Ohio St. or Alabama? The College Football Playoff's Flaw is About to be Exposed
By the time you read this---we may already know the answer to the question: Who's the 4th team in the College Football Playoff?
We know who the other three teams will be: Clemson, Georgia and Oklahoma---but after Ohio State wore down previously undefeated Wisconsin in the Big 10 title game, we now have questions.
How do you decide the 4th team? And when you pick that team--you are really---really going to piss off the others fan base.
Oh, did we mention the other team lobbying for a choice? That would be Alabama.
Before I explain why this exposes the flaw in the system--here are the cases for and against the Buckeyes and The Crimson Tide.
Alabama: The Fighting Saban's did not win the SEC Championship. They weren't even in the title game. Sure, they ran the table during the regular season, but the schedule was soft. Very soft.
The Tide's biggest wins were vs. a decent LSU and 4-loss Mississippi State. They won--not convincingly, but they won both games. The only loss was to a very good Auburn team--in Auburn in the last game of the regular season.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes lost twice. Once to Oklahoma in week 2 in Columbus and it wasn't very close. The bigger wart. The loss to 6-6 Iowa (55-24). And yes, it's a big one. But, the Buckeyes won the Big 10 title over Wisconsin and have a win over Top 10 Penn State.
So whom do you pick? There's a lot of chatter that a 2-loss team shouldn't be in the playoff. But....how do you leave out a Power 5 Conference Champ with a decent but not stellar resume??
On the flip side--how do you leave out a one loss Alabama. Alabama??
Nick Saban--he's already started lobbying for the 4th spot. He started lobbying after the Auburn loss. He continued on Saturday.
ESPN played Saban's lobbying effort to Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer....yup, they did....
This all is great. But it brings up, yet again--the issue with only 4 teams getting picked from the "Power 5"....Inevitably the odds are someone or several someone's are going to get left out.
College Football has for years argued against a full-on playoff system. The "College Football Playoff" with 4 teams was their caving in to the immense pressure and even bigger flaws with the "Bowl Championship System" or BCS.
They still don't have it right. I would say here I don't understand why they can't expand the playoff to 6 or 8 teams...except I know the answer to the question.
The legacy Bowl System.
Back in the days before many of you were following College Football (or in some cases were alive) the Bowl system existed. There was no "Championship" game. There was a "Pecking" order to the bowl games and the bigger name games featured teams ranked higher than the others.
New Years Day was once a huge slate of games starting at 11am on multiple TV channels and lasting all day and night. The teams were "Ranked" by one of two and eventually three totally random polls, the AP, the UPI and the Coaches Poll. All were flawed and often based on who was easiest to watch on TV or had a bigger national reputation.
The reputation thing still carries on today--mostly with the idiotic and useless "Pre-Season" polling which is essentially a popularity contest. Yet it still has bearing on who will or will not be involved in the chase for a National Title.
The Bowls existed primarily as a profit center for the people/organizations putting them on. They still do. The non-Playoff bowls still exist and charge teams to buy tickets for their fans who want to come to the game. The most glaring example was several years ago when the University of Connecticut found their way to the "Fiesta Bowl". The Huskies lost several million dollars by being chosen for the game. Their fans couldn't afford to travel and they took everyone associated with the Athletic Program to Arizona for the game because it was a huge "Honor". They had to buy nearly half the game tickets and hope they could make the money back on ticket sales.
These days the "Playoff" exists largely to line the coffers of ESPN who essentially owns the rights. (They also own TV rights to all but I think 2 Bowl Games). And they want the best TV draws to play. Which usually means some combination of ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC and occasionally Pac 12 teams in the "Last 4".
But Conference Championship weekend---another way for the Conferences and ESPN to make money often throws a monkey wrench in the plan. And in a season like 2017--there really is not a "Dominant Team"---a clear cut winner.
Which is why no matter who gets chose today (Sunday) to be in the College Football Playoff---the "Committee" who picks the 4 teams loses. Either Alabama or Ohio State is going to be pissed off and have a legitimate reason to be pissed off. This also leave out Pac 12 Champ USC (also 11-2) due to the fact they struggled---though won in a very weak Pac 12.
I think the committee is going to pick Alabama to be the 4th team in the playoff. I think they will justify it by the Tide losing only to Auburn. I think they will hold Ohio State's crushing loss to Iowa against them (and they should).
I don't agree with this decision because to me