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CFP Chairman calls Michigan ‘more complete team’ compared to Michigan State

A head-to-head loss didn’t impact the committee’s decision to put Michigan ahead of the Spartans.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan may have lost to Michigan State two weeks ago, but the College Football Playoff Committee hasn’t penalized them much for that 37-33 defeat in East Lansing. In the latest CFP Top 25, Michigan moved ahead of Michigan State to No. 6 in the rankings, while the Spartans are now at No. 7.

College Football Playoff Chairman Gary Barta said that there were heated debates last week in regards to who’s the better of the two, and those debates continued this week — a week in which Michigan beat Indiana 29-7, and Michigan State lost at Purdue 40-29 and gave up 536 yards through the air.

When looking at where each team ranked in multiple statistical categories, Michigan came out on top.

“A week ago it was discussed that Michigan might be the more complete team — offensively, defensively, every statistic, Michigan’s ahead of Michigan State. But, the committee certainly gave Michigan the nod,” Barta told ESPN’s Rece Davis.

Barta said this pairing took a long while to sort out, well over a half hour, but it boiled down to the committee collectively feeling was a better team.

“They (Michigan State) were undefeated, they beat Michigan head-to-head — what’s different a week later? Michigan won, Michigan State lost, the discussion in the room went back and forth, very similar to what you’re doing now,” Barta said. “But at the end of the day we felt as a committee that Michigan was a better team, and to be ranked ahead of Michigan State this week. Stay tuned, we get to watch again next week.”

In a conference call shortly after Barta’s appearance with Rece Davis, he doubled down on Michigan being a better team all around.

“Michigan just looks to have a more complete team on both sides of the ball, still giving credit for Michigan State for winning head-to-head, but Michigan won this past week, Michigan State lost, and so for this week, the committee put Michigan at 6, Michigan State at 7,” Barta said. “And I’m guessing that debate will continue depending on how both those teams do going forward.”

We’ll see where the two programs rank following Saturday’s matchups, when Michigan takes on Penn State, and Michigan State plays Maryland. Coming in above Michigan and Michigan State are No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 5 Cincinnati.