If your team got in — yes, the College Football Playoff selection committee got it right. If you are Urban Meyer or Ohio State fans, or USC, or Central Florida — no, there is a flaw in the system.
In the playoffs — Clemson of the ACC, Oklahoma of the Big 12, and Georgia and Alabama of the SEC. These teams are loving the system of a panel of 13 “unbiased” experts picking the final four teams.
Better than the BCS system, the committee had a hard choice this year. The first three teams were pretty easy — ACC champion Clemson is No. 1; Big 12 champion Oklahoma is No. 2; and SEC champion Georgia is No. 3.
The fourth and final spot is the one people are talking about. An Alabama team that didn’t even win its own division in its own conference is in, while two Power 5 conference champions are not. Not to mention undefeated Central Florida, which really never had a chance to begin with.
There is no real criteria for picking the final four teams. Is it for the best four teams or the most deserving four teams? They talk about the “eye test.” Well, when you have 13 committee members, those 13 pairs of eyes may see different things.
Here was the dilemma: Alabama had one loss but didn’t play a tough schedule. The Tides’ best win was against LSU. Ohio State had two losses, but played a tougher schedule and beat better teams along the way. The same can be said for USC.
So it goes back to the eye test of the “unbiased” committee members. They are so virtuous and unbiased that when the committee is discussing a team that a committee member is affiliated with, they are recused.
But there is a big flaw in that thinking. A playoff berth means money for the team’s conference members. There is more at stake than just playing a game. There’s money involved. And we all know how that can change an “eye test.”
For example: The University of Oregon has two representatives on the panel — Rob Mullens is the Oregon Athletic Director and Tom Jernstedt, who now works for the NCAA, played football at Oregon. Now, if Oregon were in the discussion, or when the panel discussed USC (each team is in the Pac 12), those two would be dismissed, right? But are they dismissed when discussing the two other teams — Alabama and Ohio State — who are also vying for that last playoff spot? Hmmm.
No matter how respected the committee members are, and no matter how unbiased they intend to be, there will always be slanted thinking, because these people are connected with certain universities and conferences. And there are no more loyal people on the planet than college football people.
Sports talk TV says choosing Alabama over Ohio State devalues the conference championship games? Why play a conference championship game if it carries no weight?
Or you can do it like Alabama. Schedule cupcakes and float into the playoffs on your reputation.
Because let’s face it — it’s pretty easy to pass the “eye test” when you are playing teams like Mercer.