Opponent’s aggregate W-L record 16-26. An average opponent record of 3-5. One ranked foe — and the only win over a team with a winning record, by 7 points. Five total games played. A season that began a week before Halloween, two full months after the rest of the country began play. One ad hoc fixed vote to permit a conference championship appearance. And a lot of institutional pull.
That is Ohio State’s resume. That is the team that CFP has declared is the 4th best in all the land.
The fix is in.
There is simply no other way to describe the College Football Playoff Committee’s most recent baffling series of rankings, one where a Cincinnati team is flat-out ignored. A body of work where CU has looked like a transcendent Group of 5 team beating three then-ranked Top 25 teams; a body of work which boasts an overall 8-0 record over the nation’s 14th toughest schedule.
It is a grimy window through which we peer at Clemson’s 17th-place schedule and its 1-1 record against ranked teams and its one loss, and have decided that such work is exalted above the Bearcats. It is through this darkest of looking glasses that a 34th-ranked ISU schedule — the Cyclones of two losses and a 17-point home beatdown at the hands of a Sun Belt team — is considered to be of more quality than that which Luke Fickell’s squad has accomplished.
This says nothing of how good the Sun Belt was this year — where four teams were or are currently ranked in the Top 25; where the conference went 3-0 against the Big 12 on the road in Week One; where the Conference winner beat three ranked teams, including No. 7 BYU; where the SBC runner-up smacked around the Committee’s 2-loss golden child, the Iowa State Cyclones. But, I ask: whence Coastal Carolina?
It’s not about competitiveness. Everyone know what a Midmajor can do. Ask Alabama. Ask Oklahoma (a few times, on that account). Ask Auburn if they want to see UCF again, or if Penn State wants to tussle with Memphis on a neutral field, or if Iowa State wants to be bullied up front by directional Louisiana again — much less by a team that’s even better than the Cajuns?
It is none of those things.
No, it is instead a foul, corrupt cash grab by the Power 5, where the name on your jersey and the named placard on committee members’ chairs, means a helluva lot more than what a team does on the field.
This was the Black Swan year that would have permitted us to engage in a frank discussion of whether a conference runner-up, or a team that didn’t even win its division, was truly more worthy of an outstanding midmajor that ran the table against quality teams. And we did not even begin to have that discussion.
Instead, what we got from the CFP Committee weren’t merely indigenous justifications, they were outright fabrications.
- In dropping Florida just one spot for losing at home a 2-5 team, we were told that UF being without Kyle Pitts was the decider — as though a Tight End gave up 37 points to the LSU Tigers — the second-most points scored by LSU all season.
- In elevating Georgia above Cincinnati for a routine win over a 4-loss Mizzou team, we were told to ignore that Georgia had no quality wins, and lost to the only ranked teams they played. And that, despite the secondary getting lit up like a Christmas tree against quality teams, somehow it was the now-settled nature of UGA’s quarterbacking that we should focus on
- Of course, to obviate that boo-boo of no wins over Top 25 teams, we were told that 5-4 Mizzou was actually a ranked team, so Georgia’s SOS is pretty good after all! (Of course, that requires ranking Mizzou to get there...which the Committee obliged!)
- We were told that Florida, which has faced two teams from the West and lost both, is somehow worth of playing for a national title. In a sane world, this squad isn’t worth playing for an SEC title.
- We were told that Iowa State’s qualifications for being exalted were “they’re leading the Big 12.” Which means exactly what, Gary? They’re the best of two teams in the flyover with two-losses (everyone else having at least three?)
All these and more: They’re lies.
The AAC is furious, and they have every right to be. Fans have even more of a right to be angry. No one likes to have their leg pissed on and be told it’s raining, and no one likes liars.
But, to a person, the members of the College Football Playoff Committee are just that — liars. Worse, they think we’re credulous fools that will swallow their lies in silence as they represent an increasingly-meritless system that grabs increasingly larger sums of cash to distribute to a smaller and smaller slice of the College Football population. A system that, in fact, locks out half of its members before the games are even played.
If I am Cincinnati, I see absolutely no reason to play this week. The SBC has already called off its championship game (ostensibly for the ‘Rona, but who knows?) And, hey, why not? If the Committee wants to do what it was always going to do, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for any of us to give them the benefit of the doubt, or the Group of 5 to give Gary Barta, or any other of these rogues, political cover.
The jig is up, Gary. Either do your job better or lie better.
I was always threatened with coal in my stocking for being naughty at Christmas. And as disappointing as that may be, I’ll still take that over the sack full of manure you put under the tree this year.