By Joe Giordano || Sports Editor
In a college football season filled with tons of drama, the last weekend of play certainly lacked the craziness the rest of the season was filled with. Going into the final week of the season, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Washington were ranked as the top four teams in the College Football Playoff rankings and all managed to avoid defeat in the last weekend of play. So it seems the selection committee has an easy time of selecting the top four teams who will enter the playoff. Not exactly.
While none of the top four teams lost, only three of the four played for their conference championships. Alabama, Clemson, and Washington all conquered their respective conference championships respectively, all but clinching their spots in the playoff. However, Ohio State, who is 11-1, did not qualify for the conference championship. They sat at home like the rest of us and watched the Penn State Nittany Lions take home the Big Ten Championship against 6th ranked Wisconsin. While, Penn State has 2 losses, they have made a very compelling argument for their inclusion in the playoff.
Not only did they win their conference championship, but they also beat Ohio State in a game this past October. This is where things get tricky. Ohio State only has one loss on their resume and that was a road game against Penn State. They also have three wins against top ten opponents. Penn State on the other hand has two top ten wins but also has two losses on their record. This is where the selection committee will have a difficult time deciding between the two Big Ten titans.
When the selection committee was first originated, its purpose was to ensure that the top four teams from around the country competed for a chance to win a National Championship. Their main points of emphasis when deciding between two teams were head to head wins and conference championships. This is where Penn State has the distinct edge. However, when looking at the eye test, Ohio State may seem as though they are the better option, with their lone loss coming on the road to a top five opponent.
In my opinion, a team who did not win their conference championship and did not beat the conference champion on the field should not be in the College Football Playoff over the champion. This “eye test” compares teams based on a hypothetical “who would beat who if they played on the field”. What better eye test do you need besides an actual matchup between the two teams on the field, in which Penn State won.
I realize this decision will be very difficult for the selection committee, as they have never been put in this situation before. However, Penn State is the better option to represent the Big Ten if they only choose one Big Ten team. If they don’t, the whole concept of Conference Championships is rendered pointless. This is why unless, they decide to drop Washington or Clemson out, Ohio State should be on the outside looking in when the bowls are selected for.
Junior Joe Giordano is the Sports Editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.