Consistency, hobgoblins, small minds, etc.

Andy Staples ($$) nails the real problem with the selection committee’s decision making.

The “best four” versus “most deserving four” argument has raged since the College Football Playoff began in 2014. My issue with it isn’t that the committee occasionally designates a team one of the best four without an on-field result that backs it up. It’s that some teams get the “best” treatment and some get the “most deserving” treatment and the committee chair then acts as if they were judged by the same standard when questioned.

In a nutshell, that’s it.

Right now, ‘Bama is number two in their rankings because they’re perceived as being better than any team besides Georgia.  But that’s not what the committee thinks about Oregon at four, is it?  Oregon is there, not because of its overall resume, but because it went into Columbus and beat Ohio State.  Not that that’s nothing, but consider:

… if Oregon and Ohio State wind up 12-1 conference champs and find themselves duking it out for the No. 4 spot, Ohio State would have the better collection of wins (Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, the Big Ten West champ) versus Oregon (Ohio State, um, Utah, um, Utah again?). Oregon would absolutely have the worst loss (Stanford for Oregon; Oregon for Ohio State). Plus, we know Vegas would make Ohio State a favorite in a rematch against Oregon on a neutral field even though the Ducks already won in Columbus while playing without their best player…

In a sense, this is a problem that will likely work itself out as the season progresses.  In Alabama’s case, for example, either the Tide runs the regular season table, goes 12-1 and winds up with the number one ranking, or, it loses again and finds itself likely gone from the playoffs.

What doesn’t change is how inconsistent the selection committee is with its decision making criteria.  As long as that’s the case, the grumbling will not cease.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

37 responses to “Consistency, hobgoblins, small minds, etc.

  1. 79dawg

    BuT i WaS pRoMiSeD tHe SeLeCtIoN cOmMiTtEe WoUlDn’T bE iNcOnSiStEnT lIkE tHe CoMpUtErS wErE….

    Liked by 3 people

  2. rigger92

    Well, that and whatever influence espn has inside that room. There’s a lot of football left to play but the last thing espn wants is two B1G teams and two SEC teams in the playoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gastr1

    The problem with “best teams” is that it’s a) subjective (the “eye test”) and b) significantly based on recent past results. It should never be the criteria.

    Oregon’s loss to Stanford largely mitigates its win over Ohio State. And if they win out without beating anyone else worth a snot, and other comparable teams have one loss (to someone far better than Stanford), those other teams are above Oregon.

    It’s really not that hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gastr1

      (This is ultimately why Cincinnati should be above Oregon, even if not in the top 4…Cincy also won their one good opponent game on the road. But they haven’t lost to any completely shitty like Oregon has.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree and I think MI State should be ahead of Bama because they have beaten every good team they have played. The next four weeks will tell the tale for them and the rest though.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Down Island Way

      That eye test, marketing/regional test and lastly the click bait test, the more controversy the better Mickey likes it…


  4. aucarson

    Once again, all playoff roads go through anOSU.

    Liked by 1 person

    • miltondawg

      This year you could make the case that the road to the playoffs goes through the SECCG if Bama is 11-1 and Georgia is 12-0. If Michigan State OR Ohio State wins out (either 13-0 OR 12-1 conference champ), Oregon wins out (12-1 conference champ), Cincinnati wins out (13-0 conference champ), and Oklahoma wins out (13-0 conference champ), all those teams will be the biggest Georgia fans in the country. If Georgia is sitting there at 13-0 and number 1, a conference champion with a 13-0 or 12-1 record is getting left out. If Bama wins the SECCG, then in the above scenario the committee is either going to have to keep Georgia in and drop two conference champions sitting at 13-0 or 12-1 or leave Georgia out. My guess is that Georgia is left out as the only team that didn’t win their conference and then the committee only has to leave out one conference champion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The SECCG loser isn’t coming out of MBS with a CFP bid unless there’s a lot of chaos between now and December 4. The committee has never put a championship game loser in the playoff, and I don’t see that happening now. The only way I see the loser of that game with a bid (meaning UGA because a 2-loss runner-up Bama won’t get in regardless) is that the Big 10 West champion wins their championship game, Oregon loses another game, Cincinnati loses, and the Big 12 champion has 2 losses.

        Liked by 1 person

        • miltondawg

          Exactly. I think that a few weeks ago when some people were thinking that Georgia, if undefeated in the regular season, would get in even if they lost in the SECCG I think that could have been a possibility (though I didn’t think it would happen). Oregon looked shaky after losing to Stanford (which loss looks worse and worse), Oklahoma didn’t appear capable of going 13-0, and Ohio State hadn’t looked like they have looked the last month. But if history has shown us anything, its that a loss at home or a bad loss on the road in September is far less damaging than a loss in December even if a team has looked dominant all season.

