Who should be in the College Football Playoff?

Who should be in the College Football Playoff?


December 2, 2018

Kyler Murray

I’ve seen a lot of debate about this topic, and the debate is borderline ridiculous to me. So I thought I would bring it to you readers for your thoughts.

Which four teams belong in the College Football Playoff?

My thoughts:

#1 Alabama: They’re 13-0 and won the SEC Championship. Their non-conference schedule was a joke (Louisiana-Lafayett, The Citadel, Arkansas State, Louisville), but they handled their business against SEC opponents and beat everyone on their schedule.

#2 Clemson: They’re 13-0 and won the ACC Championship. They had two solid non-conference games (a 56-35 win over South Carolina and a 28-26 win over Texas A&M). Their only other close game, aside from playing A&M, was barely beating a Syracuse team when the Tigers were down to their #3 quarterback (Kelly Bryant transferred, Trevor Lawrence got hurt).

#3 Notre Dame: They’re 12-0 with no conference championship game. They have some solid wins, but nothing great. However, they scheduled some tough teams (Michigan, USC, Virginia Tech, Stanford); it’s just that three of those four teams had down years (USC, Virginia Tech, Stanford).

#4 Oklahoma: No, they don’t play defense, but they’re 12-1 and avenged their one loss in the Big 12 Championship game. That was against a solid Texas team. Otherwise, they played some tight games, but that loss to Texas was better than the Purdue loss for . . .


#5 Ohio State: Yes, the Buckeyes won the Big Ten Championship, but their loss to 6-6 Purdue was not only a big letdown, but it was a blowout loss. The Buckeyes have the potential to beat those other teams in the top four, but the big-play guys for the top four would gash OSU more so than the all but Oklahoma. (For the record, I don’t have strong feelings about whether Oklahoma or OSU should be in the CFP – I think both would lose to Alabama in the first game.)

#6 UCF: UCF beat everyone on their schedule. They even won their conference championship without their starting quarterback.

#7 Georgia: This is the biggest, dumbest debate I’ve seen. Georgia played Alabama close, but they have already proven they can lose to TWO teams. How could you name a national champion who has two losses when three teams only have one? For example, should a 2-loss Georgia team be named national champions above a 1-loss Alabama team who split the season series between the two? The Patriots were 16-0 in the regular season before losing to the 10-6 Giants, and yet the Giants were the Super Bowl champs and go down in history as the best team that year. I don’t care if Georgia “looks” like a top-four team, because that’s subjective. What’s not subjective is that this season, they were worse than Alabama and worse than 9-3 LSU when it came time to playing those teams. They had a chance to settle the issue on the field, and they didn’t do it.

10 comments

  1. UM_1973
    Comments: 61
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    UM_1973
    Dec 02, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    I totally agree with Thunder’s 4 playoff team. For argument sake, supposed Georgia has played and beaten Michigan, Washington and Texas in their non-conference game. Would they have been in the final four? I don’t think so because they have 2 losses. That is why I think Michigan should follow the route of the SEC team and schedule patsies (instead of Notre Dame) for their non-conference game. Big Ten East is strong and it guarantees you 3 Top 25 team year in year out. Of course everything is moot unless you can beat Ohio State.

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 3932
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 02, 2018 at 12:34 PM

    College football is pretty great, but.

    IMO The biggest flaw is that teams are encouraged to schedule easy games because of the focus on losses (rather than wins over quality opposition.) I would really like to see a shift in the focus of current narratives.

    Overall record and comparing losses are easier to comprehend, so it’s natural people would lean on these data points. But they are not good measures of accomplishment when you have uneven scheduling. With measures like S&P and (if you don’t want to take scoring margin into account) strength of record we have better ways to compare teams and accomplishments.

    In my view – It should be about what you achieved (who you beat) first and foremost. And then if it’s close you can get into scoring margin and all the other subjective stuff.

