Cavalcade of Whimsy: College Football Playoff's Four Best Team Theory

Cavalcade of Whimsy: College Football Playoff's Four Best Team Theory

College Football Cavalcade

Cavalcade of Whimsy: College Football Playoff's Four Best Team Theory


Ohio State and Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff, Jim Harbaugh is okay, and the big things to take away from Week 13 … in the Cavalcade of Whimsy.

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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …

I had it all planned out. After spending a few days drawing it up, the key blurb for the column totally worked in practice and was ready to be unleashed when I needed a momentum-changer. And then …

But I will admit that I really, really, REALLY want to see Kyler vs. Tua …

In spring ball when the 2018 season analysis and speculation started to kick in, it because obvious that Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State – in some order – were going to be the four best teams, with Oklahoma, Michigan (got that one right) and Wisconsin (got that one really, really wrong) on the fringe.

All summer long, it was the same talking point in the CFN preseason top four rankings, on all of the radio appearances, and written in article after article. If you were going to do the College Football Playoff based on the four best team criteria …

Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State.

That’s it. There was no need to play the season.

Those were the four teams in the preseason Coaches Poll, and they were four of the five – Wisconsin slipped in at No. 4 – in the AP version.

And now we’re quibbling.

Ohio State got hammered by Purdue. Yeah, okay, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the four best teams right now.

That team that showed up on Saturday against Michigan is better than at least 126 of the other 129 teams in college football.

Now, if you’re talking deserve, then nah.

The performance against Maryland, the sluggishness throughout the season, the debacle against Purdue, and the 90th-ranked strength of schedule certainly make it easy to take the Buckeyes out of the CFP discussion. I don’t agree with it, but deserve isn’t how this is works.

That’s not what the College Football Playoff committee told us when it put Ohio State in the fun in 2016 and slid Alabama in last year. But it’s not just Ohio State who could be in a theoretical fight late Saturday night.

Georgia lost to LSU by 20. Yeah, okay, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the four best teams right now.

For all of the rightful gushing and love given to Alabama for beating all 12 teams on the schedule by more than 20, Georgia has beaten everyone but LSU – I know, that’s sort of a “besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” thing – by 14 or more, and it’s tenth in the NCAA strength of schedule rankings.

It’s not fair that Georgia has to play Alabama in the SEC Championship instead of Pitt, or Memphis, or Northwestern, or in the case of Notre Dame, no one at all. It’s not fair that it’s going to be punished by playing the Crimson Tide – but it doesn’t have to be.

The committee was created and the system is set up so that the people in that room can think and do what they feel is right – like put in the four best teams.

Yeah, the College Football Playoff is going to put Notre Dame in – and it absolutely should.

The Irish have earned their spot by going unbeaten against a solid schedule, but can’t we just give them a hearty handshake, a peanut butter sandwich, and a participation trophy?

Notre Dame and UCF, I’ll make you both a deal. How about you two play each other in the Peach Bowl, and until the end of time, I’ll lobby and demand that the winner be called the 2018 National Champion in exchange for doing the honorable thing and stepping aside so the four best teams can play …

Sorry for that. I’m back now.

Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State.

But that’s not going to happen, which means …

NEXT: What do Ohio State and Oklahoma have to do to get in?


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