We now know the four teams that will play for the College Football Playoff national title. So what did we learn from the results of the selection committee that were announced on Sunday?
1. You can play whomever you want with no fear of retribution from the committee. Alabama played Mercer, yes, Mercer, in their tune up for the Iron Bowl, and still lost to Auburn, and still got in the playoff. Other Power 5 schools are probably taking note of that scheduling, and overwhelming the Mercer AD with emails inquiring about playing the Bears. Credit Ohio State with it’s future schedules, put in place to avoid having “strength of schedule” used against it. TCU, Texas, and Notre Dame are all games in the coming years for the Buckeyes. But I ask, if playing MERCER did not hurt ‘Bama, why should Ohio State beat itself up?
2 – Conference championship games mean squat. That was proven last year when Penn State did not get in, and reinforced this year with Ohio State’s exclusion. Those games are a plain and simple money grab by the Power 5 conferences. And remember, Ohio State did not keep Penn State out last year, Washington did. The Buckeyes were in regardless in 2016. And if the goal is to take the “four best” teams…then why did the 2015 Ohio State team not get in? Clearly, they were among the four best in the country that year.
3 – Non Power 5 schools can forget getting in. UCF is 12-0 (the ONLY unbeaten), and they could not even get a sniff of the top 4. They finished behind Wisconsin in the rankings. If you saw the Badgers lose to Ohio State, you know they are not the 5th best team in the country. The only thing that kept the Big Ten title game close was Ohio State’s inability to keep their foot on the gas pedal.
4 – The committee simply could not stomach a 2-loss team getting in, and one that had a 31 point butt kicking on it’s resume. Chair Kirby Hocutt said as much, the Iowa loss stood out on the Buckeyes face like a zit ready to burst. Lose once, ok, lose twice (and get thumped), no way.
5 – I’m guessing that the TV ratings will slide a bit for the playoffs. Tell me which of the four in the national semi’s have the national draw that Ohio State does? Go ahead, I’m waiting. Love them or hate them, the Buckeyes draw interest….The Ohio State-USC Cotton Bowl game will equal (and may surpass) the tradition, national interest, and overall talent on the field in the two national semi’s.
I spent the weekend covering the OHSAA state football finals at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Wow, did Stark County do it up right. The stadium is spectacular, the people in Canton were great, add the Hall of Fame to the mix, and I don’t see any reason to ever move the games elsewhere. Well done, Canton!