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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Really CFP Committee? Ohio State?

When the CFP committee announced the teams for the first college football playoffs ever my initial reaction was shock, which was quickly taken over by confusion and anger. I completely agree with Alabama and Oregon ranked first and second. And while I do believe that Florida State may not be the strongest team and there are many arguments that go against them being in that top four, the only fact that matters is that they are still the only undefeated team. Where my confusion and anger comes in is with the number four spot and how it was given to Ohio State.

Now I know some people could say that my anger with this decision comes from the fact that I am a Michigan State Spartan and we lost to them this season, but as a fan and supporter of the Big 10 conference, this is the best thing that could have happened for us. Regardless of those feelings though, my anger about the committee’s decision comes from the fact that TCU and Baylor were shafted. I believe that TCU and Baylor are both better teams than Ohio State and in all reality, are probably better than Florida State, despite their undefeated record.

In the last 24 hours the reasons I have been hearing for reasoning as to why TCU and Baylor weren’t chosen are that they need to add two more teams to their conference and that they need a conference championship. A Big 12 conference championship would have been played between TCU and Baylor, their second meeting of the season, and would have solidified an overall winner and probably would have helped their position with the committee, but they both still played games this weekend.

So point against TCU, they played non-ranked Iowa State, but Baylor played 11th ranked Kansas State, Ohio State played 17th ranked Wisconsin. Now yes, Ohio State vs. Wisconsin was a conference championship, but Baylor’s game was tougher. This past weekend isn’t the only game that Baylor had that was tougher though; their whole schedule was harder. TCU and Baylor had a tougher schedule than Ohio State, whose only big opponent was Michigan State, who is still ranked 7th. TCU’s only loss was to Baylor and Baylor’s only loss was to West Virginia. Ohio State’s loss was to unranked Virginia Tech.

Prior to Ohio State’s win this weekend, the only legitimate thing they had going for them for playoff contention was their win against Michigan State. Michigan State’s losses this season were to 2nd ranked Oregon and now fourth ranked Ohio State, but everyone has pretty much agreed Michigan State did not look strong that day and the Spartans still hold much respect.

Currently the number one reason behind the committee’s decision to make Ohio State number 4 is the fact that they have had to overcome two season ending injuries to quarterbacks. The Buckeyes lost their starter Braxton Miller before the season started and back up J.T. Barrett led them to the Big 10 championship and their win over Michigan State. But J.T. Barrett got hurt in their final game of the season against the Michigan Wolverines, a season ending broken ankle, which made the Buckeyes rely on third stringer Cardale Jones.

I must give my props to Cardale Jones and the rest of the Buckeye team for they have been proving all season that their team is not just a top notch quarterback, but great players all around. It is this fact that I feel made the committee pick Ohio State for that fourth spot. The Buckeyes have had to overcome to injuries that for most teams would have been season changing and they overcame them with flying colors.

Despite Ohio State’s successes this season, myself as well as many other college football fans around the country remain unhappy with the committee’s decision. People can continue to point out the adversity faced by Ohio State and their win against the Spartans, but TCU and Baylor continue to be the stronger candidates in my mind. With tougher schedules, better performance and I’ll say it overall eye test, the Horned Frogs or the Bears should be playing against Saban and the Crimson Tide on January 1st.