          Liked by 1 person

        • stldawg

          They just put a championship game loser in last year…Notre Dame lost by 24 and made it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • A lot different … a very different season, but yes, your point is taken. It took a lot of chaos for that to happen. It took a pandemic sending ND to affiliate with the ACC for one season (in a regular season, they would have been in at 12-0). It took Oregon as a barely ranked team to be the Pac 12 champion and Oklahoma as a 2-loss Big 12 champion. Hell, the Big 10 had to change their conference championship eligibility rules to get Ohio State in.

            I take nothing from the 2020 season as normal or as an indicator of future results.


        • Texas Dawg

          “The committee has never put a championship game loser in the playoff, and I don’t see that happening now.”
          But they have put 2 teams (2016-OSU and 2017-Bama) in that did not even make it to the championship game let alone win it. When it comes to getting the teams that they want in the CFP, no scenario is off the table.


          • Now this I agree with. Bama 2017 was a perfect storm. There were a bunch of 2-loss conference champions and UCF clearly was not looked at the same way Cincy appears to be this year. Ohio State clearly benefited when they got in over conference champion 2-loss State Pen, who had beaten them straight up to get to the B1GCG.

            I don’t want to test the hats in Grapevine by losing in December after going undefeated.

            Liked by 1 person

      • tenesseewasnevergreat

        Unfortunately, I think that is the case. I don’t see UGA getting in without an SECCG win. In other years, maybe we still get in (or maybe if Clemson didn’t completely implode this year), but this does not look like one of those years.


  5. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2021)

    IF Tosu wins out is doing all the heavy lifting here. The same logic Andy applies to Bama applies to the Suckeyes even more. They obliterated a the bad B1G teams they’ve played, but they struggled against the two decent teams (Minnesota and Penn State) who likely won’t finish better than 8-4, and they badly lost at home to the best team on their schedule so far garbage time TD notwithstanding.

    The Suckeyes ALWAYS gets the benefit of the doubt from the media and the committee more than any other team, and it’s absolutely ridiculous. They are the most literal embodiment of, “They ain’t played nobody, Paaaaaawl!” of any team in CFB, but the media keeps sucking them off something fierce.

    God, I hope Mel Tucker fucks them up in a couple of weeks!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. W Cobb Dawg

    Meh, far too early to pick a final 4. Most of this will play itself out in November and the conference championships.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “As long as that’s the case, the grumbling will not cease.”

    Senator, that’s a feature not a bug.

    All of this is why I hated the concept of the committee from the beginning. The committee generally works in the March Madness selection because while there’s some gnashing of teeth of the teams on both sides of the bubble, the teams whose bubble bursts have only themselves to blame when 35(?) at-large teams get selected. College football doesn’t have enough regular season data points for a committee of 13 to pick the teams. That’s way too much power and far too little transparency.

    A BCS type of formula using the polls, computer rankings and conference championships is the best way to do this (especially if the polls didn’t come out until the Mumme Poll starts). The polls have the law of large numbers at work with the number of voters (and publish their votes every week). Drop the highest and lowest rankings in the computer rankings to get the model bias out (strength of schedule typically plays in those models). Give teams that win a conference championship a booster in their rating at the end of the season.

    Use that to pick the top 4 or 8. You get the teams most deserving that have demonstrated it on the field throughout the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    As inconsistent as the selection committee’s rationales are, one thing is 100% lead pipe cinch consistent: pissed off pundits and fans will consistently use whatever rationale is handy when their heroes get left out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jcdawg83

    ESPN has the ultimate say in who is invited to their annual post season tournament. The beauty pageant committee is going to do what ESPN wants and ESPN is going to look at what teams will generate the most interest and the most viewers. Until the top level of college football has some sort of objective qualifying method for picking who plays for its national championship, the “national champion” is really only that in name only.

    If MLB used a committee to determine who the four best teams in MLB were at the end of the season, regardless of which League or division they were in, and invited those four teams to a two round playoff, the Braves would not have had any chance of playing in the World Series this year. That idea sounds absurd but is essentially what goes on in the top level of college football every year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • PTC DAWG

      With that rational, I don’t see Oregon having much of a chance, college football doesn’t move the meter on the west coast…same with Cincy, they won’t move the meter with anyone..especially when they are down 21 points after a quarter and a half.

