When Jalen Hurts and the Alabama Crimson Tide came back to beat the Georgia Bulldogs for the SEC Championship, that was it. The Oklahoma Sooners had reached the College Football Playoff. Or at least that’s how it should be.
Why, you ask? Well, it’s really not that complicated, despite the SEC bias running rampant from some major media folks on social media.
Omg that game 😳😳😳
How can you NOT put Georgia in the #CFBPlayoff???
— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) December 2, 2018
Alabama and Georgia are the only two teams with two wins away from home vs current CFP Top 15 teams.
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) December 2, 2018
Kirk Herbstreit just said he thinks the committee will move Georgia UP to No. 3.
“I don’t get caught up in champions I get caught up in ‘best.'”
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 2, 2018
Imagine if Georgia had blown an even larger lead, they might be up to No. 2!
Hell, even the SEC was lobbying for itself.
Nick Saban says Georgia deserves to the be in the playoff. “I sure as hell don’t want to play them again.”
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) December 2, 2018
Let the record state: This is not a knock on Clay Travis, who I thoroughly enjoy, but his tweet is where I found the quote from Saban on Georgia’s playoff changes.
Why would Nick Saban lobby for Georgia? Because it keeps the SEC atop the perch of the college football world. That’s good for the conference. It allows Alabama in 2017 to not even play in a conference championship game, or even win its division, and reach the Playoff. If the SEC continues to be perceived as head and shoulders above the rest of the Power 5 conferences, then Nick Saban essentially gets himself a mulligan every season. Who wouldn’t want one of those? Saban is calculated. He says and does what is good for Saban and Alabama.
For all the discussion of heavy analytics, that’s now out the window in the debate. Had Georgia beat Alabama, then there would have been a very real argument to be made between Oklahoma and Alabama. But that’s not the case in OU vs. Georgia.
Here’s a large part of what this should come down to: Oklahoma won every home game, every road game and beat every team on its Power 5 schedule. The only other teams who can say that are Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame.
If we are going to find justifications for Georgia, then here’s what we need to do: blow up conferences. Remember, it was 2014 when the reason Ohio State got in over TCU and Baylor was because, well, Ohio State won its 13th data point, and a conference championship game.
So if all else is equal, which it really isn’t between Oklahoma and Georgia, then at the very least, the winning of a supposedly very important 13th data point should factor in, no?
If you want another compelling perspective, here is what Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt had to say on this topic:
“In the history of college football, in the AP Poll era, you go back to the 30’s and Minnesota, in the first ever AP Poll, won the National Championship without winning the Big Ten. And then it took until 2011 until we crowned another National Champion that didn’t win their conference, that was Alabama in 2011 over LSU… I’m tired of crowning National Champions that did not win their conference championship.”
“I’m tired of crowning national champions that did not win their conference championship.”@joelklatt says whoever loses the SEC Championship should be left OUT of the Playoff. pic.twitter.com/RCqH2pzgm4
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 2, 2018
The Georgia or SEC fan boy is going to try and justify this loss, citing OU playing a three-loss team in the conference title game, or OU’s lack of defense, or needing OT to beat Army (who is 10-2, by the way). Of course, the reverse game can be played: Georgia got smoked by a three-loss LSU team and blew a double-digit lead to a back up quarterback on Saturday.
All of that is beside the point.
If we are going to begin the business of crediting teams for losses, then just don’t play the games anymore. Just go through the 247/Rivals recruiting rankings, go see who has had the best average recruiting classes the past 3-4 years, and stick them in a playoff at the end of the season. Wins and losses be damned.
Georgia had itself a two-score lead in the second half taking on a team who had its Heisman-caliber quarterback on the sidelines with an injury. And you lost the game. Hell, and I say this somewhat facetiously, Georgia shouldn’t get in for the simple fact that Kirby Smart’s fake punt may go down as one of the biggest and most bone-headed big-game decisions in college football in a long time.
That stinks. But better luck next year.
As for Ohio State, that’s not even worthy of discussion. But I’ll spend one sentence on it: 29-point loss to Purdue.
The Sooners should be in.
**Sign up here for our HCS weekly e-mails for a chance to win FREE Heartland College Sports and Big 12 team gear!!**