Could Ohio State and FSU Trump the CFP System?
Thursday is when the magic happens.
After a tumultuous time with the College Football Playoff ranking, polls, innuendos and constant bickering amongst fans and media, alike, it is going to happen. Four teams will play two games for a chance to play one game in Dallas for a national title.
This is what college football should be all about.
If there was ever a time for me to say, “Thank you” to the men and woman (Condolezza Rice) for making us sweat just a little bit to get to where we are, this would be the moment. Yes, in my opinion, they got it right with a few caveats. Hopefully this dry run will lead the committee to make changes which include more teams because four is just not enough. Eight teams (when there was really only six teams that had a legitimate gripe) would shut the college football world up and make New Year’s Eve as well as New Year’s Day must see television.
While everyone seems to have given the first round of these playoffs to both Alabama and Oregon, especially with the self-imposed ESPN bias as it would seem against FSU, why wouldn’t a Buckeyes/Seminoles national title game be the right call and prove to be a better matchup than the one media types want in Alabama versus Oregon?
As we all know, when you make plans like this and never second guess yourself, as the CFP seems to have done, something always happens to the ointment are all forced to accept. Hopefully, not this year.
According to Grantland.com, Alabama has held steady as a nine-point favorite for Thursday’s meeting in New Orleans, a huge spread for a game between two top-four teams at a neutral site, and one that probably has more to do with Alabama being Alabama, winner of three national championships since 2009, than with the actual distance between the Crimson Tide and the Buckeyes on the field.
Besides the game Bama actually lost, a 23-17 decision at Ole Miss on October 4, the Tide have also had to sweat out down-to-the-wire wins over Arkansas (by one point) and LSU (in overtime), both of which they trailed in the fourth quarter; they also had to rally from a double-digit deficit in the second half against Auburn (see below).
Ohio State, which may not have played the same quality of opponents as the SEC juggernaut, has been as dominant in their wins as any team in the country. That matters! And with Urban Meyer ruling the Big Ten roost since he set foot on campus in Columbus, there is no reason to believe his team will lay down or anyone after a month to prepare.
Since August, the Buckeyes have lost two of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the nation, yet they played their best game with both of them watching from the sideline. A month-long layoff can be a maddening imposition for a team hitting its stride, but if the outfit that takes the field on Thursday night is the same one that dominated in Indy, it’ll be ludicrous to think of the Buckeyes as underdogs, the article stated.
The same may hold true for the Seminoles and their quest to become back-to-back national champions. Even with the undefeated season (which again, means something), they are a heavy underdog in Pasadena against the Ducks.
Last time I checked, FSU won a national title in California, so this is not as much of a foreign soil as some would think.
With the case of FSU, it would also appear all the tension and distractions off the field with Jameis Winston and other Seminoles players has evaporated (funny how that happens) so the team is focused on one thing – WINNING!
Could it be the offense we thought was going to tear through opponents and capture crystal again, will finally wake up and show its “ugly face?” The Seminoles have been branded as the Evil Empire of college football practically all season. Regardless of where my football allegiances lie, I expect Oregon to finally see how big and bad FSU can be.
While the 2013 Noles arrived in Pasadena as the undisputed overlords of their season, the 2014 team is a substantial underdog, having narrowly survived a string of upset bids from fringe competition. It speaks volumes to the defending champs’ sloppiness this season that the preservation of their win streak wasn’t enough to earn them the top seed even with no other undefeated teams in the running, and it speaks volumes to their resiliency that they’re here nonetheless.
Playing these kinds of games in an atmosphere that equates to major money and of course, plenty of drama is exactly what we have been clamoring for since the 1980s. Now, whether we want to admit it or not, these playoffs are here to stay, the general media will debate them for years now and there will still be discussion over who is in and who is out and whether the final rankings are correct. I say “yes” for now because FSU may be undefeated but the resume is not as strong as people want to admit and the fan base at times is only caught up with the wins and nothing else. Alabama is the best team in a very solid SEC from this year and Oregon is the juggernaut in the west. Ohio State proved to be just as good as everyone else.
So four teams, two games, one title is what we all wanted. That is what we finally got. As fans, we should be careful what we wish for. And while pundits and committee members want one thing – that being Oregon and Alabama with a title on the line, they too should be careful what they wish for.
As well all know, college football is the most unpredictable reality program. And this year, it may just do a complete reversal of fortune. The true beneficiary will be the fans and of course, ratings.