How to order College Football Playoff teams? Decision and rationale could be telling
Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Grapevine, Texas, right about now.
Chalk held during championship weekend, Clemson providing the final piece in Saturday night’s 42-35 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. That means the foursome that made up that penultimate College Football Playoff rankings’ top four — the aforementioned Tigers, Alabama, Ohio State and Washington — will likely hold those same spots in Sunday’s announcements of the semifinal games.
The only drama now is the consensus the 12-member selection committee comes to
behind unquestioned No. 1 Alabama, and what criteria will be used to back up that thinking.
The Buckeyes entered the weekend — one they didn’t play in while No. 7 Penn State stormed back to beat No. 6 Wisconsin for the Big Ten crown — at No. 2, while Clemson was third and Washington fourth. But now that the Tigers and Huskies have the ACC and Pac-12 titles, respectively, and Ohio State didn’t win as much as its division (the Nittany Lions did that), will that 13th data point push them past the idle Buckeyes?
A case can be made.
Using final records against the committee’s latest Top 25, Clemson is 4-1 and Ohio State and Washington are both 3-1, but the Huskies just added another in beating No. 8 Colorado — by 31 points, mind you — in the conference championship game (though in the Buckeyes’ defense, they did beat Oklahoma, which just won the Big 12 crown). If we’re zeroing in on strength of schedule, per NCAA.org, Clemson was second, Ohio State third and Washington 44th.
Having a complete resume with the addition of the league titles would give the committee the ammo to move the Buckeyes down to at least third behind Clemson to appease those who don’t like the look of a team that was off championship weekend still making the playoff (those people, of course, being from Happy Valley).
But ultimately it’s a matter of what the selection committee believes its true role is. Is it to simply pick and order…