The playoff is set, and yours truly announced it three weeks ago. I’m just saying. I did however see Oregon moving to #1 so that they could play B1G champ Ohio State in the Rose Bowl to keep some traditional matchups alive. But either way, I said the Big 12 would be the team out. And I was right. For once.
Look, the committee got it right. And frankly, after looking over their final rankings, I think I agree 100% with them. They had some questionable rankings throughout the season, but when all was said and done, they got it right.
Ohio State beat 10 bowl teams, including AAC co-champion Cincinnati. They also had a road win against Navy out of conference. TCU just didn’t compare, neither did Baylor. If TCU had beaten Baylor but lost to West Virginia, ie: reverse their losses, I bet TCU might be in right now.
But honestly one easy scapegoat would be the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. By beating OU yesterday, they took down one of the top teams in the conference, making TCU and Baylor wins over them seem a bit lackluster while making Florida State’s first win of the season look that much better.
But another scapegoat is the lack of a conference championship. The Big 12 was a good conference this year, no doubt about it. They had teams finish with win counts of 11, 11, 9, 8, 7, 6, 6, 4, 3, and 2. Pretty balanced conference. 70% of their teams are bowl eligible. From top to bottom, pretty comparable to the Big Ten actually.
But the Big Ten had something they didn’t, a 13th game. It made all the difference, not only in the quality of opponent for Ohio State, but also in the quality of the win. Third string QB and they destroyed the Badgers. It was convincing. And with the whole body of work now completed, Ohio State just looked better than any Big 12 team.
That will change shortly, mind you. The Big 12 knows exactly why they won’t be represented in the playoff. You had better believe they will be on the phone with BYU first thing Monday morning (it is Sunday after all) and doing whatever it takes to get them to join. They will follow that up with doing whatever it takes to get Notre Dame on board. I promise you, the Big 12 has those two at the top of their wish list. Why?
Because the Big 12 is the only major conference that allows schools to maintain their own media rights instead of turning them over to the conference. That means BYU keeps their independent deal with ESPN alive. Notre Dame keeps their sweetheart deal with NBC. And the Big 12 gets two name brand programs to join ranks which gives them a conference championship. If I’m BYU and Notre Dame, this is a no-brainer. If I’m the Big 12, this is a no-brainer.
So mark my words, they will try, and they will try hard. BYU needs only an invitation. It’s Notre Dame that might put up a stink. Back ups include Cincinnati, Memphis and Colorado State, in that order. I’m sure we will hear this covered a lot this week.
On to other things. Marcus Mariota will win the Heisman and it won’t be close. Should be one of the largest margins in history in fact. Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper will be on hand to congratulate him.
The bowls are still being lined up, and only the big ones are currently set. Frankly, only the semi-finals look intriguing to me. TCU will win, Arizona will win, Baylor will win and Mississippi State will win. Probably won’t be very competitive either.
The semi-finals though look like good matchups. Oregon will squash Florida State, but Ohio State will give Alabama all they can handle. That’s a game I want to see. It may feel like a road game for Alabama with how well Ohio State fans travel. Should be 50-50 attendance, which is bad for Alabama since they can’t seem to figure out how to play unless the crowd is overwhelmingly in their favor. (Like at home or “neutral” fields where 7/8ths of the fans are for them). I think that game is a tossup.
I also don’t think it matters. Oregon is the best team in the land. They will beat the Seminoles and whoever comes at them in the championship. I’m pretty confident in that.
Of the other bowls, the only set matchup right now that I want to watch is Northern Illinois vs Marshall. They were honestly the only great teams to come out of the MAC and CUSA this year, so should be a great game. We’ll have to wait and see the other bowls as they get set to see what other good games are out there. As usual there will be 20 games too many, but oh well.
I say the new bowl eligibility should be 8 wins. That would make 4 AAC teams, 5 ACC teams, 4 Big 12 teams, 5 B1G teams, 2 CUSA teams, 1 independent, 3 MAC teams, 4 MWC teams, 7 Pac-12 teams, 7 SEC teams and 2 Sun Belt teams bowl eligible. That’s 44 total teams. Would anyone mind if there were only 20 bowl games? I wouldn’t.
It’s been a great season and I don’t think a playoff hurt the regular season at all, contrary to what BCS propagandist Bill Hancock (who ironically runs the playoff) said would happen. College football is still a sport like no other, and I love it. This postseason will crown the first true national champion in history, so that’s exciting. Stay tuned for a bowl preview when all the pairings are announced.