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CFP Makes 2019 Season Debut

For the first time this football season, there is one, definitive ranking system.

Throughout the college football season, there are two national polls that rank the top 25 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the top division of college football. The Associated Press rankings are compiled each week from a panel of media reporters, while the Amway Coaches poll is compiled from a panel of FBS coaches.

But in the current system, there is one poll that takes precedence over those two polls: the College Football Playoff poll. This is the poll that will determine which four teams will participate in the College Football Playoff, to decide the national champion, as well as the other four ‘New Years Six’ bowls, the next tier of bowls that offer the next highest payout to the teams involved.

On Tuesday night, the CFP released its first poll of the 2019 season. Ohio State holds the top spot, while LSU is second, Alabama is third and Penn State were fourth. If the season ended today, those would be the teams in the playoff. Of course, the season has five more weeks, which includes the championship games of each FBS conference, before the bowl participants are set.

The CFP rankings release isn’t without some controversy. Arguably chief among the complaints, Clemson is ranked No. 5. The Tigers began the season ranked No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches’ polls, but have slid each of the past four weeks, despite remaining undefeated.

Social Studio was used to take the pulse of the feedback of the CFP poll. A keyword search of ‘college football playoff,’ ‘cfp,’ and ‘@cfbplayoff’ (the CFP Twitter account), yielded 75,000 total posts. And perhaps surprisingly, 68.1 percent of those posts registered a positive sentiment.

A word cloud that indeed, Clemson is one of the topics generating the most buzz on social media. The other top teams, like LSU and Alabama, have also gotten plenty of usage.

Many of the influencers shouldn’t come as a surprise, as ESPN, ESPN Stats and Info, and The New York Times all had the highest score, of 98 (out of 100).

But while the overall sentiment might be positive, there have been numerous critics who have pointed out what they see as discrepancies. Notably, that Clemson is currently out of the playoff, at No. 5.

On Wednesday, coach Dabo Swinney was asked to comment on the ranking. He had a cool, calm response:

There were a few tweets, however, that had comments of reason. This one a pretty telling statistic:

We’ll continue to monitor the pulse of social media towards the college football playoff as we move closer to the end of the football season, from our perch atop UT’s College of Communication & Information Building