Let’s begin by stating that Georgia is a tremendous team, a program with a future as bright as any in college football. UGA is one of the top three teams in the country.
However, there was no suspense going into Sunday’s announcement as to who’d be announced as the fourth team selected to play in the College Football Championship.
Why? Simple. The CFP criteria used by its 13-member committee was clear: Conference championship, strength of schedule, head-to-head, outcomes of common opponents and other “relevant factors.”
Oddsmakers believed Georgia would be a 3 to 3.5-point favorite over Oklahoma. So that tossed-out caveat was tossed aside. CFP Committee chairman Rob Mullens said “the committee voted that no team (Georgia, OU or Ohio State) was unequivocally better than the other.”
The straw that broke Georgia’s back was addressed when Mullens said, “so then we leaned on the protocol. So we went with the one-loss conference champion.”
The 12-1 Sooners were selected for the fourth and final playoff spot having won their unprecedented fourth straight Big 12 Championship. Two-loss Georgia was fifth, despite not winning the SEC while 12-1 Big 10 champ Ohio State was sixth.
WITH THAT OUT OF THE WAY, WHAT ABOUT “BEST TEAM” THEORY?
I’m so glad I asked myself that question because it’s the second reason for writing this blog.
Just like the no-brainer facts listed above -- the ‘Conference Champ’ element – this second issue is an even bigger no-brainer. But for some reason the talented-&-highly-compensated network TV college football experts spent hours at times emotionally pleading for Georgia’s inclusion, based on the ‘Eye Test.’ Or, the ‘Best Team’ theory. The talented Dawgs were null-and-void before even reaching the following point. But what was never pointed out were the facts that by their ‘Best Team’ definition, Oklahoma would have still been selected.
The Fighting Irish would have been left out.
How? Simple, again. Based on a thorough review of relevant factors, including hypothetical matchups between the teams if played on neutral sites, the information from oddsmakers who do this stuff for a living, clearly shows the ‘best teams’ in the running for a playoff spot.
So what the drama Sunday? The kerfuffle was senseless. These indisputable facts meant the hype was just that. So much over-ventilated hype that I was afraid a couple of the very best guys covering college football were getting a cardio workout.
Do I believe Georgia is one of the best four teams in college football? Yes. Yes and yes.
Do I believe Oklahoma has an enormous challenge taking on the King of the Hill? Of course. And OU’s chances are dramatically reduced if megastar receiver Hollywood Brown isn’t healthy enough to play. His ridiculous speed and playmaking ability is needed more than ever going up against a team full of future pros. It’ll mean more stops – and maybe several more stops – for Bama. Which means OU’s much-maligned defense will have to face additional possessions.
Point is, what is written here is not relative to my Oklahoma background. But what it’s relative to are playoff facts. Facts that should make it clear as a cold beer that all the kerfuffles that were fuffled the past 48 hours were simply irrelevant. And frankly, unsound; not based on the essential set of facts.
And ….. all that talk about Oklahoma needing a healthy -- and soon-to-be wealthy Hollywood Brown – is about to be sidelined with the Heisman drama. Wouldn’t you know it. The QBs of national semifinalists, Alabama and Oklahoma, in a neck-and-neck race to win the Stiffarm Statue. Incredibly, Murray is now the betting favorite.
All I know is that if QB1 wins, you can bank it. This potential ‘best team ever’ will have additional incentive to lay haymakers on the Heisman winner, and his band of brothers.
P.S. Just as it’s not shocking to see and hear Tom Herman’s lack of any playoff support of co-Big 12 rival Oklahoma, it’s worth noting Saint Nick did the two-step. Don’t know how he can say Georgia should be in the playoffs, but turn around and vote this way: 1. Clemson 2. Bama 3. Notre Dame 4. Oklahoma 5. Georgia. But both those guys can coach a little.