Is it possible that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney was on the phone to College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock screaming, “If you don’t win your conference championship, and don’t even win your division, you shouldn’t be in the national championship game!”?
Here’s the situation, for those who may have missed it:
Penn State defeated Ohio State head-to-head during the regular season.
Penn State won the East in the Big Ten.
Penn State won the Big Ten championship game.
The College Football Playoff Selection Committee put Ohio State into the playoff over Penn State.
The Big Ten is having some bowl success, and has opportunity for more with Iowa meeting Florida in the Outback Bowl, Penn State playing Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, and Wisconsin playing Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl. (The Big Ten has also been rocked by Michigan losing to Florida State and Nebraska falling to Tennessee.)
But college football eyes today are on that egg – goose egg, to be exact – Ohio State layed against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl/CFP semifinal game.
One could expect Buckeyes Coach Urban Meyer to need some family time after Clemson 31, Ohio State 0.
Thus, Alabama will be going for its second consecutive national championship, fifth in the last eight years, and 17th overall against Clemson next Monday, Jan. 9, in Tampa. It is a rematch of the programs that played in last year’s game in Arizona, won by Bama, 45-40.
Most Alabama fans have no problem with Clemson’s win over Ohio State to complete the title pairing after Bama’s 24-7 win over Washington in the Peach Bowl. The Crimson Tide family is quite proud of the job former Bama player and assistant coach Dabo Swinney has done as head coach of the Tigers.
(One has to wonder if Clemson would have been able to have a football program without former Alabama players. The list of Clemson head coaches who played at Bama: Frank Howard, Hootie Ingram, Charley Pell, Danny Ford, and Dabo Swinney. But we digress.)
We have had our doubts about the CFP selection committee. Remember prior to the final selection which had Alabama as the No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State, and No. 4 Washington? There was considerable national conversation that the Big Ten should have two teams in the four-team playoff, that Washington should have been dumped for Penn State, or even Michigan.
We do believe that the committee got the first two correctly and that Washington deserved to be in the final four. But what was the committee talking about when it came to a Big Ten representative?
We have heard about the data points and the metrics and the eye test, and we remain skeptical about this committee. True, it will change as some rotate off and new members come on, but there is a nagging worry about these dozen or so making the decisions.
Instead of specifics, we get “It was razor thin between So-and-So and Such-and-Such.”
We’re not solaced after seeing Ohio State this year and Michigan State last year in the playoff. Neither scored a point.
And that’s a point that shouldn’t be lost on college football fans.