Wednesday, November 6, 2019

First College Football Playoff rankings are out and no one outside the top four is happy.

Mark my words--we are headed towards (at least) a six-team playoff slate. Only the top four are playing for the national championship and the top four won't be set in stone until the first Sunday in December. But regardless of who those top four are, at least two teams that are left out will have at least two eloquent someones each complaining about how they got robbed.

The people squalling about how their team deserves to be in the group who produces the champ will credibly argue that the college football playoff is just an extension of the old Bowl Championship Series, where a consensus selection of the two best teams played for the title. They'll credibly argue that while the CFP is an improvement, it's not improvement enough. It's still just a popularity contest with twice as many popular contestants. More is better, they'll say.

Those arguing against expansion will counter with an equally credible case that extension of the CFP field continues to diminish the importance of the regular season. They'll also make a compelling argument that the regular season plus bowl games are the traditional foundation of college football's popularity. It's not the NFL, it never will be, so it therefore shouldn't ever be made to look even a little bit like the NFL. The BCS was only superficially flawed in that every now and then there really were three deserving teams.

So here we are with the first CFP rankings:

Rank Team Record
1 Ohio State University 8-0
Louisiana State University 8-0
University of Alabama 8-0
Penn State University 8-0
Clemson University 9-0
University of Georgia 7-1
University of Oregon 8-1
University of Utah 8-1
University of Oklahoma 7-1
University of Florida 7-2
Auburn University 7-2
Baylor University 8-0
University of Wisconsin 6-2
University of Michigan 7-2
University of Notre Dame 6-2
Kansas State University 6-2
University of Minnesota 8-0
University of Iowa 6-2
Wake Forest University 7-1
University of Cincinnati 7-1
University of Memphis 8-1
Boise State University 7-1
Oklahoma State University 6-3
United States Naval Academy 7-1
Southern Methodist University 8-1

And... they're already controversial. Here is a short and non-exhaustive list of complaints:

  • Clemson is the defending champs and they're undefeated but left out because B1G SEC bias.
  • Alabama has played no one (except everyone on their schedule). 
  • LSU has played almost no one (except everyone on their schedule).
  • Minnesota is B1G and they're undefeated, too. And they're not even top 10?
  • Baylor is undefeated!
All of these complaints are at once both valid and stupid. They all make a point that will change next Tuesday as Alabama, LSU and Penn State all face conference opponents this Saturday. Ironically, this fact bolsters both arguments for and arguments against expansion beyond four teams. The "for" camp can argue that having Bama square off against LSU is a strength of schedule boost, a plus for inclusion of either or both in the final slate. The "against" crowd can argue that this is why we play the regular season and why diminish it by letting the regular season loser sneak in?

The constant debate over the post-season process is a distraction that diminishes interest in the sport of college football. It's not about the game anymore. Did you know that there is a profession called historiography? It's the study of history writing. That's where we are--instead of discussing college football, we're discussing schtuff that has as much to do about the game of football as historiography has to do about who won at Yorktown.

I miss when the Sugar Bowl matched the south against the north and the Rose Bowl pit the west against the east and all the other bowls were just post-season fun. And we debated all off-season long about who was best.


Post a Comment

You must have a Google Account to post a comment.

WARNING: Posting on this blog is a privilege. You have no First Amendment rights here. I am the sole, supreme and benevolent dictator. This blog commenting system also has a patented Dumbass Detector. Don't set it off.