Minnesota is one of just five undefeated teams in the FBS, but they're slotted 8th in the newest College Football Playoff rankings, which ultimately decide the four teams that reach the national championship playoffs while the rest of the nation's elite play in other prestigious, yet lesser, bowl games.
Count former Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant among those who think Minnesota got a raw deal when they were ranked 8th in this week's rankings. Despite a record leap of nine spots into the top 10, Bryant says "politics" are keeping the Gophers behind one-loss teams they deserve to be ahead of.
One-loss teams ranked ahead of Minnesota include Georgia, Alabama, Oregon and Utah.
- LSU (9-0)
- Ohio State (9-0)
- Clemson (10-0)
- Georgia (8-1)
- Alabama (8-1)
- Oregon (8-1)
- Utah (8-1)
- Minnesota (9-0)
- Penn State (8-1)
- Oklahoma (8-1)
Bryant went on to tweet that Baylor, also undefeated and ranked No. 13, deserves to be ranked higher. He also admitted that he wouldn't pick Minnesota over Alabama if they played, but that's not his point.
His point is that the Gophers are getting punished because they're not among college football's typical elites the way Alabama and Oregon are. Why Utah is ahead of Minnesota is a complete mystery.
Here's a perfect breakdown of why Bryant's claim about Minnesota getting rocked by politics makes sense, as told by Dustin Schutte of Saturday Tradition.
"Alabama, Oregon and Utah have three things in common:
- All were ranked in the Top 15 in the preseason rankings
- All have exactly zero wins over teams currently ranked
- All are currently 8-1
"Minnesota is 9-0, with a win over a top 10 team. This might be shocking to you, but the Gophers didn’t start the season ranked in the Associated Press Poll. They’ve been behind the 8-ball from the start."
So what happens in next Tuesday's rankings if Minnesota beats No. 20 Iowa on the road and Oregon and Utah win home games? Oregon faces a 4-5 Arizona team while Utah plays UCLA (4-5). Both are likely going to improve to 9-1, respectively, so do they get to stay put even if Minnesota gets to 10-0 with another top-25 victory?
By the way, Minnesota is not favored to win in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes have a 60 percent chance to upset the Gophers, according to ESPN's Football Power Index.
At this point, it's clear that the Gophers have to prove even more to jump up further, and once again they're considered an underdog as ESPN's Football Power Index gives Iowa a 60 percent chance to beat Minnesota.
The Gophers are also 3-point underdogs in Vegas sports books.