CFB Sunday: A Chaotic College Football Playoff Explainer
It looks like this is the year we are all going to be subjected to chaos as College Football decides its "Final Four" teams.
There is no clear cut "Dominant" team and all in the Top 10 have some warts.
But somebody is going to have to go and for once--I don't envy those having to make that totally subjective decision.
Here's what we do know will happen:
The winner of the ACC Championship Game between Clemson and Miami is in. No questions asked. Both teams have been in the Top 10 through the homestretch of the season. Both have some serious flaws. But they are popular teams who play in the ACC. One of them is in.
The winner of the SEC Championship game is in. Auburn or Georgia. No questions asked. Auburn has beaten two teams ranked #1 in the past 3 weeks. There is not a hotter team in College Football as I type this. Georgia has dominated every team they've played...except for 1. Auburn. One of these two is in.
Then it gets murky with a lot of things potentially happening on Championship Saturday this coming week.
Oklahoma is in if they beat Texas Christian in the Big 12 Title game. Again, I don't think there is any question about that. The Sooners are spotty--at best--on defense but man can they score. The Sooners beat TCU pretty handily a couple weeks ago. Can they do it again?
But.....if TCU wins...we've got problems (I'll get to that in a minute)....
Wisconsin is in the Big 10 title game with a 12-0 record. They play a dangerous, conspiracy theory laden Ohio State team loaded with injuries after a physical win at Michigan. Win and the Badgers are in. No questions asked. It makes all of this simple.
However---this is College Football and things rarely go according to script....
Yes, that's right. This will not go according to script.
Let's start with the 1st variable. IF....if TCU beats Oklahoma. If the Horned Frogs win---they still have two losses and likely will not be in the playoff. Yes, you could make an argument for them. They won't get in.
If TCU wins and Wisconsin wins--we come to the first dilemma. Who is team #4?? Is it the loser of the ACC title game? Or the SEC title game?? Nick Saban says it should be his Crimson Tide. And because of who they are, it might be.
But it shouldn't.
Alabama beat nobody this year. Yeah, sure they are a "Traditional" powerhouse and a popular choice among those who casually watch the game. But they were clearly exposed vs. Auburn and their "Signature win"....was over LSU, a team that won't crack the Top 15. Oh, did we mention it would mean promoting them OVER the SEC runner up if Georgia or Auburn loses?? No, this should NOT happen.
The Big 10 runner up. No. Ohio State is arguably the most schizophrenic team in the country. When good, they are very good, when they aren't, there's the Iowa game---that they lost by 43 points. Plus, they should be penalized for Urban Meyer's idiotic rant about a photographer conspiracy to injure QB J.T. Barrett....
And lest we forget the Sooners. Do they make it with 2 losses? They have an argument. The loss to Ohio "M" State was very early in the season. If they lose the "title" game it would be Karma for the Big 12 if they didn't. But it would be difficult to argue against them.
Then there's the Big 10 title game. If....big IF....Ohio "M" State beats Wisconsin and everyone else holds serve---the same rules apply. Ohio "M" State deserves to get hosed for the 43 point loss to Iowa. It's a bad, bad loss that the other teams on our list do not have on their resume.
What happens if both Oklahoma AND Wisconsin lose? The Badgers resume is as shaky as Alabama's. The smoked a decent but not great Michigan team. They beat a decent Northwestern team. But that's it. There's nothing else on the resume that says "Title" team outside running the table. If they don't win the title---they have no chance as a 1 loss team.
If this scenario happens---here's what SHOULD happen (but likely won't). Assuming only 2 of the favorites hold serve, the Big 12 and SEC...or ACC loser should get in. The loser of either the SEC or the ACC game clearly has a better resume than Alabama--who couldn't even win their division...or the loser of the Big 10 title game.
If you're asking about the Pac 12, well, in MY opinion---they don't deserve a title shot. Arguably the best two teams are a 3-loss Stanford and a 2-loss USC. Neither of them have done anything to scream "Title Contender".....just look at what they have--or haven't done. Stanford lost 3 times and USC lost to Notre Dame and Washington State. The Trojans also barely escaped Western Michigan, Utah and UCLA....
To sum this up--there is no easy answer. There are NO clear cut lists of the 4 best teams. This is College Football and at the end of the day---it will be a popularity contest. While there are likely two unquestioned teams who will be in---the other two, they'll be chosen mostly on the basis of who will be the best TV draw.
Because folks---at the end of the day, it's the only thing the College Football overlords really care about.