Sep. 26, 2016
Should teams that don't win their conferences make the College Football Playoff?
There are only four teams that make it to the College Football Playoff each year and two years is a small sample size, but there is one commonality between all eight teams who have reached the playoff in the past.
Every single team has reached the College Football Playoff has their conference. Alabama (2x), Ohio State, Clemson, Oregon, Michigan State, Florida State and Oklahoma are the only teams that have reached the playoff. Oklahoma is the only team in that list that did not win their conference championship game, but that is due to the fact that the Big 12 does not have one. However, they did finish first in the Big 12 conference standings.
There is no written rule that to make the playoff a team has to win its conference championship game, but there might be an unwritten rule about it. This year will be the ultimate test about whether or not this unwritten rule exists.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are the team that will put this to the test. The latest College Football Playoff poll goes as follows:
2. Ohio State
7. Penn State
10. Oklahoma State.
Ohio State finished the regular season 11-1, but its one loss came to Penn State. As a result, Penn State will be the Big Ten East representative in the Big Ten Championship Game. Ohio State now has nothing left to do but watch the conference championship games and wait and see if they will be selected for the College Football Playoff.
It will be a couple weeks until Ohio State finds out if it made the playoff, but should a team such as Buckeyes who is not going to be their conference champion make the playoff?
It really comes down to whether or not the teams that are selected into the playoff are the four best teams or the four most deserving. Depending on who is asked, that could mean the same thing. Is the purpose of the committee to select the four teams that are better and have more talent than anyone else?
If that is the case, there is no question Ohio State should get in. Ohio State is currently ranked second and almost certain is the second best team in the nation. Put Ohio State against anyone apart from Alabama and its more likely than not will win the football game.
Going by that reasoning, should USC make the playoff? USC started off the season poorly, losing three of its first four games. Since then the Trojans have dominated their opponents and can easily be argued that right now they are playing at a top four level. USC is a three loss team that will not be its conference champion, but might be playing like a top four team. Most people will likely agree that USC should not be in the playoff, so what does that mean about Ohio State?
The committee should consider everything, which they claim to do. Yes, conference championships should be a large factor in deciding the teams. The committee should also consider who is playing the best and who has the best resume. Ohio State has played like the second best team in the nation. The Buckeyes had the hardest strength of schedule out of any one loss team and their resume is easily the best in college football. Not winning the Big Ten should hurt Ohio State, but every other possible metric makes up for it. Maybe Ohio State shouldn’t be the second seed, but it should make the College Football Playoff.