The College Football Playoff Committee Completely Disrespected Baylor
Remember the final college football playoff rankings back in 2014? It was the first season of the new system and when the season was over, Ohio State got in over both TCU and Baylor due to a 13th data point.
Just a few years later, the Big 12 welcomed back a conference title game to help their chances of getting into the top four. In fact, they still remain as the only conference that guarantees the two top teams play in the title game. No lopsided divisions would play a role in determining the winner of the Big 12. If you win it, you clearly are the best team in the conference.
Now every Tuesday in the month of November, the playoff committee releases their weekly playoff rankings. It features a chairman of the committee who explains why the teams are ranked where they are. If you are a sucker like me, you watch every single week and if you have played close enough attention over the years, you have realized that their narratives change not only week to week but from team to team.
There is no better example of that then when the final College Football Playoff rankings were released this past Sunday. By no means did I expect Baylor to sneak into the top four as a two-loss champion, but I did wonder why they were ranked seventh. The teams ranked ahead of them were Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Three of those teams were conference champions while Georgia lost in the SEC title game to the number one ranked team which was their first loss of the season. Now which of these teams don’t belong in the top six? That would be Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Ohio State not only didn’t win their conference, but they didn’t even have the chance to considering the fact that they didn’t even win their own division. The Buckeyes suffered two losses this season just like Baylor did. However, the Bears were able to beat a top ten team in the Big 12 championship game while Ohio State sat at home and watched Michigan win the Big Ten. I guess the 13th data point didn’t matter.
As for Notre Dame, they don’t even play in a conference, so they only get 12 games. In those 12 games do you know how many top 15 wins the Fighting Irish had? It’s a big fat zero. They beat absolutely nobody and got rewarded for it.
Clueless Gary Barta
Interestingly enough, a future Big 12 school got the short end of the stick as well when the rankings came out. A 10-2 BYU team was placed behind a 10-3 Utah team and an 11-2 Pitt team. The reasoning for it? According to Gary Barta: “The two teams that are ahead of them both won conference championships.”
Keep in mind BYU beat Utah earlier in the season but if that is committee’s reason then fine. But wait a second, if Utah and Pitt were ranked ahead of BYU due to the fact that they won conference championships then why was Baylor still ranked behind a team like Ohio State? Gary’s said that “The committee just felt Ohio State was a better football team than Baylor. Both terrific teams, but Ohio State was the better team.”
It’s funny that there was ZERO mention of a conference championship there. I guess the 13th data point argument only applies to certain teams. Someone also brought up an interesting point that Baylor jumped Ole Miss for winning the Big 12 but not Ohio State or Notre Dame. Maybe it is because Ohio State and Notre Dame are “blue bloods” or maybe the fact the top six teams get more airtime on ESPN because their playoff graphics always include the top two left out of the playoff.
In the grand scheme of things some of you are wondering why I am going through all this trouble about a team who never had a shot to make the playoff to begin with and that’s fair. However, the reason teams like Baylor don’t have a fair shot at the playoff is for the reasons I just mentioned earlier. The system is rigged due to human element. This has never been about getting the four best or most deserving teams in. It’s all about the logo on the helmet and whether or not it looks good on tv because in the end, money rules everything.