Top 25 Playoff Takeaways: Tide-Tigers III; Mayfield’s legacy

Top 25 Playoff Takeaways: Tide-Tigers III; Mayfield’s legacy

For the third straight season, Alabama and Clemson will meet in the College Football Playoff. For the first time ever, Georgia and Oklahoma will play, and it will be in the College Football Playoff.

The field was set Sunday and it is probably going to be a while for fans who thought Ohio State, or maybe some other team, should have been in over Alabama to get past the selection of the Crimson Tide.

Too bad, because the games look pretty good. Recent history suggests Alabama and Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 will be entertaining. Rarely in his college career has Baker Mayfield failed to deliver for Oklahoma, and Georgia brings one of the best defenses the Heisman front-runner has ever faced in a brilliant career to the Rose Bowl.

Simply having the games back on New Year’s Day is probably reason for celebration.

Twenty-five thoughts, takedowns and takeaways on the playoff:

1. Alabama vs. Ohio State. In the end, Alabama got in for being Alabama, the surest best in college football. When choosing between other flawed choices, 10 years of dominance gets the Tide the benefit of the doubt.

2. The problem with trying to predict the committee’s tendencies is that after four years we’re still learning those tendencies.

3. It is probably safe to say now that we should not get too hung up on conference championships, which begs the question: Why play conference championship games?

4. Money mostly. They are quality inventory for television partners and showcase events for the conference. But as conference tournaments have become just more games for the NCAA basketball selection committee to consider, the conference championship game in football is becoming the same. Sometimes it will be helpful. Sometimes not.

5. So how do conferences balance the desire to play a lucrative championship with a desire to create a fair and equitable way to determine a champion and best position teams to reach the playoff? The Big 12 seems to have provided the answer. You don’t balance them. You just play the conference title game, cash the checks and live with the consequences.

6. It’s becoming pretty apparent that the ideal way to reach the playoff is to bulk up the resume with 12 regular-season games, but come up just short of making the conference title game. Then take a weekend off and be one of the leaders in the clubhouse as the other contenders pound each other on championship weekend and maybe end up with, say, two losses.

7. It is a weird quirk…