Anion Sports Holiday Blog 2018 Day 2
Did anyone watch the entire College Football Selection show? No? Okay just checking that scheduling a television program for four hours was not the move. Twitter was so much better with the hot takes.
Let's start from the jump though. The committee's final rankings were released today and per usual, there were good teams that were left out. This deep into the first playoff system in college football history, I'm still surprised that we as a sports nation are in uproar every time a league of approximately 130 teams can't pick four teams for a playoff without snubbing someone. Nonetheless, let's look at the top of the list, courtesy of ESPN.
The committee honestly had the easiest time ever with the first three teams this year. I'm not going to get into the UCF debates for the sake of time, but I'm okay with them being the only undefeated team not in the playoff in the wake of McKenzie Milton's injury.
The top three of Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame was not a shock at all. Bama is the most dominate team over the course of 13 games, I've seen in my college football viewing life. Clemson, in the midst of what would be a uniquely special dynastic run if not for Alabama, finished another regular season undefeated. Quality of the ACC be damned. Notre Dame put together a pretty impressive resumé of a season en route to its first undefeated regular season since 2012.
The "drama" started with who would be the final team to complete the playoff. Oklahoma, equipped with a probable Heisman Trophy finalist, finished off their regular season by avenging their only loss of the year to hated rival, Texas. Georgia was fresh off of a loss yesterday to that aforementioned Alabama team to bring their record to 11-2. Ohio State finished the regular season with 12 wins to one loss that came in ugly fashion to 6-6 Purdue.
Oklahoma received the final bid.
I think the committee got it right. I did not want to see Ohio State get the final bid. Out of the combined four losses between the 4-6 ranked teams, OSU arguably had the worst loss. Losing by 29 to Purdue meant that if it came down to a tiebreaker scenario, that would probably be the deciding factor.
Georgia lost to Alabama last night in a close game that they could have won. The real damning loss on their record is when they were defeated by LSU 36-16. I think the committee sympathizes with them for losing to this Alabama team, but they can't overcome that L suffered in Death Valley on October 13th.
Oklahoma's only loss came to Texas in the Red River Rivalry and they were defeated by a field goal. Unlike the other teams in the hunt, Oklahoma had a chance to prove they were able to beat the team they lost to at the end of the year. The Sooners defeated Texas to win the Big 12 Championship (that was instituted to help get their conference in the playoffs).
The gap between these teams is extremely narrow in the eyes of the committee. They even said so. Screenshot courtesy of The Athletic.
The protocol was supposed to ensure that conference champions held the tiebreaker over non-champs. So by the committees own admission, they had to pick the Sooners. My gripe isn't with that, it's the attention to the details. If the championship was a true determining factor, then why is Georgia at #5? Over Big Ten champion Ohio State? I know it technically doesn't matter in the sake of things, but basically it's saying that Georgia's loss JUST YESTERDAY was more like half of a loss. To only move down one spot seems too light. And I've seen a small few arguing Georgia should still be in. Consistency is all I ask for out of the committee.
Arguing Georgia should get in because they are "one of the four best teams" is maybe the most problematic thing I've seen since the beginning of this yearly spectacle. The committee has said that two loss teams would be tough to make it in and they mostly held true to form.
I think the remedy to a lot of the confusion is to just let the Power Five conferences act as divisions. Expand the playoff to eight teams and have the conference champions serve as automatic qualifiers like they do in basketball. Take the guess work out of the selection committees hands when trying to decide if they should allow this or that team in.
Each conference would be represented so no one could complain about that. But above all else, you would have three at-large bids with which to reward teams like Georgia or even a UCF 👀 . Who is ready to shake up the system like that though? I am at this point.