      An SEC/Big10 matchup across the board would be a bonanza for them. IMHO, YMMV.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. ASEF

    The Committee works backward from a set of assumptions to a result. How they’ll get there? The juicier the internal contradictions, the better, relative to the rankings show’s economic purpose: generate eyeballs and wagging tongues. From that perspective, their worst result is a collective, “That makes total sense.”

    Anyone remember who was propping up Utah two seasons ago, the ridiculous rationale for it, and why? Nope. You do not.

    As for the assumptions they work backwards from:

    A) putting a Cincinnati or Coastal in the 4 team playoffs would be rocket-fuel to G5 recruiting/legitimacy.
    B) that wouldn’t affect the Georgia’s or Alabama’s, but it would absolutely make life more difficult on 2nd tier P5 programs like Tennessee and Wisconsin. So, it ain’t happening.

    College football is trying to figure out how to expand post season revenue without ending up where college basketball ended up, with the best programs in small conferences (like Gonzaga or VCU) being better gigs than Oregon State or Virginia Tech simply because of playoff access.

    Through that prism, the committee’s work looks pretty coherent.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Nil Butron is a Pud

    Screen door on a submarine…
    Concrete parachute…
    Tits on a bull….
    Preseason Polls…
    Dentist in Knoxville…
    Library at Auburn…
    First CFP Standings…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Former Fan

    The BCS was just as bad. The criterior changed year to year, team to team. 07 UGA was the best team and got jumped by those that played in the conference title games. But that didn’t seem to matter when Bama got left out. At least with the bowl system, the #5 Miami team had a shot at finishing #1 when they beat the #1 Nebraska team. Of course, the bowls got crazy with their invites. I still remember when the sugar bowl invited an undefeated Virginia team to play the top SEC team, only to watch Virginia lose the next 3 games. If the bowls had been forced to wait till the end of the year for invites, and the bowl with the highest ranked team got first choice, then we might have avoided all the playoff talk for a lot longer than we did. The bowls were their own worst enemies and IMO, we still don’t have a viable way to determine a champion. Just let the conference champions play for all the marbles. That makes the regular season matter and each conference game is close to being a de-facto playoff game.


    • The BCS somewhat got a bad rap. We thought in 2007 that we got screwed because we were at #4 and #1 and #2 lost. Traditionally, that meant we should have moved to #2. The polls didn’t penalize us, but they also didn’t reward us.


  13. Spell Dawg

    2011 logic: if a team doesn’t win their conference championship they cannot play for the national championship……unless they are Alabama.

    2021 logic: nobody with 2 loses can play for the national championship……unless they are Alabama.

    Let’s all just get ready for it, it’s inevitable.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. stoopnagle

    This is beside the point, but no matter what collection of wins OSU assembles, all things equal, they lost to Oregon and to me, that’s all that matters.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. cpark58

    There are 2 fair answers regardless of number of playoff size:

    1) Win your conference to get in. I know there will be some trash teams that get in but also allows for Cinderellas which everyone loves. Also, if you aren’t good enough to win your conference, and sometimes even your division, you have not EARNED an opportunity to play for a natty. (Looking at you 2011 and 2017 Alabama).


    2) Use the BCS formula to create the field.

    As stated here earlier, the committee was only created to provide endless fodder for ESPN to jabber about in the run up to bowl selection day. That said, it is why we are stuck with a committee format.


    • I’m not in favor of choice 1 unless there was major conference realignment. Does the WAC champion deserve to get in over the SECCG runner-up? I support a committee selection over pure automatic bids (and I hate wild cards).

      I still don’t see why the hats need to get together in Grapevine every week. Meet on championship weekend and figure it out on that Saturday night and Sunday morning. Publish the results and the pairings for the semifinals and get the help out of town. Allow the bowl games on the outside to invite whatever team they want to sell tickets.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cpark58

        Unpopular opinion but yes, the WAC champion deserves to get in over any runner up. Win your conference and advance. Play hard through the losses to keep your season alive for a chance to win it all.

        If you are good enough to win it all, winning your conference first shouldn’t be too big of an ask.

        I for one think it would be fun to see a Boise State beat OU on a flea flicker and Statue of Liberty to advance in the playoffs over the same 5 or 6 teams play every year strictly because they pass a largely arbitrary eye test.

        Not that any of that matter because Mickey Mouse currently has the system right where he wants it.


  16. Scotty King

    At least 4 SEC teams would beat the brakes off of Cincy (UGA, Bama, Auburn, A & M).

    LSU, Florida, Ole Miss, State, Ark, Tenn, and Ky prolly would win, too. .