Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

Baby, even the losers

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.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Thoughts on the selection commitee’s first rankings

For the most part, I stand by what I’ve said from the beginning.  There’s no reason to have weeks of rankings from the CFP’s selection committee, other than to give ESPN broadcast fodder.  That being said, I will reluctantly admit there may be something to glean from tonight’s effort, and, no, it’s not about Georgia.  It’s about whether we’re going to see a canary in the coalmine with regard to postseason expansion.

The first three seasons of the four-team College Football Playoff have raised some fun hypotheticals, but three always stood out above the rest:

■ While at least one of the so-called Power 5 conferences — the Atlantic Coast, the Big 12, the Big Ten, the Pacific-12 and the Southeastern — is guaranteed to be locked out of a four-team party every year, would a final bracket ever omit two of those conferences by taking, say, an independent like Notre Dame, or two teams from the same league?

■ Could a team from one of the lower-tier Group of Five conferences qualify? (This, too, would leave out two power conferences.)

■ Might a pattern develop in which it became clear that one power conference was congenitally unlikely to make the playoff, either by performance or by design?

None of these hypotheticals have become reality so far…

The fun part is that, about two-thirds of the way through the season, all three intriguing — and potentially consequential — possibilities listed above remain on the table…

But even more damning would be for the Big 12 champion to deserve to make the playoff — and still fail to get a bid. Take the Sooners, for example, who still could rip off four impressive wins to go with a September victory at No. 3 Ohio State (7-1) — and then find themselves ranked fifth or sixth, behind some combination of the SEC champion, the Big Ten champion, a one-loss A.C.C. champion (or even an undefeated one: hello, Miami!), a great one-loss SEC team and even one-loss Notre Dame.

That kind of ego-bruising, budget-blowing disappointment would not be unprecedented. At the end of the 2004 season, Auburn was 12-0 and was passed over for the Bowl Championship Series title game. Although the four-team playoff took another decade to arrive, that Tigers season is seen in retrospect as the moment it became inevitable.

If the Big 12, with tradition-rich Oklahoma boasting a deserving résumé and (possibly) a Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Baker Mayfield, finds its face pressed against the wrong side of the glass yet again, then prepare for more changes to the way college football picks its champion.

You can skip the Central Florida talk as being a pipe dream dependent on a bunch of P5 programs falling by the wayside over the next five weeks.  (Yes, I suppose I’m saying there’s a chance.)

But another lockout of the Big 12, especially after it went and adopted its useless championship game?  No doubt that would threaten the true underlying purpose of the CFP, namely, generating more revenue for the P5 conferences.  What would exacerbate that tension even more would be if two SEC schools made the semis, along with Notre Dame.  Do I think that would be another inevitable moment for college football’s postseason, to go along with 2004 and The Rematch?  Damn straight I do.

So let’s see who makes the top four tonight.  It’s not a final rendition by any means, but it’ll indicate whether the committee is at least willing to contemplate going there.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

You can leave your hat on.

These are the morons who will decide who plays for a national title.

For those of you wondering about bias in the room — nobody is allowed to wear their school logos in the meeting room. They also symbolically “check their hats at the door,” a tradition started by former committee chair Jeff Long, who is still on the committee. They were all given hats with their names on them on Monday.

As if you magically shed your biases merely with a clothing change.

I guess it’s comforting to know they won’t be wearing somebody else’s hat.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Damn, Bill Hancock just moved his lips again.

That’s bad news for either Georgia or Alabama.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“You talk about rat poison a lot, things like that.”

You get the feeling if it were up to Nick Saban or Kirby Smart, they’d force the selection committee to vote the other guy’s team number one tomorrow.

Maybe at the next presser, Saban’ll chew out the committee the way he does the media.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

When there were four

The flip side to getting hot flashes about Notre Dame in the CFP is what the SEC’s chances of getting two teams in the semifinals are.  Brace yourself for that narrative.

The playoff committee has made it clear that conference championships are a major consideration in the selection process, as they should be. There might come a season when that priority has to be put aside to ensure the two best teams have a shot at the national title, but that should be a truly exceptional circumstance.

This isn’t it.

Not yet, anyway.

It’s too early to give a definite prediction about Alabama and Georgia’s chances (hell, actually says “It probably would be best for Alabama to go unbeaten and win the SEC, so that the Crimson Tide’s less-than-impressive resume doesn’t come into question.”), but I’ll bet good money right now that if it were to come to pass, this would be as inevitable as the sun rising in the east the next day.

With the initial CFP rankings set to be released next week, there’s a good chance Alabama and Georgia will be in the foursome.

That’s OK for now.

If it’s that way come December, it will be time to discuss something new.

“This conversation,” Miles said, “is the exact reason why at some point in time they’re going to view the playoff system and say they need to add two teams or add four teams. You always want to make sure you include the best teams.”

Or make sure that all the P5 conferences get a crack at that TV money.  Here’s hoping somebody gets Bill Hancock on the record at some point.  His denial will be a guarantee.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs


If you’re looking for a little taste of logic chopping come selection committee time, check out Heather Dinich’s rationale for keeping one-loss Clemson in her top four.

No she’s not on the selection committee, but it’s a good example of a way to break things down to justify including one team over another.

One conclusion to draw from her thinking is that, at least as long as Clemson is in the conversation, Georgia had better find a way to beat Auburn.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football