American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said the 13-member College Football Playoff selection committee has ranked the teams in his conference using a "double standard," not just when measured against the Power 5 conferences but also the other Group of 5 leagues.
"Each time I've watched the release of the rankings, I've seen an unfortunate predictability, and why wouldn't I be upset?" Aresco said Wednesday. "I'm not criticizing the committee personally, I've never done that, but what I'm doing is I'm trying to take the committee to task on their methodology and their conclusions. I want to point out the facts. My feeling is this conference has been undervalued and disrespected since the CFP began."
While the lower portion of the committee's top 25 doesn't typically garner much attention, it's vital to the Group of 5 conferences because the highest-ranked champion is guaranteed a lucrative spot in a New Year's Six Bowl. This year, that team will earn a trip to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
Aresco took particular exception to No. 25 SMU's ranking behind No. 24 Appalachian State this week. He also disagreed with the Mustangs sitting behind No. 20 Boise State and two four-loss Power 5 teams, No. 22 Iowa State and No. 23 USC.
"We've been fighting what I think is a P5 preference," Aresco said. "We've been fighting it for years and we're fighting now a double standard when it comes to evaluating G5 teams."
When asked for a comment in response, CFP executive director Bill Hancock said, "Certainly, I feel that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion."
Aresco had multiple facts at his fingertips in a call with ESPN on Wednesday to help illustrate the strength of the AAC, which is 14-1 this year against the other Group of 5 conferences (4-0 against the Sun Belt, 3-0 against the Mountain West, 6-0 vs. C-USA and 1-1 vs. MAC). The only loss was Temple's loss to Buffalo.
Aresco also said the AAC has 44 wins against Power 5 opponents since 2014, five top-10 wins during that span, and three New Year's Day bowl wins over top-10 teams. He was particularly frustrated SMU wasn't ranked ahead of Appalachian State, considering the Mustangs' lone loss was to a ranked Memphis team.
"Appalachian State loses to Georgia Southern at home," he said. "SMU plays in a much tougher conference. It's not even close."
He also wondered why Boise State, whose only loss was Oct. 19 at BYU, moved up in the ranking and SMU moved down.
"SMU beat TCU on the road and didn't need three overtimes to do it," Aresco quipped.
Aresco is already prepping for the fact that Memphis and Cincinnati will finish with multiple losses because of the regular-season matchup.
"A two-loss champion from our league ... they should be a lock," Aresco said. "If the CFP standard is to identify and rank the best teams -- and it is -- there's no question in my mind that our champion, whoever it turns out to be, will be the best team in the G5 and better than many P5 teams that are ranked ahead of them."