I watched the first ESPN selection committee show of the season last night so you wouldn’t have to. (You’re welcome, by the way.) It didn’t take long — basically after the first ten or so minutes when the actual rankings were presented — for the show to be a complete waste of time, unless your life has no meaning outside of Jesse Palmer’s pontificating about which team he thinks could beat another team.
It was Herbie, bless his heart, who managed the only relevant observation of the evening. Actually, it can be expressed as a simple equation: chaos = more than one P5 conference being shut out of the CFP.
Right now, Notre Dame is college football’s agent of chaos.
The Irish cracked the top four. If they run the table, they’re in. The remaining scenarios would play out against that backdrop. They are:
- An undefeated Big Ten champ and an undefeated SEC champ would make the semis, no question. (Remember, if ND runs the table, there would be no undefeated ACC team, because Miami would be tagged with a loss.) Assuming there are a number of one-loss teams roaming the earth at that point, you’ll get a lot of soul-searching, but I would expect that the inclination on the selection committee would be to share the wealth, so to speak, and not double up on the two P5 conferences already in. Teams left standing at that point like Clemson, Oklahoma and TCU would probably make it easier to justify that call; what would be tough for the committee in that situation would be if it were facing a choice of the only one-loss teams being the SEC runner up versus the Pac-12 champ, Washington, which has played a soft schedule.
- If Ohio State and Oklahoma run the table along with Notre Dame, that’s going to be a major complication for the committee if the SEC runner-up also finishes with only one loss. Alabama and Georgia will stay one and two until the final week, which means there will be three quality one-loss teams for two spots. Again, you’d think the underlying nature of things would favor Oklahoma, so that’ll boil down to which conference commissioner the committee wants to piss off more. (I have to admit I’d love to watch Delany’s head explode.)
- The above scenario gets even more complicated if Clemson doesn’t lose again. (Or, probably, if Virginia Tech doesn’t.)
- If more one-loss teams lose before the end of the season, that might ease the problem, obviously, but just as obviously if too many lose, it would wind up complicating things just as much.
Bottom line, watching the committee work over the next few weeks is a waste of time, unless you’re that into Jesse Palmer. In the short run, just keep an eye on Notre Dame.