The results of championship week in the 2014 college football season made it very clear who should be ranked in the top 4 by the committee and be placed in the first ever college football playoff: Alabama, Oregon and Florida State are in without any argument, while Ohio State deserves the final spot for winning the Big Ten championship game, leaving TCU and Baylor out, despite their co-hold on the Big 12 title.
Alabama went into the weekend as the number one ranked team by the committee and delivered a crushing blow to Missouri with a 42-13 win. Remember, Alabama weren’t that far from playing in the championship game last season if it wasn’t for the most famous field goal return of all-time. They had their fall earlier this season at Ole Miss, but it’s always better to lose early. It’s even better to lose against an SEC team. A scary defense and the best receiver in the nation seem like they’ll be seeded as the number one team as well.
Oregon? Some think their 51-13 win over Arizona in the Pac-12 championship game, held foolishly in a neutral field despite the conference being spread out wide and far which meant only 45,000 watching the game, is enough to put them as the number one team going into the playoff. In truth, it doesn’t matter, not by that much. The conspiracy theory suggests the committee wants an Oregon – Alabama final, which means that both of them will be the top two teams, and it won’t really matter who is number one. There’s no home field advantage (imagine how amazing it’ll be if there was).
Florida State remain perfect, going 13-0 after beating Georgia Tech 37-35. Another small margin of victory, but this time the rivals were noteworthy. As much as the committee would love to push out Florida State for their weak schedule, their weak conference and for their many unimpressive wins, a defending champion that has gone undefeated through one of the power five conferences deserves to be in the playoff, and no argument about SOS or style-points is going to make any difference.
The real problem comes with the fourth team, but it shouldn’t be. Behind the thousands of words being written; behind the propaganda of the Big 12 coaches; there’s one team that looked more impressive than anyone on championship week: Ohio State. With their third-string quarterback, Urban Meyer showed that the Buckeyes don’t have bad quarterbacks – you don’t recruit them to be backups for you. Cardale Jones won the Big Ten championship Game MVP on his first start for the team, leading Ohio State to an incredible 59-0 win over Wisconsin – the same Wisconsin with Melvin Gordon who seemed to be breaking records on a weekly basis.
So what about TCU and Baylor? They both have one loss. They both win the Big 12, sharing the title. Baylor beat TCU in the head to head. TCU have one more quality mean, beating Minnesota while Baylor played against Buffalo. Does it matter?
For their inner arguments, it does. For the playoff picture? The Big 12 will continue to be looked upon with a frown as long as there is no championship game, not to mention the conference being very weak below the top three teams. Beyond the matter of perception, it’s about making an impression with your biggest win, and Ohio State rebounded very well after losing to Virginia Tech, which includes beating two very good teams in Michigan State and Wisconsin without leaving any doubt about their victories. That should be enough to make them part of the playoff final four.