The Ohio State problem, the Oklahoma State problem, and the College Football Playoff problem, in a very special Cavalcade of Whimsy.
Cavalcade of Whimsy: Ohio State’s College Football Playoff Problem
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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
I was too busy preparing for Mississippi State and forgot about that whole election thingy.
”Ultimately, you never want to sleep with anybody who has less to lose than you do,” he said. “So, ultimately, if I’m ever going to sleep around on Miss Terry, it’s going to be with Hillary (bleep)ing Rodham Clinton.” – Nicholas Lou Saban, Jr.
The man’s not an idiot, and yet you all fell for it anyway.
Of course Nick Saban knew the presidential election was last Tuesday, but put yourself in his shoes.
He’s Nick Saban, and you’re not, so if he says he doesn’t want to talk about politics, he doesn’t have to talk about politics, and Alabama won’t convert a key third down opportunity next week because you brought it up.
However, being the leader of the reddest of red state football programs, he couldn’t come out and say he’s for Clinton – if he was – without dealing with a slew of unnecessary headaches, and even if he did, it wouldn’t have mattered.
And if he said he’s for Trump? You want to go on the recruiting trail and explain to a socially conscious, African-American, five-star talent why you backed the birther guy?
There’s absolutely no upside either way, so just say it’s football, football, football.
That’s how you stay focused if you’re the best team in college football.
Or, maybe the guy really is just that locked in/fricking nuts.
Nate Silver and all the rest of the pollsters would probably get this horribly wrong, too.
You have two candidates.
Candidate A is the experienced and sound veteran who you know with absolute certainty can get the job done. Oh sure, there might have been some major controversies, but that comes with the territory when you achieve such dynastic success at the highest of levels.
Candidate A actually scored more than Candidate B, winning blowouts in Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland along the way.
There has never been a candidate more qualified than Candidate A, but there was one massive problem – it inexplicably collapsed in Pennsylvania, opening up the narrow path for the improbable to become the possible.
Candidate B did everything needed to win – and it did.
It might have lost in the head-to-head matchup, but by the cockamamie system in place to determine who really wins the race, Candidate B pulled it off, helped by stunning victories in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.
Yeah, Candidate B might be as subtle and nuanced as a grab in the genitals, but there’s a brilliance to how it was able to come up with a victory. It appeals to an old-school mentality, and while a lot of people out there might not like the style, in a results-oriented business, a win is a win.
But can Candidate B really get the job done? Most want it to succeed – especially against the Red Menace, led by a ruthless autocrat who’ll play a massive role in the next step – but half of the country thinks B, when given a shot, will be a total disaster and everything will blow up.
Welcome to what everyone will be saying a few weeks from now if Candidate B – Wisconsin – wins the Big Ten championship and is off to the College Football Playoff, and Candidate A – an 11-1 Ohio State – is left out.
Michigan could end up beating the Buckeyes in Columbus and go on to beat the Badgers – or Nebraska, if chaos really kicks in – on the way to the College Football Playoff and all will be tied up in a nice, neat bow. But now that the Wolverines have a loss, all Penn State has to do is beat Rutgers and Maryland, and Ohio State is out of the Big Ten title game and could be out of the College Football Playoff no matter where it’s ranked up until the final result.
We’re dealing in hypotheticals here, but if Alabama wins the SEC championship, it’s in. If Clemson wins the ACC championship and is 12-1, it’s in. If Washington wins the Pac-12 championship and is 12-1, there will be some screaming, but it’s in.
And, if it really is Wisconsin vs. Penn State or Michigan for the B1G, no way, no how, no chance, will the College Football Playoff committee tell the champion of the best conference in college football this season that it’s out.
And now I’m torn.
I still believe that 2015 Ohio State was one of the four best teams in college football at the end of the regular season, and win or lose vs. Michigan, I believe 2016 Ohio State is one of the three best teams this year.
As a fan, I really, really, really, really want to see Ohio State get to take its cuts, especially if it faces Alabama.
But last year, Ohio State lost the game it couldn’t lose, it didn’t win its division, and it didn’t win its conference – and it’s about to do it again. At the end of the day, yeah, if you’re not good enough to win your division, or your conference, no, you don’t deserve to play for the overall championship no matter what the eye-test might say.
But Ohio State’s resume is too good, and it really will be one of the four best teams if it goes 11-1.
So if this plays out, and it is Penn State vs. Wisconsin for the Big Ten title, the College Football Playoff committee might have its first real test, especially considering that the move made will set the precedent for all future seasons.
Take an 11-1 Ohio State – or, possibly, an 11-1 Louisville – that didn’t win its division or its conference, or put in a two-loss Power 5 champion for the first time.
It’ll be a historic choice either way.
Okay, maybe throw Clemson in the mix, too …
If we really just cut through all the bullspit and nice-nice, the four best teams in college football at the end of the regular season are going to be Alabama, Ohio State, LSU and USC. Honestly, if the College Football Playoff committee came down from the top of the mountain and just said, “screw you, screw the season, these are the four best teams, and now we’re off to Applebee’s for half-price apps,” I’m good.