    I would put OSU in above Oklahoma for this reason (better SOR and better top tier wins) but it’s a pretty subjective thing. Both teams squeaked by a bunch of times. However, OSU has wins over Michigan and PSU that Oklahoma can’t match. They’d be huge favorites to avenge their loss against Purdue if they got the chance. Oklahoma was lucky to get to play Texas again. It didn’t matter much for football/resume reasons but it was HUGE for the lazy loss-comparing narrative.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 3932
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 02, 2018 at 12:38 PM

    I think the playoff worked great once again. You can quibble about 4,5, and 6 but all of them have major strikes against them. The top 2 are in. They’ll have to play very good teams to win the championship. Well done NCAA.

  4. Comments: 997
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Dec 02, 2018 at 1:07 PM

    I posted this on another board. First is my subjective opinion based on a flawed concept (eye test) /s:
    1) Bama, 2) UGa, 3) Clemson, 4& distant) OU. I think ohio is up there with OU, then ND, MICHIGAN & Central Florida in the next tier

    Applying logic & fairness that follows believed intent of the committe:
    1 Bama
    2 Clemson
    3 ND
    4 OU
    5 UGa
    6 ohio
    7 UCF
    8 MICHIGAN (I still think we’d beat the Knights w/o Milton)

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3932
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 02, 2018 at 1:43 PM

      why uga over osu

      • Comments: 997
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        je93
        Dec 02, 2018 at 2:34 PM

        It’s just opinion, and would get destroyed if it actually happened
        ohio has looked really bad all year, and getting CRUSHED against a weak Purdue team is hard to forget. UGa showed it is one of the three best on the country last night.
        Reality is, ohio is conference champs with one loss, UGa is runner up with two losses and no big win. My opinion rightly loses out

  5. Comments: 22
    Joined: 8/20/2015
    Jetski
    Dec 03, 2018 at 2:44 AM

    If the NCAA went to an 8 team playoff with 5 conference champs and 3 at larges, as everyone seems to be clambering for, the results would be as follows:

    1. Alabama (SEC)
    2. Clemson (ACC)
    3. Notre Dame (at large)
    4. Oklahoma (Big 12)
    5. Ohio State (Big Ten)
    6. Georgia (at large)
    7. UCF (at large)
    8. Washington (Pac 12)

    In Michigan’s case, an 8 team playoff would punish them for playing Notre Dame in nonconference, as playing another MAC team would put them in at 11-1 and leave the committee to decide between Georgia and UCF for the last spot.

    A win over a top nonconference opponent does little to help… it still comes down to winning your conference. It can however prevent a team making the cut.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3932
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 04, 2018 at 1:50 PM

      OSU made the playoff in 2016 without winning the conference because they beat Oklahoma in non-conference. It’s a risk/reward proposition.

      Had Michigan beaten ND, they would be 11-1 and in the playoff conversation while likely headed to the Rose Bowl.

      I do think it’s unfortunate that playoff selections seem a lot more focused on worst performance than biggest wins.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3932
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 04, 2018 at 2:00 PM

        Would have been a fun debate for the 3rd and 4th playoff spot between 11-1 versions of OSU, Oklahoma, UM, Georgia and Notre Dame had UM beaten ND.

  6. Comments: 19
    Joined: 10/16/2015
    Vienna Jack
    Dec 04, 2018 at 12:56 PM

    Don’t particularly follow the SEC, but I don’t understand why they are so highly praised apart from the devotion shown by ESPN. For the most part, the SEC teams play an extremely weak out of conference schedule, so it seems (at least to me) as if the “prestige” comes almost solely on the basis of an eye test involving how they play against each other. For example, LSU – which beat Georgia handily – only played Miami, Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana Tech and Rice for their out of conference games, with Miami and Louisiana Tech playing them closer than Georgia. So, why is Georgia so widely praised? For having a good game against Alabama? Alabama’s toughest out of conference foe was 2-10 Louisville.

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