Are we really surprised all of this happened?
Sure enough, once the final standings were released and the four teams that actually got into the phony college football playoff system were revealed, the bickering and whining began. Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State get in, all others, especially within the Big 12, are left to stew.
TCU is butt-hurt for getting left out because they somehow dropped from third to sixth despite blowing out Iowa State 55-3 in their last game. Baylor is butt-hurt because they still get left behind TCU despite finishing tied for the championship with them with a victory against the Frogs.
Sunday was like watching one of the most heated, pointless debates in history where everyone was right. The truth is, there is blame to go around for what happened at the end of it all. Among the guilty culprits:
1. TCU. They could have taken care of business themselves by running the table, especially since they only had to hold a lead late against Baylor. And one person who would agree with that is Gary Patterson. While other coaches have taken to whining, Patterson has chosen the high road and said they could have controlled their own destiny with a game he has blamed himself for his team losing. A small display of class shown in this entire mess.
2. Baylor. People criticized how the Frogs’ only “statement” non-conference game was against a mediocre Minnesota team, but no one is giving Baylor grief for playing Buffalo and Northwestern State? And with future non-conference games against the likes of Liberty and Incarnate Word, the Bears aren’t going to get a lot of support from any selection committee in the near future.
3. The Big 12. They set themselves up for this by not establishing a tiebreaker in the event something like this would happen, going with the mealy-mouthed excuse of “They’re both champions.” Which makes them look pretty stupid given they’ve been toting that “One True Champion” slogan all year. Do they absolutely need to expand and go back to a championship game from this? They shouldn’t. They’re one of the few conferences left where everything is fair because everyone plays everyone. They just shot themselves in the foot by not having an easy rule to end any dispute.
4. The Selection Committee. The way they kept changing the top for every week, you would think they made their selections on a bender each time. How is TCU a solid number three after last week, only to drop to sixth? Apparently Ohio State’s blowout in a championship game in an inferior conference was better than TCU’s blowout. Do they really put more of an emphasis on “championship games,” likely encouraging the practice of these gross “superconferences” that wreck schedules for all the other college sports? It’s really sad when the selection criteria is harder to comprehend than a J.J. Abrams script.
5. The NCAA. Or, whoever, established this system. From the moment it was established only four teams would get in, anyone with a brain not wracked by too many hits to the head should have known this controversy was coming. To think the season would end with just four teams clear-cut above the rest was insanity. Defenders of the system will likely try to use the argument that this format still made the regular season important. But the truth is, this changed nothing in solving college football’s problems, just added the extra issue of teams needing to be poor sports and run up the score to make “statements.”
If college football is going to gain any respectability with its postseason, more changes are going to have to be made. Granted, the big issue with college sports is there is too much subjectivity in selecting teams for the postseason, but this system makes it even worse for the gridiron. Unless the field is expanded to at least eight teams with a set, objective criteria in place, like only conference champions, definite tiebreakers for tied champions and a set ranking for the top conferences (look to UEFA for advice there), every season will end with controversy and bickering.
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