western Michigan

Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

At this point last college football season, there were five undefeated teams through 10 weeks. Those teams were Clemson, Ohio State, Iowa, Oklahoma State, and Houston.

With Michigan, Washington, and Clemson losing their first game this past weekend, that leaves only two undefeated now. Those two teams are Alabama and Western Michigan. Alabama is predictably ranked No. 1 in the latest College Football Playoff Poll. Then there is the curious case of the Western Michigan Broncos, who is all the way down at No. 21.

It’s extremely rare for a team to be undefeated this far into the season and be only ranked 21st. In fact, this is the lowest an undefeated team has ever been ranked through 10 games in the history of the College Football Playoff. Granted, the College Football Playoff has only existed for three years, but the same things occurs if the College Football Playoff Poll is replaced with the AP Poll.

For a team like Alabama, it is easy to rank them given their strength of schedule. However, Western Michigan plays in the MAC and it is hard to truly gauge how good they are since they have not played anyone good. The best win on Western Michigan’s schedule might be Northwestern, who they beat 22-21 in the first week of season.

So, should Western Michigan be ranked higher than 21st? Probably, but how much higher is tough to tell. Obviously when ranking teams there are many things to consider than just record. They should probably be ranked ahead of Boise State who has a loss and not a significantly better schedule. They should be ahead of Tennessee who has three losses and possibly Nebraska who has two losses and their best win against Minnesota. Any higher than that and it gets much harder to make an argument.

If Western Michigan continues to win they should rise even more, especially if the teams ahead of them lose. The Broncos should have no problem winning their last two games on their schedule. They play a really bad Buffalo team who is 2-8 and shouldn’t have much of a problem against a 8-2 Toledo team. If they win those two games and win the MAC Championship Game, they should end the season around the No. 10 - No.15 range, which seems right.

Maybe it is unfair that Western Michigan probably won’t crack the top 10 even if they win out. However, that is the current system. There is not much Western Michigan can do, but it’s probably the right move ranking teams, even those with a couple losses, with better wins over Western Michigan. It will be interesting to see if the College Football Committee makes any changes if teams like Western Michigan continue to go undefeated. What do you think? Comment below and give us your thoughts!

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