College Football Playoff – Just as Crooked as the BCS

College Football Playoff2

College Football Playoff – Just as Crooked as the BCS


The college football playoff committee gave an early Christmas gift to every sports talk radio show in America today – a week’s worth of material and crazed phone calls to fill segment after segment. Up to this point, we had been led to believe the committee was actually acting like the intelligent, thoughtful group of 13 individuals they are. However, objectivity, reason, and sanity went out the window at noon eastern today when the final 4 teams were announced. Money, traditional names, power, greed and TV won out once again. Nothing shocking – we all know how college football works – it was just a little jolting because the committee had seemed to actually make sense up to this point.

These were the rankings (I just have the top 16) released last Tuesday night (just 5 days ago):

  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. TCU
  4. Florida State
  5. Ohio State
  6. Baylor
  7. Arizona
  8. Michigan State
  9. Kansas State
  10. Mississippi State
  11. Georgia Tech
  12. Ole Miss
  13. Wisconsin
  14. Georgia
  15. UCLA
  16. Missouri

Here’s the final top 10 rankings released today:

  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. Florida State
  4. Ohio State
  5. Baylor
  6. TCU
  7. Mississippi State
  8. Michigan State
  9. Ole Miss
  10. Arizona

TCU is out of the top 4 and Ohio State is in.

Here is what transpired over the weekend.

  • #1 Alabama easily handled #16 Missouri 42-13 in the SEC title game and secured their spot
  • #2 Oregon crushed #7 Arizona 51-13 in the Pac-12 championship game
  • #3TCU destroyed a terrible Iowa State team 55-3 in their final Big-12 regular season game
  • #4 Florida State barely beat #11 Georgia Tech 37-35 in the ACC championship game
  • #6 Baylor beat #9 Kansas State 38-27 in their final Big-12 regular season game
  • #5 Ohio State destroyed #13 Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big-10 Championsiop game

Reading between the lines – the  Big 12 was penalized for not playing a championship game and the committee tuned out their “co-champions” – Baylor and TCU. Florida State looked very pedestrian in beating another also-ran from the very week ACC, Georgia Tech.

The big story was Ohio State dismantling Wisconsin. From a local perspective, it was sad to to see a really good guy in Gary Anderson, former Utah DC and Utah State head coach, now head coach at Wisconsin – get embarrassed. His team forgot to get off the bus. What’s worse, it catapulted Ohio State. Ohio State is not 59 points better than Wisconsin. Ohio State was only 2 touchdowns better than a bad Michigan team a week ago. It just doesn’t add up.

So here are the takeways:

  • How does TCU take care of business, and then drop all the way from #3 to #6? This is my biggest problem with the rankings. It shows objectivity went right out the window. How can you be ranked #3, win by 52 points and then get leap frogged by 3 teams, just 5 days later. It doesn’t pass the smell test.
  • You can make an argument that Ohio State has really come on strong toward the end of the year and that they may be one of the 4 or 5 best teams, especially after destroying Wisconsin. I don’t agree with that argument but I can see why people will go there.
    • Here’s why I disagree. If Ohio State is 59 points better than Wisconsin, then the Big-10 is an awful conference this year – even worse than the ACC. It means the Big-10 only has 2 out of 12 teams that are even worth mentioning – Ohio State and Michigan State! Wisconsin beat Nebraska, considered the 4th best team in the conference by having one guy run for over 400 yards in the game and getting Nebraska head coach, Bo Pellini fired at season’e end. So your #3 team, which is 59 points worse than your #1 team beat up on your #4 team so bad they fired the coach of the #4 team – that tells you your conference is pretty bad. So why reward the champion of that inferior conference with a spot in the play-off???
  • How did Florida State’s lackluster win over a highly over-rated Georgia Tech team all of the sudden catapult them over TCU. Again, it doesn’t pass the smell test. 5 days ago, the committee thought TCU was better than Florida State. TCU was #3, FSU was #4. You’re trying to tell me with a straight face that 5 days later with Famous “crab legs” Jameis barely escaping yet again, and TCU taking care of business against a bad team – that that’s proof that all of a sudden Florida State is better than TCU????
  • Finally – 5 days ago the committee thought TCU was 2 spots better than Baylor. Again, TCU went out and thrashed a bad team they were supposed to. Baylor beat a good team in Kansas State by 11 points. However, TCU beat that same Kansas State team earlier in the year by 3 touchdowns. But somehow in that span of 5 days, Baylor jumped TCU. Many argue that Baylor should have always been ahead of TCU since they beat them head-to-head. That is accurate but the real truth of that game was TCU had a 3 touchdown lead late into the 4th quarter and somehow choked it away. They ended up losing 61-58. You almost can’t explain it. Kind of like you can’t explain Wisconsin not even showing up against Ohio State.

