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The System Is Broken – Did College Football Just Expose Itself?

Let me begin by saying this…I’m not a College Football Fanatic. Haven’t been for years. The Reggie Bush USC Trojans were probably the last time I really watched College Football religiously every Saturday.

But in a job where you have to talk sports basically everyday, I keep up with the sport. I pop in and watch big matchups throughout the season. I know who the good teams are and the big wins. By the end of the season I know who the top 4 teams are, usually.

I also know that the College Football Playoff is basically ESPN controlling the entire landscape for College Football. And that in my opinion is going to completely ruin the sport.

Let me get this straight…Florida State goes 13-0, defeating 2 SEC schools (LSU and Florida) in the process, stayed ranked in the top 4 all season, won the ACC Championship with their 3rd string QB and compiled more offensive yards in that game than #1 Michigan did in their Big Ten Championship win…and the Noles are OUT?

#1 Michigan and #2 Washington both deserve to be in and got slotted correctly. They have been the two best teams from wire to wire this season. I don’t mind Texas at #3 either. They are 12-1, won the Big 12 Championship convincingly over Oklahoma State and have probably the best win of the season on their record, a 10 point win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa back in September. The Longhorns make sense.

Its when you get to #4 that the issues arise. Alabama defeats previous #1 Georgia by 3 to win the SEC championship on a neutral field. That was enough to move Alabama FOUR spots from 8 to 4, leapfrogging undefeated ACC Champion FSU in the process?

The argument being used is that the Seminoles aren’t as good without QB Jordan Travis, who is out for the season with a severe lower leg injury. Instead of rewarding Florida State for 3 months of wins and no losses, playing marquee games out of conference and basically handling business, the College Football Playoff committee went instead with optics. They decided that Alabama vs Michigan would get way more eyeballs than Florida State vs Michigan. Forget that the Noles are 13-0. Forget that they never dropped below 4th all season. The committee just told us, none of that matters. Even though in the entire history of the College Football Playoff an undefeated Power Five conference champion has never been left out of the college football playoffs. EVER.

Alabama has the worst loss of any of the four. A 10 point loss to Big 12 champ Texas AT HOME. But the argument is, well that happened back in September and Alabama got better since then. So we’re going to use that as a badge FOR Alabama, they got better AFTER that loss and should be rewarded for the growth.

Ah, so we can ignore that Alabama lost a game, as long as its in September? What other program gets that luxury? The Georgia Bulldogs, who hadn’t lost a game in going on 2 years until Saturday, dropped from #1 to #6 after losing by 3 on a neutral field to Alabama?

Is Georgia a top 4 team in the country? Pretty much everyone agrees, yes they are. So how can you leap frog Alabama over both Georgia AND Florida State…but Florida State is still ranked ahead of Georgia?How does that make sense? We were just told by the committee that the Jordan Travis injury was the main factor in dropping the Noles. But it wasn’t a factor in ranking Florida State ahead of 2 time defending National Champ Georgia?

Things I learned from Saturday’s selection show:

  1. Its Alabama and everyone else. If Alabama loses in September? Cool. As long as they run the table and win the SEC they are going to get into the playoff.
  2. SEC perception is real. Did you know the SEC was 7-10 overall as a conference head to head vs the ACC this year? But the ACC was supposed to be down this year? That perception that the SEC invented College Football has aided the top of that conference every year. Cant drop Alabama too far after a loss…you know they play in the SEC after all.
  3. SEC fans are full of it. I’ve heard the phrase “Winning a SEC title is harder than winning a National Championship” so many times this weekend. Its a ridiculous, bombastic, self absorbed statement.
  4. ESPN/Fox run College Football and will ultimately cause a split. I fully believe with the decision to leave FSU out of the playoff, we have started down a track where we will have a “Power 3” of the SEC, Big Ten and some combination of the Big 12 and ACC in the next decade. I also think that College Football will eventually break away from the NCAA all together. Television already runs the postseason. Bowls are basically meaningless except for the two teams playing.
  5. Florida State has an inflated value of self worth. Remember all Fall how FSU screamed to the heavens that they wanted to leave the ACC because they weren’t getting their fair share of revenue? And how they are stuck due to the iron clad “Grant of Rights” that prevents any ACC School from leaving until 2036? This showed that the Seminoles played themselves. First, what conference would want FSU after this? The SEC already has a footprint in Florida. FSU in the Big Ten isn’t a good fit for either side. Maybe the Big 12? How is that much better than being a top brand in the ACC, especially with Texas and Oklahoma leaving? Florida State thought that being great in the 90s every year would translate into a payday and invite from a Power Two league today. That’s not going to happen and the committee just showed why. Florida State is a brand. But they are not the same level of brand as Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Georgia, USC, Texas, etc. They are a tier below. If Florida State was the same level of brand name, they would have been in the playoffs this year.

So, America got what it wanted. Well most of America. #1 Michigan vs #4 Alabama and #2 Washington vs #3 Texas. Is it the four best teams in the country? No. But you can argue its the four biggest brands currently in football. And that’s what ESPN really wanted in the first place.

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