Football’s Final Four: Fitting or Flawed?

christmas footballAs children, we’d wake up every Christmas morning to find out what bright-colored boxes waited for us under that fancily decorated pine tree.  We’d be lucky if we’d gotten an hour of sleep the night before, like an insomniac at his worst.

Finally, morning would arrive.  We’d un-wrap the largest present first, or maybe save it for last, holiday paper strewn across the living room floor.  We’d look at our parents all bright-eyed, hugging them and thanking them for the gifts for which we had behaved so well.  Now imagine Urban Meyer in his Columbus home the afternoon of December 8th, grinning ear to ear.

We’d play with those brand new toys, for hours on end… until we grew tired of them.  The novelty had worn off.  We needed something new.  Now picture TCU and Baylor, their Christmas wishes not kept.

A sleepless Christmas Eve came three weeks early this year as coaches, students and alumni from Columbus to Waco to Fort Worth and yes, even Tallahassee, all stayed awake wondering if the biggest present of all would be waiting under their tree:  an invitation to college football’s first Final Four.

Sabans tide

A valid case could be made for all three schools with Alabama and Oregon likely already having punched their golden ticket.  But what fate would await these other programs?  What would the newest appointees of the College Football Playoff hold in store?

Prior to college football’s final weekend, the playoff rankings listed Alabama as the top team in the nation, followed by Oregon, TCU, FSU, Ohio State and Baylor.  When all six of those teams won their final games of the season, most of them impressively, the Saturday night rumblings became overwhelming.  Who would make it in?  Who would be left out?  What criteria would the Committee value over others?  TCU had clinched a share of the Big 12 Title but they had lost earlier in the season to Baylor.  Baylor’s only loss came to West Virginia who lost five games this season.  Ohio State dominated the Big Ten but struggled reputation-wise to recover from an embarrassing early loss to Virginia Tech.

JimboThere was even chatter about leaving undefeated Florida State out of the mix, if only because their wins just weren’t all that impressive.  Nonsense!

Had we stayed with that silly old BCS, either Alabama or more likely Oregon would have been left out of the mix, with Florida State’s undefeatedness taking precedence over those other two schools.  Oregon would then go on to play in some meaningless bowl game against TCU, Baylor or Ohio State.  Sure, it would be entertaining but in the grand scheme of things, it would be a game that nobody remembered.

At least now, we have that four team playoff but the question once again remains, did Baylor and TCU get jobbed or was Ohio State worthy of that final spot?  Did the powers that be get it right?

That’s the greatest thing about college football that will never disappear.  It is a sport that generates conversation, it is the most passion-driven sport in the country and by its very nature it is perfect in its imperfection.

Either way, the Buckeyes are in and the Big 12 is shut out.  When all was said and done, conference championships ruled.  There’s wrapping paper all over Columbus meanwhile the two 11-1 teams who shared their conference title were left present-less.

Urban celebrates

So, did the system work?  One would have to think yes, this year more so than in the past.  I do find it peculiar that TCU had been ranked in the top four for over a month then after beating their final opponent by fifty points, they got leapfrogged by three teams, leaving them ranked sixth.  If I were them, I’d be pissed.

Would adding four more teams have made a difference?  That would have meant adding not only TCU and Baylor but also Mississippi State and Michigan State.  Those final two teams each have two losses.  Despite their seasons, were they worthy of competing for a title?  Probably not.

So kudos to the committee, although I don’t recommend any of them vacation in the Lone Star State any time soon.   Here’s hoping a close finish next year doesn’t garner Texas schools any sympathy votes.

In the end, all we proved is that the system is still flawed but at least we now have a playoff that allows “the best four teams” to settle things on the field.  And that’s all we ever really wanted for Christmas in the first place.

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11 Replies to “Football’s Final Four: Fitting or Flawed?”

  1. TCU got jobbed, no two ways about it. ABSOLUTLEY no reason to rank them third only to drop them the following week. Zero changed about them from the prior week. Like you said they beat a team by 50+ and took a knee inside their opponents 10 yard line in the MIDDLE of the 4th quarter.

    We all know why the rankings finished the way they did and that is $$$$$$$ and nothing else. TCU and Baylor are not sexy teams with huge followings and Ohio St is a big name. I have watched a lot of football and of course it is subjective, but TCU is the most complete team of the bunch of borderline teams. I would be furious if I was a TCU person. Also, this committee is a joke. They should have just used the old BCS standings which took much more into consideration. Instead we get back room deals and corruption and people are pissed.

  2. 8 teams, 5 conference champions and 3 byes. I think there are plenty of very good 2 loss teams over the years. I think we have a mediocre undefeated team too.

  3. Fitting ? Maybe . Flawed ? Most definitely ! Some believe members of the panel are above board and having a great deal of integrity . Mike Tranghese ? Really ? Pat Haden ?

