One thing that many college football pundits and fans worried about with the demise of the BCS was that the talking points would be gone. That is to say, sports talk radio and sports television wouldn’t have nearly the guesswork and hyperbole to dwell over for the final six weeks of the season.
Common thought was that with four teams making the final four playoff, there would be no need to have endless discussions about who would be in and who would be out. I think we can safely say that this notion has been crushed. In fact, I would go so far as to say the discussion of the new playoff system is already more intense and more interesting than it ever was in the BCS.
Look no further than this past week’s committee unveiling of the latest top four teams. For me personally, the whole thing is essentially a waste of time. What sense is there in getting all worked up over a “projected” final four when there are so many games yet to be played?
The big argument this week stems over the committee’s decision to place 8-1 TCU ahead of fellow one-loss team Alabama and to have once beaten Oregon jump over unbeaten Florida State. What is clear beyond any doubt is that the committee could care less about a team’s record right now and is much more enamored in a team’s strength of schedule.
While the Seminoles have remained unbeaten, their victories have been less than impressive. While I see the committee’s thinking, isn’t the one, over-ridding objective to win football games? Should and will “style points” matter?
Perhaps the more fascinating dilemma facing the committee will be with TCU and Big 12 rival Baylor. The Bears and Horned Frogs each have one loss. Baylor suffered theirs on the road at West Virginia while TCU suffered their only loss at Baylor in a close shootout. Normally the head-to-head is the clincher and this discussion would go no further.
Head-to-head does not appear to be the number one concern for this committee at the current time with TCU ahead of Baylor. The only logical explanation is strength of schedule which clearly favors the Frogs. If we assume both teams win out and finish 11-1, will the committee stick to its’ current platform which puts strength of schedule ahead of head-to-head.
This notion will be tested again this coming weekend when top-ranked Mississippi State travels to fifth-ranked Alabama who has one loss. If the Bulldogs lose a close contest to Bama I have to believe that the committee will keep both the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs in the top four. That would likely mean TCU would get the boot and would put to rest any debate over whether the Frogs or the Bears should get a top four nod.
All of this conjecture, as I stated in the opening, is futile. Fans in Arizona will have arguments as will fans in Ohio and on and on and on… Eventually the college football playoff will be set and the debate will rage not on who is in but on who is out.
The next step of course will be calling for an eight-team playoff and then 16. I believe the eight-team playoff will come in the future but that’s as far as it will go in my opinion. For the next few weeks anyway, enjoy all the arguing and dissecting of every team. In the end, it really won’t matter much.