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COLUMN: Playoff committee faces tough decisions

first_imgThe College Football Playoff Committee unveiled its first CFP rankings of the year Tuesday night. The committee had its hands full with 11 undefeated teams — compared to just three last year — and several other one-loss teams with impressive resumes.But that is why the NCAA decided to switch from the BCS to the CFP. To make sure that humans were making the decisions based on the eye test, strength of schedule and quality of wins.The BCS system showed too much favoritism to teams from Power Five conferences — especially the SEC. There was  even a year when two SEC teams played for the NCAA Championship despite there being several other qualified teams.Last year, the committee got it right by picking Ohio State over Baylor and TCU. The committee was hit with harsh criticism by picking the Buckeyes, who had a relatively soft schedule, over the one-loss Texas programs, but in the end, the decision turned out to be the choice.The CFP was a success on all levels in year one.Unfortunately, it appears that year two may be retreading into the same bad habits that plagued the BCS system: SEC bias.When the committee released its first poll of the season, many were shocked to see two SEC teams ranked in the top 4 — undefeated LSU and one-loss Alabama. In fact, the committee’s top 25 is almost completely different than the AP Top 25.The Committee’s top 10: Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Baylor, Michigan State, TCU, Iowa and Florida.The AP Top 10: Ohio State, Baylor, Clemson, LSU, TCU, Michigan State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Stanford and Iowa.If the College Football Playoff started today, the two Big 12 representatives would be left out once again. The committee actually ranked two one-loss teams — ’Bama and Notre Dame — ahead of the likes of undefeated Baylor, Michigan State, TCU and Iowa.The other four undefeated teams — Memphis, Oklahoma State, Toledo and Houston were left out of the top 10 altogether.The team that may have the most outcry at being left out of the top 10 is Memphis. The Tigers are one of two undefeated American Athletic Conference teams, but own one of the best wins of the season — a 13-point victory over Ole Miss.That’s the same Ole Miss team that went into Tuscaloosa and beat the Crimson Tide with ease. It appears that the committee was way off in its decision-making this year.This season has been full of surprises, and the committee could have quite the decision to make come the end of the season. There is a strong possibility that each Power 5 conference could boast a one-loss conference champion.The Pac-12 is already guaranteed a one-loss champion. Alabama and LSU will square off this weekend, but if Ole Miss wins out they would be the West representatives in the SEC Championship game with two losses.The Rebels would then surely face off against Florida for the championship, leaving a one-loss Alabama team at home.In the Big 12, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor all have to play each other. Assuming each of these teams beat up on each other, there could be a tie for first in the conference once again.Having no championship game could come back to haunt the conference for a second consecutive year.Ohio State still has to play both Michigan and Michigan State and then possibly undefeated Iowa in the Big 10 championship game. If Clemson can escape with a win over Florida State this weekend they will have the best chance of being an undefeated conference champion.Now for the non-Big 5 conferences, it comes down to Houston, Notre Dame and Memphis. Houston and Memphis will square off later this month with the winner surely ending the season undefeated. Notre Dame has a late season showdown against Stanford.In this hypothetical situation, the committee could be looking at a one-loss Utah, a two-loss SEC champion Ole Miss, a one-loss Alabama, a one-loss TCU, a one-loss Big 10 champion Ohio State, an undefeated Clemson, an undefeated Memphis or Houston and a one-loss Notre Dame for four playoff spots.How fast until the media and fans start calling for eight teams if that situation arises?Maybe Pat Haden made the right choice by stepping down from the committee. I sure wouldn’t want to be making that choice.Nick Barbarino is a senior majoring in business administration. His column, “Beyond the Arc,” runs Thursdays.last_img


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