BOZICH | Four is folly, #BrandNameFootball and other football playoff fumbles
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – According to the final Associated Press rankings from the 2014 college basketball season, the University of Louisville was the fifth-ranked team in the nation.
Not good enough – at least not in the world of college football.
In the football world, being fifth leaves you on the sidelines for the important post-season play.
In a football world, Louisville would have been Baylor, the first team left out of the party. In a football world, being fifth means being highly annoyed.
The College Football Playoff Committee picked the four participants for the first playoff on Sunday. The winners are (in order) Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State.
The Buckeyes and Crimson Tide will play in New Orleans. The Ducks and Seminoles meet in Pasadena. Both games are booked for New Year's Day.
Six Takeaways from the Selections:
DITCH THE WEEKLY RATINGS – Transparency created issues for the committee. Since the middle of October, the committee met weekly and released its rankings on Tuesday night. Sounded like a good idea. They were trying to be open and share the mechanics of the process.
Only five days ago TCU was ranked third, followed by Florida, Baylor and Ohio State.
The Horned Frogs beat Iowa State, 55-3, in their final game – and dropped three spots and out of the playoff. Did the Horned Frogs lose credibility because the Iowa State field goal was 26 yards instead of 46 yards? Poor game control? Wrong uniform color scheme?
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, the chairman of the committee, said TCU didn't do anything wrong. (Tell that to people in Fort Worth. I'd advise wearing body armor.) Ohio State did something right – pounding Wisconsin, 59-0, in the Big Ten championship game.
“It was about the full body of work,” Long said.
Except the body of work favored the Horned Frogs for nearly two months. It favored Ohio State for one day.
My advice: Bet against TCU and Baylor in their bowl games. Can't believe their spirits will be into playing those consolation bowl games.
THE FOLLY OF FOUR – Four is better than two, but four is not the answer to a fair playoff. The system needs an upgrade to at least eight teams, a system that would include the champions of the five major conferences.
That would be the first step to fairness. If you win a conference title, you deserve a place in the party.
Six teams were certainly playoff worthy this season. Toss Arizona and your favorite Southeastern Conference runner-up into the party. Add one week to the schedule.
Now you've got something special.
Unless you want to go to 16 teams. That would be even better.
BRAND NAME FOOTBALL – Ohio State has won seven football national titles. TCU claims two. Baylor does not have any.
Ohio State is the signature program of the Big Ten.
Oklahoma and Texas are the signature programs of the Big 12.
The Buckeyes are supposed to pursue national titles and Heisman Trophies. The Horned Frogs and Bears produced LaDainian Tomlinson (TCU) and Robert Griffin (Baylor), but they don't have the national juice of the Buckeyes.
As Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said on Twitter Saturday night, #BrandNameFootball matters. All those TV eyeballs in Big Ten country helped. Had to.
RUN IT UP, UP, UP – After losing its second game of the season to Virginia Tech, Ohio State beat Kent State by 66, Maryland by 28, Rutgers by 39 and Illinois by 41.
Then they punished No. 13 Wisconsin by 59.
The committee noticed.
And conveniently forgot that the Buckeyes lost to Virginia Tech (6-6) in Columbus by two touchdowns.
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME REQUIRED – The Big 12 is the only one of the five power conferences without a championship game. Baylor and TCU tied for the league title, even though the Bears beat the Horned Frogs.
And the Big 12 got left out. If the Big 12 couldn't pick a winner from the league, how could the committee make the call?
When Texas and Oklahoma are not spectacular, the Big 12 needs help to ensure its credibility. A championship game would help.
THEY LIKE IT THIS WAY – Talk radio has enough material for the next millennium. Sports columnists are racing to find fresh angles to keep telling this story. Twitter will explode for hours.
The argument is just beginning.
And on Sunday, a day that is usually wall-to-wall with NFL football, college football stole the headlines.
The people who run college football love the fussing. Expect the viewing numbers from the playoff games to reflect that.
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