Long live chaos, let chaos rule football today
So how do YOU spell chaos? I spell it College Football Playoff.
I don’t hide it, I love college football; it’s my favorite sports hands down. After that it’s a toss-up between the NFL and Major League Baseball. But it isn’t a race for No. 1, it’s college football by a Secretriat-in-the-Belmont distance (31 lengths if you don’t know anything about horse racing).
This weekend we will finally find out what the previous 14 weeks have led up to — the announcement of the four teams that will fill out the college football playoff bracket. And oh the drama we will see, which is the reason for the chaos.
Regardless of what plays out Saturday on the field, there will be moaning, groaning, complaining, inanimate objects hurled and kicked, yelling, screaming … you get the point. Someone is not going to be happy, and they probably will at least in part have a legitimate argument.
The only thing we know for certain is that Alabama at No. 1 is in the playoff regardless if the Crimson Tide wins or loses today. Ohio State doesn’t play but is a near lock at No. 2, but stranger things have happened and there are (slim) arguments that the Buckeyes shouldn’t be in. If Clemson at No. 3 beats No. 23 Virginia Tech in the ACC title game, it’s in.
The real drama begins with the fourth team, and while No. 4 Washington is in that spot now even if it wins there will be detractors (this is being written before the Pac 12 title game was played Friday night.). All you have to do is listen to the “experts” and you get a clear view of nothing but muddy waters. An oxymoron, true, but a better assessment probably has never been written about this past week of debate.
One look at the top 10 teams and you can see where all the arguments begin, but certainly don’t end. Michigan at No. 5 is currently on the outside looking in after the Wolverines lost to Ohio State. But, Michigan has wins over No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 7 Penn State, who play each other for the Big Ten title, and No. 8 Colorado, which plays Washington for the Pac 12 title. Ohio State lost to Penn State but has wins over Michigan and Wisconsin and No. 9 Oklahoma, which plays No. 10 Oklahoma State.
Confused yet? It gets better.
What if Penn State or Wisconsin beats the other by four or five touchdowns? What if Clemson loses? What if Washington loses or gets blown out?
Part of the arguments stem from whether a conference champion should get preference over non champs. If that is the case, there is an argument for the Big Ten champion against Michigan and Ohio State.
Head to head matters, so Michigan has better consideration over Penn State, Wisconsin and Colorado but not Ohio State. The argument for Colorado if it beats Washington soundly, with lots of other things needing to happen, is that it lost to Michigan without its top quarterback. Should that really matter?
What about Oklahoma State? It has two losses, but if it wins the Big 12 title shouldn’t it be considered? One of its losses is the controversial loss to Central Michigan in week 2.
Then there is the momentum argument. Michigan lost two of its last three games. Ohio State might have lost to Michigan State if not for a strange two-point conversion attempt by the Spartans and it also struggled against Northwestern before that. Momentum goes the other way for Oklahoma, which hasn’t lost since Ohio State beat it in week 3.
An eight-team playoff would work if executed right. All the conference champions get an automatic berth. So, too, does the best team from what is called the Group of Five (the non-Power 5 conferences). The final two teams are at-large berths.
The two at-large teams must be the No. 7 and 8 seeds. The only way they get moved is if the seeding pairs them against a conference foe in the first round.
Still confused? Good. This weekend is not going to give us a clear-cut final four. There will be moaning, groaning, complaining …
I love chaos.
Steve Murch can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5686. Follow Steve on Twitter @sm_alpenanews. Read his blog, Pardon, Me But … at www.thealpenanews.com.