Things I have learned from the CFP Committee

College football made it relatively easy for the College Football Playoff Committee this year. Last weekend’s conference championship games pretty much all went as predicted leaving us with four teams for the playoff –four teams that I can’t exactly form an argument against.

We have the ACC champion, undefeated 13-0 Clemson at No. 1. We have the SEC champion, 12-1 Alabama at No. 2. We have the Big 10 champion, 12-1 Michigan State at No. 3. And lastly, the one without a conference championship, Big 12 champion Oklahoma at No. 4.

As much as I enjoyed not being in distress over the committee’s selections this year, part of me had been wishing for chaos. I needed chaos in order to get insight into how this committee decides which teams get to have their dreams come true.

Last year, we saw the committee shaft two Big 12 schools, the Baylor Bears and the TCU Horned Frogs. Prior to conference championship weekend, TCU was ranked No. 3. Even having played a game that weekend and winning, it wasn’t a conference championship, and the Horned Frogs dropped to No. 6.

I was in complete shock, confusion and slight anger over the committee’s decision to rank Ohio State above the two Big 12 universities. For a blog I started during my college career, I wrote a heated column explaining why the committee made a mistake.

The Buckeyes went on to prove that they may have been the right candidate after beating Alabama to become the National Champions, but I can still argue that if TCU or Baylor had been slotted at No. 4 they could have earned the title as well. It’s a huge “what if” at this point.

What I learned from last year’s selection is that the Big 12 may be hurting itself by not having a conference championship. With the 10-team round robin thing it has going on, TCU and Baylor were co-champions in 2014 and I can’t help but wonder if they had played each other for a second time, if the winner would have been a shoe-in for the playoff.

Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, didn’t let last year’s snubbing force them into making rash decisions. No new teams were added and there was no change in their model. This year, it didn’t seem to be an issue.

The one team we knew for sure would be granted a ticket to the playoff prior to conference championship weekend was Oklahoma. The Sooners got to sit idle while all other potential candidates battled one more time.

I don’t think two years is enough to say there is a trend one way or the other, but I definitely think the next few years will be strong signs in telling the Big 12 what they need to do.

Right now, I will say this, the Sooners are lucky the teams around them that needed to win in order to keep sanity won. There were really no teams that were able to put up a true fight against them. And, with Michigan State’s jump over the Big 12 candidate, No. 4 to No.3, I can’t help but think that the years ahead will lead to change within the conference.

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Plenty of Football Left

Tuesday night the first college football rankings by the College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee were released. I had been anxiously awaiting these rankings for weeks, but as the day got closer and closer I lost interest.

This season has been a weird one. By week 10 in 2014 there were only three undefeated teams left in all of the NCAA, in 2015 we have 11. What are we supposed to do with 11 undefeated teams?

Now I know by the end of the season there is no way there will still be 11. Considering how many of them play each other in an extremely backlogged season, it is absolutely impossible for there to be 11 come December 1. And for that very reason, I knew that these rankings in the end would turn out to be meaningless.

If the CFP was this weekend, the selection committee has Clemson No. 1, LSU No. 2, Ohio State No. 3 and Alabama No. 4 playing for the national title. While I don’t 100 percent disagree with the committee considering how strange of a season it’s been, I can’t help but question one loss Alabama’s spot especially when eight undefeated teams fall lower in the rankings. But the Roll Tide will have a chance to defend the committees choice in placing them fourth and those undefeated teams lower in the rankings will have a chance to work their way up as well.

There is still plenty of football left to be played. Plenty of big games to make sure you are in front of a TV for. And plenty of potential upsets are on the horizon.

First up are No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Alabama. The Roll Tide will look to defend their No. 4 ranking and knock the Tigers out of contention when the two square up Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Second we have Clemson, the ACC’s only chance to enter the ring, but a game against Florida State on Nov. 7 at home could jeopardize that. The remainder of the Tigers’ season is pretty uneventful.

Next we have No. 3 Ohio State. The Buckeyes have the undefeated Michigan State Spartans on Oct. 21 in Columbus and then they close out the season against the Michigan Wolverines at the Big House. If Ohio State remains the only undefeated team in the Big Ten then the defending National Champions definitely deserve a bid. But if they don’t will the Big Ten still have a representative?

If MSU beats the Buckeyes and then goes on to beat No. 9 Iowa in the Big Ten Championship I’d count the Spartans in, but if they’re what some are calling “miracle” wins like they had against Michigan, the Spartans may still find themselves on the outside looking in. Michigan and Iowa have a much harder path to the CFP.

Currently the Big 12 finds itself in the same position they did last year, right on the cusp. Undefeated Baylor ranks in at No. 6, undefeated TCU at No. 8, undefeated Oklahoma State at No. 14 and 7-1 Oklahoma is No. 15. Crazy thing is all of these teams have yet to play each other.

Saturday Nov. 7, TCU visits Oklahoma State. On Nov. 14, Oklahoma travels to Baylor. TCU takes on Oklahoma and Baylor takes on Oklahoma State all in Oklahoma on Nov. 21. And in the final week of the season, the Bears are on the road to the Horned Frogs and the Sooners are at the Cowboys. If one of these teams comes out undefeated, a huge “if,” the Big 12 may finally see themselves in the top four.

I don’t know about you but I am definitely ready for November. Bring on the football!