The moment we’ve all been waiting for has come, the College Football Playoff matchups for the 2017 season are out and have been met to a lot of controversy. TWO Power Five conferences left out, no undefeateds, and no two-loss teams like many thought. Let’s try to make a much sense as we can, shall we?
Bama In, Ohio State Out
Starting with the biggest part of the final rankings: At-Large Alabama draws the #4 spot in the College Football over Big Ten Champ Ohio State. The Tide is now the second team to make the CFP without having won their conference as OSU made it last year in the stead of 2016 Big Ten Champion Penn State. Ironically, because of the 2016 Buckeyes having been the first at-large team in, it left a door for the committee to use this year with a team they clearly loved all season in Alabama. Was it right? Maybe. I have thought that Bama has been more impressive than OSU so I guess the result of my “eye test” is to pick Bama. However, you cannot discount a team winning their conference title. Many said that about a Penn State that beat the one-loss Ohio State team that took their place in the CFP despite PSU winning the Big Ten. Those same people will say that about Ohio State this year and it opens up a conference vs. conference free for all.
The reason I was so quick to say the Pac 12 was “done” was because of the cannibalistic effect the conference was clearly touting and I’m thinking that’s why Matty D and I didn’t discuss OSU as part of our talk on the podcast this week–the Big Ten East just produced two good teams in OSU and PSU and a team that could shake things up in Michigan State. Ironically, it ended up being a team in the “crappy” Big Ten West, Iowa, that is why OSU is left out. If the Buckeyes make it a closer game, the debate between them and Bama becomes a lot more intriguing; and if they win, they’re certainly a lock at 12-1. On the flip side, those who criticize the Tide for their lack of quality wins have an argument, but like Wisconsin, you can’t punish a team for beating those on their schedule (with the exception of Mercer but I’ve already expressed my hatred for these cupcake games in your schedule). It’s not Alabama’s fault that Florida State fell apart and you certainly can’t say LSU losing to Troy hurts Alabama. LSU beat Auburn when Alabama failed to do so!
Without really going down the rabbit hole of “what-ifs,” I’ll sum up my thought on the committee’s choice: good choice for now, bad choice for long-term. I say that because it continues this trend of not rewarding champs and picking these traditional powerhouses. The committee continues to be erratic in their rankings/choices–likely a product of their claim to start with a blank slate each week when they come up with their newest rankings. At the end of the day, the committee was just afraid to put in a two-loss team, regardless of their “Conference Champion” status.
The Rest of the Field
The top three of Clemson, Oklahoma, and Georgia, seemed to be obvious after each of their wins yesterday and the rankings aren’t that surprising. Clemson wasn’t going to yielding the #1 seed and it makes that Oklahoma gets the #2 seed given they were already “in” coming into the weekend. Clemson and Alabama will play in the Sugar Bowl from the Superdome in New Orleans while Oklahoma and UGA will play in the Rose Bowl–both games on New Years Day.
The rest of the “New Years Six Bowls,” also chosen by the Playoff Committee, are as such:
- #5 Ohio State vs. #8 USC in the Cotton Bowl–8:30 on December 29th
- #9 Penn State vs. #11 Washington in the Fiesta Bowl–4:00 on December 30th
- #6 Wisconsin vs. #10 Miami in the Orange Bowl–8:00 on December 30th
- #7 Auburn vs. #12 #UCF in the Peach Bowl–12:30 on New Years Day
The Big Ten coming in with three teams while the Pac 12 gets two and the ACC & SEC each bringing in one along with the undefeated AAC Champ UCF. UCF is the last undefeated team in the nation and will likely get run over by Kerryon Johnson and the Auburn Tigers. The turnover chain of Miami will have their hands full against Jonathan Taylor and the Wisconsin Badger in what’s basically a home game for The U. Penn State and Saquon Barkley should be on full display against Washington but the Nittany Lions will have to watch out for the Huskie’s air raid. The marquee matchup has to be Ohio State against USC as the Trojans will look to prove themselves against a solid Buckeye squad.
What’s interesting here is that the Big XII didn’t send in a second team to these New Year’s Six games whereas the Big Ten and Pac 12 have multiple teams playing. It begs the question: what would have happened if Oklahoma lost to TCU yesterday? Ohio State would have definitely made it in, right? And probably as the #3 seed, to avoid two SEC teams playing in the semifinals. Then again, Oklahoma beat OSU so a TCU Big XII Championship probably would have caused more controversy than today’s matchups.
Like I said, good choice for this season, but dangerous for going forward. But we’ll leave that for “Future CFP Committee” to deal with.Follow @geordo9