Twitter, many ESPN personalities, and "college football fans" across the country were up in arms Sunday as the College Football Playoff announcement was released. Ohio State had two losses, including a 31-point decision to unranked Iowa.
In reality, it should have been the opposite. Instead, an eight-team playoff would make the selection committee's job much easier by adding a little bit of subjectivity to the process.
Alabama football drives the conversation here at the Rammer Jammer, SECCountry's daily Alabama athletics recap, but we'll cover news for every facet of the Crimson Tide. No. 5 Ohio State (11-2): Large volume.
On Sunday, the field for the fourth College Football Playoff was set and for the first time two teams from the same conference made it. Alabama (11-1) will face Clemson (12-1) in the Sugar Bowl and fellow SEC member Georgia (12-1) will play Oklahoma (12-1) in the Rose Bowl.
Now, of course, we know that Alabama got the No. 4 seed and the Buckeyes were left out. That was too much for the committee to ignore. Alabama, which has been good to excellent most of the season, with no bad losses, occupies the fourth spot. That's not Alabama's fault, but playing Football Championship Subdivision team Mercer that had a losing record and didn't even make the FCS playoffs, is.
Only the best should compete for the national title. A four-team field will always fall short. Now, teams outside the power conferences often have no chance at cracking the field from the start of the season. Then, from the teams that failed to win their respective conferences, the top three programs would get at-large bids. It doesn't. Yet, with automatic bids for conference champions, it would have received one. In this format, awful losses kept them out of the playoff over a team with a better resume.
Could Ohio State's exclusion from the playoff wind up fueling the drive toward eight, the way the Alabama-LSU Bowl Championship Series game of 2011-12 spurred momentum toward four?
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It's better to have a worthy team on the outside looking in every once in a while than one that isn't worthy get in, get hot and win it all.
Based on everything, it seems Alabama is only in the College Football Playoff for no other reason than the committee wanted them in and ranked teams to justify the pick.
CFP executive director Bill Hancock and others always talk about protecting the regular season when defending the current system, and that scarcity breeding demand. It should be protected at all costs.
"In this particular case, as we looked at Alabama's full body of work over the course of the season, we favored that body of work over Ohio State", Hocutt said. Anything can happen between now and then, and there are 38 other bowl games before the semifinal kicks off on New Year's Day. At the time, we thought Auburn's 26-14 win meant everything. The Iron Bowl meant nothing. The national college football playoffs include just 3 percent of all teams. With four wins over teams in the final playoff ranking and coming off back-to-back gut-check victories (Clemson handled rival SC 34-10 on the road in the last week of the season), the Tigers are a worthy No. 1.
Expanding the playoff would only pile more of them on. It's better that way.
Just enjoy the ride.
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