It’s pretty rare that I lead the Monday show with college football. Usually by Monday, the drama of a college football Saturday has faded, but not this Monday. The drama that started Saturday and went to the next level yesterday isn’t going to be fading for a while. And no, for once I’m not talking about the Tennessee coach search catastrophe. I’m talking about the college football playoff.
The final seeds were announced yesterday and the top three spots were obvious: Clemson, Oklahoma, and Georgia. And then things got interesting, because you had two teams for the fourth spot. Ohio State and Alabama.
Ohio State beat #4 Wisconsin 27-21 in the Big Ten Championship game Saturday night while Alabama didn’t anything. So the Buckeyes had to be feeling pretty good about themselves. A conference title from one of the two toughest conferences, plus three wins against the final top 20 surely meant that they were in, right? . EHHHHHHH!! Wrong. The committee took Alabama.
Which means we’re about to get Clemson-Alabama III. Hey, Dabo, congrats on another incredible regular season. Your reward is Nick Saban. But you know Dabo isn’t going to complain about what happened yesterday.
And you know Ohio State fans ARE going to complain about what happened yesterday. And I get it… Not really.
The truth is, Ohio State wasn’t eliminated from the college football playoff on the first Sunday in December, they were eliminated on the first Saturday in November when they lost to Iowa 55-24. In other words, Ohio State has nobody to blame but themselves.
Yes, Buckeye fans can argue they have the better wins and the better resume, and they’d be right. Alabama played and beat nobody. Their last game was a double-digit loss to Auburn and their best win was, LSU? The same LSU who lost to Troy? If LSU loses to Troy, then beating LSU is not a good win… And that was Bama’s BEST WIN. Good luck with that argument.
And that “signature win” over Florida State doesn’t look too good either, does it?. In fact, I’d argue that win over Fresno State is better than the win over Florida State, but with all due respect to the Bulldogs, if you’re hoping that will boost your strength of schedule, you’ve got a problem. Especially since they just lost to Boise State. But, while Alabama didn’t beat anyone like Wisconsin, Penn State, or Michigan State, they also didn’t lose to Iowa by 31. Lose to an average Iowa team by more than four touchdowns and you can’t complain. Period.
That hospital job trumps anything good they may have done. That horrific loss wipes out all their good wins. The committee said as much and Urban Meyer didn’t even bother arguing. Urb himself knows if you lose to an average Iowa team by 31, you best not try to argue that you’re one of the four best teams in the country: it’s a joke. It’s laughable. And Urb knows it. Which is why he told ESPN: “I was kind of hoping we had those good wins. Three against the top 16 teams in America. But I get it.” And he added: “The bottom line is we had a tough road loss.”
EHHHH!! WRONG AGAIN, URB. A tough road loss losing is losing to your rival on a last second field goal. Getting curbstomped by an average Iowa teams is something totally different; and you know it. So don’t get it twisted. That was not a tough road loss. That was an embarrassment to you, your program and the committee who couldn’t see clear of it to put you in. And they were right not to. You’re not coming back from a loss like that. At least not in the way of making it into the playoff.
In the past, the lesson had been that good wins are better than bad losses, but after yesterday the lesson is: don’t lose to Iowa by 31. Hell, if they even keep it within three t.d.s maybe they’re in. But they couldn’t. So they’re not. And they don’t have any argument because of it.
And another lesson is: don’t really pay too much attention to what the College Football Playoff selection committee says from week to week. Last week, committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said that there was “very little separation in the committee’s eyes between teams 5 through 8.” If they were serious about that, and then number 8 Ohio State beat number 4 to win a conference championship, while Number 5 Alabama were, to quote Charlie Weis from back in the day, “home eating cheeseburgers” then one would expect Ohio State would be in. But they’re not.
And let’s go ahead and be real about this too, if this was anyone other than Alabama, we aren’t having this conversation. If that was TCU who was 11-1, coming off a loss and hadn’t really beaten anyone of note, they’re not getting the benefit of the doubt. A lot of this is about having those numbers on their helmets and Nick Saban on the sideline. And wouldn’t it be so Nick Saban to barely get in and then go win the whole thing.
So let me quickly run down the arguments against both: Alabama: they didn’t win their division much less their conference. They didn’t beat anybody. And when they got their chance to make a statement, they got slapped by their rival. Who turned around and got slapped by Georgia. And one of their so-called big wins was against Fresno State. And if you’re arguing that you should be in the playoff because you beat Fresno State, then your argument is not very good. Especially since Fresno State just lost. And how do you argue for a second team in the SEC, over a team that won its power five conference? How do you argue that Alabama is quote unequivocally better than Ohio State, when just last week, the committee said there really wasn’t much difference between most of the top teams. How do you argue that they’re unequivocally better, when the team you’re arguing against, just beaten a previously unbeaten team win their power five conference, and you’re sitting at home eating cheeseburgers. And by the way, how rich is it that Chuck Weis ever accused anyone else of sitting at home and slamming cheeseburgers. So no, I can’t argue for Alabama, but there are your arguments against them.
And here’s my argument against Ohio State… they got hospital jobbed by an average Iowa team by 31. There’s my argument. You’re not one of the four best teams in the country if you can’t stay within four t.d.s’ of Iowa.
So while most of the country is losing their mind arguing for either Ohio State or Alabama, I’m just going argue against both of them. I’m not picking one over the other, because they both have flaws. They both have warts. And instead of saying I could argue for either. I’m going to say I can argue against both.