    If Air Force General Michael Gould , former Commander of the Academy has merit to on that panel because he played football in college and not the fact , during the latter part of his command of the academy , there were widespread sexual assaults, which were never fully investigated , because Gould himself collaborated in a monumental coverup . The Defense Department has since questioned his conduct , but haven’t done a damn thing about it at all . Not really surprising considering the military and federal agency have never really taken the matter seriously , much like the NCAA .

    Tophatal …………..

  4. That’s why I posted on Facebook earlier that day, D, “Oregon, ‘Bama, TCU and… ?” before the night games kicked off.

    I assumed that after beating Iowa State 55-3 that TCU was as good as in. Heck, why wouldn’t they be? They were ranked in the top four AHEAD of undefeated Florida State.

    If anything, it took an OSU ass-whooping of Wisconsin and their Heisman Trophy candidate, and a nod and a wink from one Urban Meyer, to solidify OSU’s spot in the final four.

    I do like the fact that Oregon is in with a four team playoff format. They deserve to be. If anything, they’re exactly the kind of program that’s going to benefit from expanding the playoffs. It’s that final spot that left us all scratching our heads, even those in Columbus, but trust me, they’re not complaining one bit.

    Moving on the eight-team discussion, you’d be okay with putting Michigan State and Mississippi State in the mix?

  5. there’s always going to be controversy/disagreement
    TCU has a great argument, losing only to #5 baylor in a close/wild game
    have to think had they won that game (and thus gone undefeated), they would they have gotten in
    it’s not like they beat weak competition; they took down two top 10 teams, a #15 and a #20
    and what of Baylor?…
    despite beating TCU i don’t think they have as good an argument
    they lost by two TD’s to an unranked/not very good WV team, giving up those two 14 points in the 4th while they put up zero
    and they almost repeated the feat against unranked Texas Tech, hanging on to win by two while getting outscored in the 4th 19-3
    nope, not a top-4 team in my eyes
    as for who made it in….
    Alabama is a no-brainer, their only loss coming against a schizophrenic Ole Miss team — who (despite three losses) beat two top-5 teams and almost beat another, losing a close game to Auburn
    Oregon too
    they beat everyone that was put in front of them and avenged their only loss against arizona with an exclamation point
    and if not for a bonehead play by one of their LB’s — an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, negating a sack on 3rd-and-8 with the game tied, allowing the (winning) drive to continue — they might very well be undefeated
    if Ohio State beats unranked VT there’s no debate
    although Penn State very nearly threw a monkey wrench in their season
    and Michigan State had beaten them, the Spartans are probably here instead of them
    but the Buckeyes took care of business — albeit, not always convincingly — and, like Oregon, finished with a flourish
    to me, Florida State is the sleeper of the group
    despite getting the nod (and rightfully so imo) they get very little respect, and somehow (despite being undefeated) manage to sneak in under the radar — as evidenced by the zero votes* in your poll
    strength of schedule (or lack thereof) and not always winning impressively (seven of their 13 wins by <7 points)
    still, they beat everybody put in front of them, including #5 Notre Dame, #11 Georgia Tech, #22 Clemson, #25 Louisville and divisional foes Miami and Florida (who always play them tough)
    squeaking by the aforementioned Georgia Tech in their finale didn't help
    but again, they won… like they did all season
    so, for the most part, i think the committee got it right
    if it were up to me, TCU gets in over Ohio State
    and i think had the Buckeyes not trounced #13 Wisconsin in their season finale, that's likely how the committee would have voted
    just my two cents…

    *oh yeah, that zero just became a 1

  6. ^sorry for the long-winded breakdown
    but my dodgers haven’t been doing much at the winter meetings, so i’m bored…

  7. Maybe , maybe not . Let me ask you what Condolleeza Rice’s qualifications? Granted , she’s the sole female on the panel and she once aspired to be NFL Commissioner . That asides what does she actually bring to the table ?

    Johnny Football to get his first official start ? Does that mean the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be in attendance ? I mean both were invited to watch the Nets play the Cavaliers by Jigga and his wife , Beyonce . Surprising enough , I missed out on an invite and I’m a Brit . LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Eery things happening in the world of baseball , in terms of the trades taking place .

    Tophatal ……….

  8. Somehow I missed that one, I. Sorry about that.

    All work and no play makes Chumpy an overtired blogger who pays little attention to detail.

    I’m with you on the TCU/Ohio State debate. I don’t really think any other team had a beef.

    In the end, I get why they gave OSU the nod. I’m just surprised I didn’t hear more complaining from the state of Texas.

    No Buckeye thought they had a shot. That’s not to say they wouldn’t have complained had they been left out.

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