The College Football Playoff committee probably felt a bunch of geniuses after the results of all the bowl games played Thursday. The question was whether or not Ohio State should have made it over the two Big 12 teams. With Ohio State’s win, they made the committee look good.
Yes, the committee features some really smart people. However, the committee still got this playoff bracket wrong. While Baylor didn’t carry their weight, TCU proved it was worthy.
One thing the committee certainly got correct was leaving Baylor out. The Baylor Bears played a soft non-conference schedule which featured Buffalo, Northwestern State and SMU. These teams combined for a total of four victories against Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Add in the fact the Big 12 Conference is a miserable 1-4 in bowl games as of Thursday night, so Baylor’s “strength of conference” argument seems like a complete joke.
The Bears did not back up their argument at all when they blew a 20-point lead against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. Baylor hired a public relations firm and did everything in its power to shout down the idea that TCU should be in over the Bears. Earlier this season, Baylor trailed TCU by 21 points at home. The Bears eventually came back to defeat the Horned Frogs and used this as their main point as to why Baylor should break into the College Football Playoff over TCU.
The Big 12 Conference considered Baylor and TCU as co-champions, despite promoting the idea of “One True Champion” all season long. Egg was splattered all over the conferences’ face when neither team made it into the bracket.
Baylor was placed into the Cotton Bowl and blew a 20-point lead against Michigan State. This has become a proving point as to why Baylor did not deserve to be in the College Football Playoff. It has also become a symbol of irony as this is the same exact reasoning Baylor had pushed to gain an edge over TCU in the selection process.
In addition to the blown loss, this creates a circle of chaos for which conference is the best and which teams are better. Michigan State was dominated by Ohio State 49-37. The Buckeyes defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl 42-35. The Crimson Tide lost to Ole Miss 23-17. Ole Miss had one of the worst bowl performances this season as they were humiliated by TCU 42-3. That is where the circle ends and begins again. TCU had as strong an argument as anyone in the country for making the playoff. Florida State proved to be what Denny Green so famously said: “We are who we thought they were.” FSU was an overrated team who kept slipping by mediocre opponents on their way to an undefeated season.
While the circle of results can be used for debate on which conference is better and who should be in the College Football Playoff, one thing is certain: TCU performed like a team who should be in the playoff. Baylor did not, and the Bears made the College Football Playoff committee look brilliant.
As if the blown lead was not enough, Baylor traveled only 101 miles to play in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Michigan State was forced to travel 1,170 miles from their campus. In addition, Baylor now plays a game at AT&T Stadium every year against Texas Tech. This was pretty much a home game for Baylor, and the Bears disappointed.
In the meantime, Ohio State did everything in its power to prove it belonged in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes beat No.1 Alabama in New Orleans. What made the win even more impressive for the Buckeye was that this was a practically a home game for the Crimson Tide, with the mileage difference similar to that of Michigan State-Baylor. The Big Ten had a great day Thursday with Michigan State and Ohio State winning. TCU will not get the shot to win it all this season. The arguments will continue for eternity regardless of whether the Buckeyes defeat Oregon for the national championship or not. But, what can no longer be argued: the committee called Baylor a spade, and Baylor proved them correct.