by Dustin Aubert
Yesterday, the College Football Ranking Committee released the four teams that would participate if the final four started today. With one week of regular season games remaining, needless to say, we are in for an exciting weekend.
With this being college football’s first try at a playoff system, the process has been nothing short of chaotic. As of this writing, (on Dec. 3) the four playoff teams would be Alabama at No. 1, Oregon at No. 2, TCU seeded third and Florida State at No. 4. The College Football Selection Committee—comprised of former college coaches, current college athletic directors and even politician Condoleezza Rice—is responsible for selecting these teams. The job of this panel is to look at every college team’s record, look at the season’s schedule and matchup, and then essentially argue for hours on end to decide which four teams are “good enough” to make it into the final four playoff bracket. This is where it gets tricky.
Currently, Alabama is No. 1. The Crimson Tide have a record of 11-1, and they play in the very difficult SEC West, so they are known as playing the toughest schedule. If the Tide win this weekend against Missouri in the SEC championship, they are locked in as the top seed. Oregon is No. 2, also with a record of 11-1. The Ducks play in the tough Pac-12 conference, and if they beat No. 7, Arizona, this weekend in the PAC-12 championship, they will be locked in at No. 2.
Texas Christian University is currently ranked third, with a record of 10-1. TCU plays in the softer Big-12 conference, which confusingly enough does not have a Big-12 championship. This is really unfortunate because Baylor is ranked No. 6 and is eagerly trying to sneak into the final four. In a perfect world, there would be a Big-12 championship where TCU would play Baylor, and the winner would be in the playoff. Currently TCU and Baylor have identical records at 10-1; when the two teams met earlier this season, Baylor won. But because the selection committee feels TCU played a tougher preseason schedule, it is ranked ahead of Baylor.
Ohio State is currently sitting at No. 5, and could sneak into the playoff with a convincing win this weekend, but with quarterback J.T. Barrett out with an injury, the committee feels Ohio State may not be good enough to make the playoff without Barrett playing quarterback. With Florida State currently holding the fourth spot with a record of 12-0, coupled with the fact that it plays in the very soft ACC, it seems almost impossible that Ohio State will sneak into the final four.