By Joe Yamulla II Layout Assistant
There is a lot of buzz going around about the conclusion of the 2014-2015 college football season. The ending of every season always brings energy and excitement, as National Title hopes grow and bowl games get closer. However, this season is different than any other season before. It is the first year of the college football playoff system, and its format has a lot of people talking and wondering which teams the selection committee will choose to play in it.
For years college football fans have been complaining that their team has no chance of playing in a National Title game because of controversial aspects that affect their team’s ranking. For example, many fans of schools like Oregon, TCU, and Baylor, felt that their team would never play in a championship because of the conference their schools play in. These people hoped that the playoffs would finally give their teams a chance to play for a championship, and it is.
Well, it is here, but there is still controversy over who gets in. Because college football has so many teams, in order to be ranked in the top four they need to pass the “eye candy test.” This means that teams not only have to win almost every game on their schedule, but they also need to win convincingly. For example, Baylor is ranked number six. TCU is ranked number three. Earlier this season, in a great and close game, Baylor beat TCU. Many Baylor fans are dumbfounded about why TCU is ranked above them. The answer lies in the previously mentioned eye test. Baylor ended up losing to an average West Virginia team, and barely squeaking by against a clearly superior Texas Tech team. So, Baylor only has one loss, but they have not shown the selection committee the one thing that is expected — dominance.
It seems to be almost unfair that these teams need to be literally perfect in order to compete for a National Championship. There are just so many variables that go into play. First is the previously mentioned concept of conference. The SEC is clearly the strongest conference in all of college football. Alabama, who plays in the SEC, is currently ranked as the number one overall team. The Alabama Crimson Tide have a record of 11-1. Florida State is ranked number four and their record is a perfect 12-0.
As a matter of fact, the Florida State Seminoles are better than perfect this season; they haven’t lost a game in over two years. They were undefeated last year and won the National Championship. Fans of the Seminoles have been pretty frustrated with the fact that their team has not lost in years, and they are only ranked at number four.
Yet, when the variables of college football selection are analyzed, it is a fair and accurate ranking. Florida State may not have lost, but they have not had any impressive wins. First off, they play in the ACC, which is clearly not on the same level as the powerhouse SEC. Florida State has only played against number two ranked opponents this season, and has barely beaten some pretty lackluster teams. Plus, they have a quarterback in Jameis Winston who may be the Heismanwinner, but he could be suspended at any time for sexual assault allegations. Ohio State is ranked fifth and Oregon is ranked second. Both teams have the same record of 11-1.
Ohio State, however, has a third string quarterback starting since JT Barrett broke his ankle last week. It may seem that the Ohio State Buckeyes have been slighted, but the reality is, Oregon just has a better chance to win ever since Barrett got hurt.
Big 12 Commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, said it best. He is a big part of the selection committee, and stated, “It isn’t the the teams who are most deserving, because there are plenty of teams who deserve to be in the top four spots contending for a National Title. It is the four best teams. Simple as that.”
The new playoff system, as seen, gives two more teams a chance to win it all. But it doesn’t get rid of the inescapable (and sometimes entertaining) debate over who gets in. In either case, the end of the season will be extremely fun to watch. Fans also should remember that the bowl system is still in place, and it is a very good thing for the game. Even if your team isn’t in the top four, they can still compete for a prestigious crown, such as the Rose Bowl. The ranking system isn’t perfect, but it’s as close to ideal as it could get. When there are eight teams who only have a loss or two, it’s difficult to choose which teams are truly the best. Some teams will unfortunately be left out, but if the new system works, the best teams will have a chance to win a National Championship.
First-year Joe Yamulla is a Layout Assistant. His email is jyamulla@ fandm.edu.