Let’s be clear: There was no straightforward reply that may’ve made everybody blissful. No apparent alternative for the fourth and closing spot within the College Football Playoff.
The choice committee was put in a no-win scenario, choosing amongst undeserving groups with uneven for the ultimate spot within the four-team playoff. They went with one-loss Alabama, regardless of the Crimson Tide’s paper-thin résumé, regardless of Nick Saban’s conventional powerhouse missing one signature victory, and failing to succeed in its convention championship recreation.
Criticism adopted, due to course it did, and it should. The similar would’ve occurred if two-loss Ohio State was picked regardless of Urban Meyer’s workforce proudly owning top-10 wins over Penn State and Wisconsin. Or USC, which lacked these huge wins and had two losses, was chosen. Or anybody else, for that matter.
But fourth-seeded Alabama, which is able to meet No. 1 Clemson within the semifinals on New Years Day within the Sugar Bowl whereas No. 2 Oklahoma takes on No. three Georgia in Los Angeles, was not the proper alternative of the underwhelming choices offered to the committee. The Crimson Tide’s greatest victory was over No. 17 LSU, a three-loss workforce. They didn’t move the attention take a look at both, definitely not over the past month no less than. Alabama was out-gained by LSU, 306-299, in a 24-10 win on Nov. four, and almost fell to four-loss Mississippi State on Nov. 11. Seventh-ranked Auburn manhandled the Tide within the Iron Bowl on Thanksgiving weekend.
College Football Playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocutt mentioned the 13-person panel believed Alabama was higher than Ohio State, however that was primarily based on what, precisely? Certainly not efficiency over the past month, and the résumé undoubtedly wasn’t higher. Clearly, the Alabama model received out, with all these huge early-season blowouts towards weak groups that made everybody imagine within the Crimson Tide’s dominance however didn’t final as soon as the schedule received more durable.
I might’ve gone with Ohio State for the straightforward reality the committee has talked up vital wins because the begin of the playoff 4 years in the past, as a result of the Buckeyes challenged themselves within the non-conference by scheduling Oklahoma, and received their convention title recreation, edging beforehand Wisconsin on Saturday night time. Through the committee’s made-for-television rankings, groups with fewer losses weren’t rewarded over others with extra spectacular wins. It was why Wisconsin and Miami had been behind one-loss groups all 12 months, bringing into query why that all of a sudden modified on Sunday. How does Alabama, ranked fifth on Tuesday, transfer up with out enjoying a recreation?
The message despatched is poor. After punishing packages for weak non-conference schedules in earlier years — hi there Penn State a 12 months in the past — the committee rewarded Alabama. Basically, it moved the objective posts for Alabama. Yes, Saban did schedule Florida State, a playoff contender earlier than the video games started, however the Seminoles flopped after a season-ending harm to Deondre Francois. The Crimson Tide additionally performed Mercer and Colorado State. How are you able to flip round subsequent 12 months, and punish a workforce for doing the identical? What incentive is there for powerhouse packages to problem themselves in September, when if Ohio State completed 12-1 as an alternative of 11-2 by avoiding Oklahoma, it might have been chosen.
Look, the Buckeyes clearly had main points, with two losses by which they had been severely outplayed. The 31-point highway loss to Iowa was a mark they couldn’t erase. In the committee’s eyes, they weren’t spectacular sufficient in knocking off the Badgers in Indianapolis. They’ve obtained the good thing about the doubt earlier than by the committee, particularly final 12 months, once they had been chosen regardless of failing to succeed in their convention title recreation, and had been blown out by eventual nationwide champion Clemson within the semifinals.
The level, nonetheless, stays: Why play the convention championship video games if groups can attain the playoff with out qualifying for them? I’ve been a proponent of increasing the playoff to eight groups, and this season is an ideal instance for doing so.
If the Football Championship Subdivision can have a 24-team playoff, why can’t the game’s premier division do a 3rd of that?
Central Florida went undefeated, and has no likelihood to play for a nationwide title. USC received its final 5 video games, received the Pac-12 crown, and must accept the Cotton Bowl. Was the SEC actually that significantly better than the Pac-12 and Big Ten to the place it should have two groups within the playoff, and people conferences be unnoticed fully?
If you develop to eight groups, the 5 power-conference champions get computerized bids. It leaves two spots for at-large berths, and the perfect of the smaller conferences will get an computerized invite. It provides the game a possible true Cinderella story, very similar to faculty basketball has each March.
Most of all it avoids a repeat of Sunday, when an undeserving workforce was chosen. It’s time to develop the playoff. Erase the issues that may be simply averted.
QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mayfield dropped the mic on this race, capping a dominant season with 4 landing passes in a 41-17 pasting of TCU within the Big 12 Championship recreation. The senior threw no less than two landing passes in every recreation this season, and completed the season with 37 TDs, 5 interceptions, and a through-the-roof .714 completion proportion.
RB Bryce Love, Stanford
The junior must accept an all-expenses-paid journey to New York City. Love, hobbled over the past month with a foul ankle but shining regardless of it, ended the season with one other productive efficiency, 125 yards on 22 carries and a landing in a 31-28 loss to USC within the Pac-12 title recreation.
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
He amassed 9 much less touchdowns this 12 months and 182 fewer whole yards than his exceptional Heisman marketing campaign, however Jackson’s passing manufacturing truly improved. He threw simply six interceptions after tossing 9 a 12 months in the past, his completion proportion went up, and he carried a worse workforce to eight wins.
RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
His season mirrored that of Penn State, a raging scorching begin, midseason struggles, and a high quality end. It wasn’t almost sufficient to win the Heisman, however the junior nonetheless loved a memorable season, dashing for 1,134 yards and 16 touchdowns, catching 47 passes for 594 yards and three scores, returning two kickoffs to the home, and even throwing for a landing.
RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
The nation’s main rusher with 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns, he doesn’t face the identical competitors because the others on this record within the mid-major Mountain West, however he hammered Pac-12 foes Arizona State and Stanford for a mixed 391 yards and two touchdowns, proving he belongs.