Oct. 15, 2016
The Obstructed Thoughts on the Playoff Selection
Well, the announcement was made. Of course already people have analyzed it, criticized it, defended it, etc. Your four combatants of the playoff are: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington.
And so it begins. The committee made their decision, defended it, and now we have to live with it and that's fine. So here are my thoughts of the college playoff announcement:
1. The best decision was made: Noticed I didn't say the RIGHT decision was made. Because honestly there was no right decision. As I mentioned before, the Selection Committee backed themselves in a corner with some of the things they did and said the last few weeks of how Michigan was still a threat for a playoff and how it was a nail-biter between them and Washington (despite Michigan's 2 losses). And one way or the other, it made them come off as hypocrites and gun for big money programs (while the case could have happened had Penn State gotten in ahead of Washington, it didn't so I was likely wrong on that aspect). That being said, they put the 4 most deserving teams (at least to me) in there, though Clemson of all teams made me wonder. I know what I said that Penn State should jump Ohio State a week ago, and I could have seen that happening. But if the Lions don't lose to Pitt, then Ohio State is on the outs.
2. Out-of-Conference Value: The big issue was Washington and scheduling of Rutgers, Idaho, and Portland State and how it would DOOM them from the playoff talk. Kirk Herbstreit the last few weeks constantly raised that question up. And I love Herbie as an analyst and a guy calling games, but he beat that to death to the point I wanted to throw my shoe at the television. The Big Ten, PAC-12, and the Big 12 all now have 3 out-of-conference games. So, in my eyes, it is what you do IN-CONFERENCE more than out of it. Yes, schedule a challenge (i.e. another power 5 school; and to be fair to Washington: while Rutgers wasn't exactly going to be a threat anytime, they were a reasonable program when the two schools agreed to play each other), but win your in-conference games too. But you have to make sure you understand that..................
3. Losses matter: Unless the scheduling is weak (in and out) and you're "getting by" against the likes of those weak teams (see Florida State in 2014) and have teams with stronger schedules and win decisive games jump ahead of you (Alabama & Oregon in 2014), then teams with fewer losses will be ahead. And had Washington lost another game somewhere (Utah) then Penn State is playing Alabama in Atlanta. But losses do matter. If you're Penn State, you cannot erase either the Michigan or Pittsburgh losses. If you're Oklahoma, you cannot erase the Ohio State or Houston losses. You lose, you lose. To me, that is just as important as a conference championship. You cannot toss out the losses as much as certain "experts" on certain media outlets wanted to happen with USC this year. The 52-6 loss from Alabama is from THIS SEASON.
4. The Big 12 is still clueless. Yes I get Bill Bowlsby was saying the Sooners didn't and implying shouldn't have been in the discussion, but ripping Washington for a weak out-of-conference schedule and Ohio State for not making it into a conference championship game? Let's see, Ohio State still ended up with a BETTER record than Oklahoma and throttled your top dog in Norman. Then looking outside of that, your 2nd in command (Oklahoma State) lost to a MAC school (admittedly a dumb referee mistake ended that one), then you had one program give up 70 points in a loss to a PAC-12 school who didn't make it to a bowl game and your golden boy program (Texas) give up 50 in a loss to another PAC-12 school who didn't make it to a bowl game. Then you have a program who pretty much had an out-of-conference schedule worse than Washington (Baylor) and still ended up 6-6. Another program lost to an SEC school, who had a down year, at home (TCU). You have Kansas in your program and you have about the entire conference who cannot play defense and you wonder why the Big 12 gets screwed yearly. Maybe if you didn't let Texas and ESPN call the shots and went ahead with the idea of expanding to 12 teams instead of calling it back and then have the dumbest idea of the "top 2 make conference championship game" where had that happened this year, you could have seen Oklahoma State win the rematch thus REALLY eliminating the Big 12. Here are some solutions Big 12: Add Houston and Memphis. Then build up your programs where it is more than just skill positions only so Oklahoma stops under-building just to win the conference and get slaughtered by Clemson or Ohio State on a yearly basis. Sooner (no pun intended) or later Oklahoma is going to split for either the SEC or PAC-12 for being the program that constantly gets screwed. And when that happens, the Big 12 becomes no better than the Mountain West or Conference USA. Not kidding.
5. The committee is in love with DeShaun Watson & Clemson. Don't get me wrong, I like the Tigers. But how'd they deserve to go up in the rankings after squeaking by Virginia Tech while Washington dismantled their opponents? I understand winning two roadies in Auburn and Florida State accounts for something, as was outdueling the media darling Louisville at the time was impressive, but having squeak-by wins against the likes of NC State and Troy while losing to Pitt (all unranked) show they aren't the same Clemson squad as a year ago. It will be interesting to see how they fare against Ohio State, who also has had a few hiccups along the road of playing to the level of their opponents (Northwestern and Michigan State) in that category as well. But the Tigers jumped Ohio State? Eh, I guess it doesn't matter if the ranks stayed as is. Just one team will wear white instead of the other. To me, I don't think the resume is as amazing as what many make it out to be, and no I don't think Watson is the #1 guy for the Heisman.
But to each their own. All I know is, it will be fun the rest of the way of this season.
Fan in the Obstructed Seat