Filed under the You Just KNEW This Was Going To Be A Thing category …
Obviously this is all just for argument’s sake, but let’s pretend Hillary won Florida.
For purposes of making a point, what if they called the Sunshine State for Hillary on Tuesday night around 9 pm. Then, at about 9:30, someone realized there might have been a tabulation technicality in three of the counties.
Again, work with me on the absurdity of this – in a strange move, let’s say it was ruled that those three counties would’ve been allowed to open up the polls, and voters would’ve had between 10:30 to midnight to go back in and vote to try making it all kosher.
However, as it turned out, the officials made a mistake, everything was fine, and Clinton actually won Florida. But the wheels were already in motion to open the polls back up, and they allowed the new votes to be counted anyway – partly because everyone knew it would take some sort of miraculous Hail Mary for anything to change – so they let it go.
Now, let’s say the shocker of all shockers happened – especially considering Hillary was expected to win with ease – and Trump voters were able to pull it off. The votes counted after it all should’ve been over, Hillary should’ve won Florida in the normal time frame, and Trump ended up winning the election because of the error of the poll officials.
Granted, it’s comparing apples to steak soft tacos with a side of guac, but that could potentially be what sort of happened to Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys would be considered deep in the College Football Playoff hunt if they were 9-1 instead of 8-2. Unlike most Big 12 teams, they have a real, live non-conference win – the 45-38 victory over Pitt looks terrific now. They might have lost at Baylor, but they bounced back to win six straight, including handing West Virginia its only loss, setting up showdowns at TCU and Oklahoma with a shot to win the Big 12 as the One True Champion.
But the 30-27 loss to Central Michigan in Week Two is the anchor that drags down any CFP hopes.
To go back to when it all happened, of course OSU should’ve won in a walk, but it appeared to have escaped after the game should’ve ended on a time run-off – the officials made a mistake. But Central Michigan was allowed one final play, it completed one of the wildest Hail Mary finishes ever, and the Cowboys lost.
After the fact, everyone knew Oklahoma State should’ve been the winner, but no one wanted to change it considering all the of the team-left-the-stadium types of rules in place.
But the College Football Playoff committee can take that into account if it wants to. If OSU wins out, yeah, it’s okay to consider that a win in terms of the pecking order – and that’ll matter if a Tennessee and/or Virginia Tech and/or Colorado or Utah end up pulling off respective conference championship game wins.
The system is apparently rigged against historically great Heisman winners
You know I love me some Donnel Pumphrey, but let’s stop this right now. At the moment, the San Diego State star is fifth on the list of all-time NCAA rushing leaders, and NOT fourth, as many are reporting. Bowl game stats didn’t count in the all-time records in 2002, and that drags down the totals of some historic greats.
According to the NCAA, Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne ran for 6,397 yards, not the 7,125 yards that’s the actual mark.
Tony Dorsett actually ran for 6,526 yards, Ricky Williams ran for 6,279, and Charles White 6,245 and is still the fourth-leading rusher all-time. Pumphrey is at 6,051, and he’ll soon surpass White for real and is in range of being No. 2, but forget about catching Dayne’s actual record.
And here’s the other problem. At the moment, Pumphrey has done this in 50 games. Dayne and Dorsett hit their respective marks in 47 games, White in 49, and Williams in 46.
This week’s reason why the Big 12 should’ve considered me for expansion …
Apparently, I just hired a soon-to-be 65-year-old Butch Davis. FIU now has a better head coach than most of the Big 12 teams.
The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week
Popping off as long as I can before reality hits like a box of hammers … REALLY? 3-0 ATS AGAIN? Who gave you Pitt +20.5? Who told you Oklahoma would roll over Baylor? Who told you Troy would all but take the Sun Belt title over Appalachian State? I single-handedly accounted for the record bounceback in the market last week, and I’ll save the world again with …
Straight Up: 23-13, Against the Spread: 25-10-1
1. Texas Tech -3 vs. Iowa State
2. UTSA +27.5 vs. Texas A&M (but A&M to win)
3. Oklahoma -3 over West Virginia
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Pitt 43, Clemson 42
Underrated: Deshaun Watson: 52-of-70, 580 yards, three touchdowns, three picks
2) Overrated: Jabrill Peppers
Underrated: Jaleel Johnson
3) Overrated: Andy Fricking Dalton
Underrated: Trying to write a stupid column while watching Monday Night Football, hoping a 2-7 fantasy team can get 44 more passing yards out of its dumb quarterback
4) Overrated: Senior quarterbacks
Underrated: Jalen Hurts, Sam Darnold, Shea Patterson, Deondre Francois, Shane Buechele, Jacob Eason
5) Overrated: North Carolina being a hint of things to come last Tuesday night
Underrated: North Carolina Tar Heels being a hint of things to come last Thursday
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
Thank you for last Saturday, college football. Just … thank you.