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The College Football Playoff made its first mistake today... and it's a major one

Let me tell you how this is going to work. There's some coaching staff and fan base that's going to be boiled over with a righteous fury come late November and early December, they just don't know it yet.

Now let me tell you why.

From the site of its planning meetings in Dallas, the College Football Playoff announced Wednesday its selection committee would meet every Monday and Tuesday for the final seven weeks of the season to evaluate the Playoff landscape. This much is good. It also announced that it would release a weekly Top 25 ranking, which committee chairman (and Arkansas athletics director) Jeff Long will then explain on ESPN every Tuesday evening. This is not a good idea.

At all. 

The committee has two jobs: to select what it deems the top four teams for the Playoff, and to place the rest of a deserving field into the six New Year's Six bowl games. That's it. The due date on those decisions is Sunday, December 7. 

Wednesday's announcement that the committee will release a Top 25 beginning in late December veers swiftly off that track.

Releasing a ranking in late October then ties you to that line of thinking for the rest of the season until that team loses. "It's going to happen," Long said of a team dropping from a hyperbolic No. 4 ranking after a win. He can say that in April, but it's much different to actually do that in November or December - especially when you agree to explain your week-to-week rankings on national television in a made-for-ratings event every Tuesday night.

Hopefully, Long's statement remains true. But decades of evidence from both the AP and Coaches' polls says that it won't.

This needlessly complicates a system that's already complicated enough. How do you separate what criteria really matters from what doesn't? Is total yardage a stat that belies any meaningful truth about a team, or is it a filler stat only valued by those that can't or won't delve deeper into the game? The committee doesn't know, and it won't until it enters that room for the first time.

Why call a race that's only halfway finished? Why ask the public to evaluate a painting when half the canvas is still blank? 

Dan Wolken had a great series of tweets that fully explains the committee's faulty logic:

How specific will Long's weekly defense of the committee's rankings be? If No. 4 Michigan State faces No. 22 Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game in the same weekend that No. 5 Stanford meets No. 7 UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship, he will absolutely be asked to forecast that weekend's events. What then? 

What in the world does that even mean? 

I originally hoped the committee would refrain from any public rankings until Selection Sunday because that would be the most dramatic scenario on the table, and I like drama. Now I think he committee should have done that as a means of protection from itself.