Perhaps you’re similar to the Supreme Court: you may not be able to define a sticky wicket, but you’re pretty sure you recognize it when the College Football Playoff Selection Committee has one in its hands.
Last week’s upsets made the torpedo that hit the CFP selection committee the week before – when their one-loss Texas A&M team went from fourth in their national rankings to the first of two consecutive losses – look like a gnat nibble compared to last week.
Yes, the committee had Alabama number one, and the Crimson Tide made the men and woman look good with a 51-3 win over Mississippi State. Assume it took the CFP guys and gal about a minute of their meeting time in plush Grapevine, Texas, digs to slot Bama back into that one spot this week.
But last week’s No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Michigan, and No. 4 Washington – which everyone agreed the week before had earned its way into that privileged top four – were all defeated.
On Tuesday night we’ll learn how the CFP has put lipstick on its pig-headed rankings to date – Alabama excepted, of course.
The biggest of those last Saturday upsets was Iowa’s win over Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan. The Big 10 now faces the possibility of Ohio State defeating Michigan in two weeks and Penn State being able to get by conference lightweights Rutgers and Michigan State, thus leaving both Ohio State and Michigan out of the Big 10 championship game.
Penn State would get the spot of the Big 10 East by virtue of its head-to-head win over Urban Meyers’ Buckeyes.
That would put Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delaney in the unenviable position of hoping no one remembers what a whiney butt he was in 2011 when Alabama made the BCS national championship game (and, by the way, won it) even though the Tide had not won its division and (obviously) not won the Southeastern Conference championship.
Meanwhile, Delaney’s so-called good teams have been running up scores on most of his league, which is mostly pathetic.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban was asked about those teams that run up the score on Sisters of the Poor teams. He had what is probably good news for Chattanooga, which will play Bama in Bryant-Denny Stadium at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Saban said, “I've heard people on the committee say that's not a factor, that it's not something that's considered. I don't think it should be considered. I don't think that beating another team by an embarrassing score really should be something that from a sportsmanship standpoint or a common respect standpoint for the other team and their players and their families, that's not really something that should be a part of the game. I'm thinking that it doesn't affect the committee. It's not a criterium. And I certainly agree with thinking that it shouldn't be.”
The Bama coach was also asked if being a conference champion “should trump anything else on a resume for playoff consideration.”
Saban said, "I think I could answer the question better if you gave me a specific scenario. I think that being a conference champ is certainly a significant accomplishment for any team or any program.
“I also think that sometimes there are circumstances that a team can play really, really well for an entire season, and are we basing the playoff on the whole body of work that a team does throughout the year in terms of all the teams they've beat, or the opponents they've played against, or is it just one game?
“And when you talk about conference championships, if you play a conference championship… some leagues don't even have conference championships. So it's not a fair and equitable way to base that particular group that didn't play a conference championship, so you're doing the whole body of work. Then it seems a little more reasonable to look at everyone else's entire body of work to decide who the best teams are.
“We won a national championship here and didn't win the SEC. I think in that particular year (2011), LSU and Alabama had the two best teams, so we had to play in the regular season. We played 9-6, and 42 guys, somebody wrote an article, played in the NFL that played on that field that day. So they were two really, really good teams.
“Both teams in the same division couldn't go to the conference championship. So we end up playing in the championship game. So is that the right thing or the wrong thing? I’m sure everybody could debate that. But I believe that those were the two best teams. So it depends on what the goal is."