In case you missed it, the College Football Playoff committee released their final standings yesterday, with a top four of Michigan (13-0 Big Ten Champ), Washington (13-0 Pac-12 Champ), Texas (12-1 Big 12 Champ), and Alabama (12-1 SEC Champ).
Taken at face value, and in 9 years out of 10, those would be perfectly logical, acceptable choices for the final four teams in the playoff.
But not this year. This year, 13-0 ACC Champ Florida State got left out, sitting at #5 in the rankings.
I’m 100% conflicted on this.
As a fan of the Penn State Nittany Lions, this tickles me pink. Michigan, in my humble opinion, was very clearly the best team between a final four (in whatever order you choose) of Michigan-Washington-Florida State-Texas. The other three all would have tested the Wolverines, yes, but I don’t know that any of them are good enough on both sides of the ball to actually beat them.
Enter Alabama, who has looked like one of the top 2-3 teams in the country. Yes, I’m including their last second win over Auburn in that statement - rivalry games are weird, and I very rarely hold those against teams. The Crimson Tide just beat Georgia, the only other team I thought could handle Michigan, in the SEC championship game.
So as a PSU fan, having a team that - in my humble opinion - can actually put up a fight against Michigan in the playoffs is excellent news. Anything to keep them from a national championship.
As a fan of college football?
I am outraged.
Never before has an undefeated Power 5 champion been left out of the playoffs. I’m honestly not 100% sure why - at only face value - they were. The greatest “argument” I’ve heard is that they were down to their third string quarterback, and therefore are not as good as they were earlier in the season, and therefore are not one of the four “best” teams right now.
13-0 would say otherwise. With a backup, backup quarterback, they went out and won the ACC championship. Could Penn State say that they could win the B1G with their third string QB? I’m doubtful, unless they went 100% Iowa against . . . well, Iowa, but still.
No, the only reason that FSU got left out entirely was because the committee wanted Alabama in the playoff. No self-respecting committee member could legitimately leave out the SEC from the playoff, least of all the vaunted Crimson Tide.
Okay, so put them at the #4 spot, but leave out Texas.
Oh but wait, Texas beat Bama head-to-head, so how do you jump the Longhorns who have already settled that contest on the field?
Simple! Put both Texas AND Bama in, and screw over Florida State!
Look, I have no love lost for FSU. I don’t particularly dislike them, but I certainly don’t like them.
But put yourself in their shoes. They’re having an undefeated season with a Heisman front-runner leading them. Then their QB goes down with a season-ending injury.
Their backup comes in and KEEPS WINNING. Their backup goes down!
The third string comes in and WINS THE ACC.
And they get left out??
If you’re not upset about this, I’m not sure what to tell you.
Unequivocally, the top four should have been Michigan-Washington-Florida State-Texas. Sorry Alabama. Sorry SEC. You lose.
Would that have meant that Michigan could have waltzed their way to a natty? Perhaps. But it would have been fair.
Now? Well, I guess now I’m left wondering why we play the regular season at all.