Even at 11-1 and just that one loss to Auburn, that should be it for Alabama in the College Football Playoff race. Here’s why.
Don’t you dare bring up 2016 Ohio State. It insults us both.
Not to relitigate this – I sort of have to, though, for the overall point – but last year’s Ohio State team shouldn’t have been in the College Football Playoff for the exact same reason 2017 Alabama shouldn’t be in, and for the reason why 2011 Alabama shouldn’t have been gifted a second shot against LSU in the 2012 BCS Championship.
It’s the fatal flaw of the playoff formats in all other major American sports, and it’s what college football has to guard against at all costs.
If you’re not good enough to win your division title, much less your conference championship, you don’t deserve to have a shot to play for the national title.
2016 Ohio State wasn’t a precedent; it was a mistake.
Penn State deserved to be in over the Buckeyes – head-to-head win over OSU, Big Ten champion in last year’s toughest conference – but fine. The two-loss thing was an issue. Okay, but then there was no excuse for Washington to be in over Penn State – NO strong wins, easy slate.
However, the committee looked at 2016 Ohio State – and yes, this all ties into 2017 Alabama – and thought resume was too strong to ignore.
There was the win over an 11-win Wisconsin team in Madison, a ten-win Michigan team, a 62-3 win over a nine-win Nebraska, and, of course, the dominant 45-24 win at Oklahoma, who went on to win the Big 12 championship.
Yeah, 2017 Alabama has none of that.
Even as the leader of the #NoConferenceTitleNoCFP movement, I get it. There’s no rule that says the committee can’t take a team that doesn’t win its championship, and it’s all supposed to be about the “four best teams” thing. But there has to be some substance to the beliefs.
So far, the College Football Playoff committee has ranked Alabama high – No. 1 over the last few weeks – based on the idea of “Uhhhhhhh, we think they’re, like, good and stuff, because it’s Alabama.”
And that’s not crazy, because it is Alabama.
I’ve been all in on Bama for a long, long, long time, picking it to beat Clemson last year – even though everything I saw and thought told me otherwise – and ignoring my own analysis and eyes by picking it to beat Auburn last week.
I’m so screwed up and Bama brainwashed, if it gets into the CFP this year, I’ll probably pick it to win the whole thing – ignoring the obvious fact that this year’s team is just a big bag of okay.
However, if this was, say, Missouri with the same resume, no … chance it would be in the playoff discussion.
The big problem with that? The word “deserve.” Based on what, exactly? What does this team “deserve?”
There’s too much credit being given to beating a Florida State team that turned out to have a whole slew of issues.
“But Alabama knocked out Deondre Francois,” you say. Yeah, but he’s not Tom Brady. The Noles just weren’t that great this year, particularly on the O line.
Beating Fresno State was nice, and the win over Colorado State was good, but struggling against Texas A&M? No.
24-10 against LSU? Fine, but 31-24 at Mississippi State? Problem. And then, of course, the Crimson Tide lost last week by 12 points in the one chance to probe that they really are the real deal.
There’s just nothing here to warrant the same respect and massive break that last year’s Ohio State team was given. Nothing.
But this is more than that. It continues to be about the belief that the college football regular season means everything. It’s about winning a conference championship being the gateway to doing something bigger. It’s about college football being better than everyone else.
There’s already a problem that a four-team tournament for the championship is based on judges, as if this was the Miss Universe pageant. But at this point, it’s a total fail and a massive issue for the entire College Football Playoff process if the committee puts in Alabama just because its name is Alabama.
And as far a not winning a conference title, this goes for the loser of all the league championships, too.
The Pac-12 champion should be out of this – three losses already for Stanford, and USC’s blowout loss to Notre Dame ends that – but this season, College Football Playoff committee, it’s your job to reestablish the norm and the rules – even if they’re unwritten – to go by going forward.
ACC Championship winner – Miami vs. Clemson – will have one loss and will be in no matter what.
SEC Championship winner – Georgia would have just one loss and Auburn already beat Alabama – will be in no matter what.
Oklahoma and Wisconsin are also going to be in if they win their respective conference championships, but if Ohio State hands the Badgers their first loss, and/or TCU gets a revenge win over the Sooners, in and in.
And Alabama out.
Who’s with me? #NoConferenceTitleNoCFP