Monday, December 8, 2014
Thoughts on the Inaugural College Football Playoff
The inaugural College Football Playoff seedings were announced on Sunday afternoon, and as expected, there are lots of arguments going on around the country.
#1 Alabama (12-1) vs. #4 Ohio State (12-1) in the Sugar Bowl
I realize that Florida State has had several close victories this season against a pretty weak schedule, but the Seminoles have won 29 consecutive games. I don't really see why an undefeated Power 5 conference team shouldn't be ranked higher than two one-loss teams in Alabama and Oregon. I do think Alabama and Oregon have been more impressive this year, but Herm Edwards said, "You play to win the game." Florida State has won the game every time for over two years. (Full disclosure: I strongly dislike Jameis Winston and have a distaste for the nonsense that has gone on in Tallahassee since forever ago.) So I think FSU should be #1 and playing Ohio State in this game. It will be very interesting to watch the Crimson Tide play Ohio State, though. I think the Buckeyes are going to really struggle to slow down Alabama's running game with T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, although OSU's pass rush might cause some trouble for Alabama.
#2 Oregon (12-1) vs. #3 Florida State (13-0) in the Rose Bowl
This game should be Alabama vs. Oregon, in my opinion. But since it's Oregon and Florida State, I'll have to pick the Ducks in this one. I know I said above that FSU should be the top-ranked team, but Oregon will put more pressure on FSU than the other teams they've beaten. The Seminoles have won their last four games - against Miami, Boston College, Florida, and Georgia Tech - by an average of 3.5 points.
Teams left out: TCU and Baylor
I feel bad for TCU and Baylor for being left out of the playoff, but not bad enough to want a six- or eight-team playoff. The bottom line is that if you're not one of the top few teams in the country, you don't deserve to win the national championship. This is one year where the #5 and #6 teams have an argument to be #4 with a chance to be champs, but there are some years where #5 and #6 are clearly a notch below the top few teams. Those teams shouldn't be rewarded for getting hot or catching a couple breaks come playoff time. I always refer back to the New York Giants beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl following the 2007 season. The Giants were 10-6 during the regular season, but they got hot and beat the Patriots, who were 16-0 in the regular season. Does that win mean the Giants were the best team in the NFL that year? Absolutely not, but they get to claim to be champs forever and ever. The differences aren't as stark in college (since there are more teams, you're going to have more undefeated or one-loss teams), but I don't think college players should be asked to beat up their bodies and play football almost year-round just because the #6 or #8 team in the country wants a shot to play with the big boys.
My guess is that we'll see Alabama and Oregon in the national championship game.