And Then There Were 4

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma. I feel the committee got it right. Social media has been buzzing with opinions since the playoff teams were announced yesterday afternoon. Angry Ohio State and Georgia fans threw their 2 cents into the ring. UCF fans continued to voice their disdain over the decisions made by the committee. Fans of the 4 teams that made it rejoiced, both in real life and on Twitter. Oh yeah, they started the smack talk too. To say that all of it wasn’t classy or just fun and games would be a gross understatement.

How does it all break down? It was largely an easy decision, if we’re being honest. The top 3 seeds were a given. Each of them was undefeated, 2 of which did so in a Power 5 conference. Notre Dame, an Independent, is an historical program that never really plays an easy schedule. They belong as well. The controversy came when deciding who the 4th team should be, or, as most of us assume, who gets the opportunity to be trounced by Alabama on national TV.

You had Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgia, and UCF all getting attention here. Let’s start with the easy one to toss aside, with all due respect. UCF has had 2 undefeated seasons in a row now, albeit in a weak conference. Going undefeated in any conference is impressive, regardless of strength. I just don’t see how anyone could put them in the 4 spot with a clear conscience though. If we had an 8 team playoff, they’re in, no doubt. Not under the current system. If they beat LSU in their bowl game, like they beat Auburn last season, then the argument goes next level and the NCAA would have no choice but to push for an 8 team format.

Georgia is automatically out too, and here’s why. The playoff is designed to find out who the best team in the country is. Bama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, and Ohio State have not played each other this season. Georgia has played Alabama. They lost. It is already clear to everyone that they are not the best team in the country. I think they are better than Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma, but it’s irrelevant when you know they’re not the best. That outcome was settled on the field, as it should be.

That leaves us with Oklahoma and Ohio State. These 2 teams are essentially the same team. Both have explosive offenses, both have a sieve for a defense. They also both had only 1 loss this season. That’s where the similarities end. Where Ohio State got trounced by a mediocre Purdue team, Oklahoma lost to Texas, a loss which they avenged in the Big 12 Championship game. When you consider that, Oklahoma gets in over OSU by a slight margin. Beth Mowins had a great idea that I saw her post on Twitter. Let those 2 play a play-in game for the 4th seed. Imagine how many would tune in. And if the NCAA is paying attention………imagine the money that could be generated. The almighty dollar would win again, but so would the fans.

After the bowls are played, the 20/20 hindsight hot takes will be flooding social media. Armchair experts will tell you that they told you all along even though they never really told anyone all along. Prepare yourself for the ‘I must have deleted the tweet’ excuses from these hacks. These are the same people that use ‘we’ when talking about their team, at least until they lose. Then it becomes ‘they’ fairly quickly. Unless you’re on the field making plays, just root for your team and try not to become the keyboard warrior that we all loathe.

Bowl season starts in less than 2 weeks. Let’s enjoy the last of this beloved game, prepare ourselves for the Super Bowl, and before you know it, pitchers and catchers will report. Life is beautiful, folks.

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