College football fans should not be bitter that Ohio State, from a bad conference, got into the play-off and TCU got hosed. We should simply call the committee out for not doing their job correctly. If they had continued the logic they’d seemed to exhibit up until Sunday – the committee would have bumped Ohio State up but bumped Florida State out. TCU should have remained #3. Also, Baylor should not have leap frogged TCU.

But we all know how college football works. It’s slimy, it’s money driven and TV driven. Here’s what I think really went into deciding the top 4 teams:

  • Bama and Oregon are the best teams from the best conferences – no argument there. We hope to see them in the Title game.
  • How in the world did we expect the committee though to leave out a huge brand name in Ohio State. Not gonna happen right? Not to mention, leave out the ever-important northern and midwest part of the country with tons of TV eyeballs. Oregon and 3 schools from the South would not have been as good for TV exposure. It’s not rocket science.
  • It’s also way too easy to dismiss 2 small private Christian schools from Texas. TCU and Baylor aren’t brand names. They weren’t gonna provide additional TV ratings to the playoff. Had the 2 Big-12 schools in question been Texas and Oklahoma, with all their tradition and power – it would have been a whole different story!
  • No way was the committee gonna leave out Florida State. It looked like they were trending that direction when they bumped TCU ahead of them last week. But they just couldn’t bring themselves to do the right thing and bump the Seminoles out for Ohio State. Returning champs, undefeated, ACC has a TV contract with ESPN, etc. The thing is, we know what Florida State is – a watered down version of last year’s team that was still the best team in a terrible conference this year. The fact they are undefeated means nothing. They could play 5 more conference games and even play 7-5 Notre Dame again and guess what – they’d probably eke out a bunch more victories and still be undefeated. Meanwhile, the rest of the top teams are playing monster games week in and week out, maybe not winning every one of them but showing they are better and deeper. FSU could could be 15-0 and I’d still think there are probably 6 or 7 teams better than them. But again, FSU is a name brand. No way were they gonna be left out.
  • ESPN will air all the playoff and “New Year’s 6” bowl games, so therefore ESPN calls the shots, at least behind the scenes. Don’t think that did not play into the final 4. Also, which conferences are most closely aligned with ESPN during the year? SEC, ACC and Big-10.
  • You’re gonna hear a lot as well about how the committee is “teaching a lesson” to the Big-12. Thou shalt play a contrived conference championship game! And why – because it’s all about the $$$$$ it generates. Why did we need to see Alabama play an inferior Missouri in the SEC championship game. We all knew the SEC East sucked this year. However, the SEC created a mega-conference with 14 teams and you’ve gotta have 2 divisions, and therefore a big dollar, made-for-TV championship game. So what if the Big-12 ended up with two teams with similar records – TCU and Baylor. The Big-12 is a far superior conference to the Big-10 and ACC, and they only have 10 teams to boot. Again though, follow the $$$. It won’t be long till the Big-12 changes their format. (BYU fans are praying this means expansion!)

You add it all up and it’s a major slight to TCU. And more importantly, it’s the committee tricking everyone into thinking they were gonna be logical and legitimate, and then in the end caving to pressure, power, money and tradition. So call it the BCS, call it the college football play-off, call it whatever – it’s still a shady, smoke filled, “good ole boy”, back room dealing farce. But we all love it and will keep watching.

Matt Nielson has been writing about the college sports landscape in Utah and the Intermountain West since 2010. When he’s not pretending to be a professional blogger, he works full time as a residential real estate agent and house flipper. Matt graduated from Brigham Young University in 2000. He and his family reside in Salt Lake City, UT.


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