Sunday Blog: CFP committee gets it right

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Alabama raises the trophy after winning an NCAA college football game against Georgia for the Southeastern Conference championship Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Atlanta. (AJ Reynolds/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

The Sunday Blog comes at you now that we know the College Football Playoff teams and Florida’s bowl game:

  1. Is Georgia one of the top four teams in the country? No doubt. Is Alabama relieved not to have to play the Bulldogs again? Yessir. Did Georgia belong in the CFP? Nope. The committee got it right even when it did not. Based on the protocols handed to the committee, you could not put Georgia in over Oklahoma even though we all know Georgia is the better team. The Sooners lost one game by three points, avenged that loss and won a conference championship. Georgia was hammered at LSU and did not win a championship. I get the Georgia argument, but I had the Bulldogs fifth on my ballot as well. Some of that is based on what I have seen all year, some of it is based on pure numbers. Georgia had its shot.
  2. So what we will have in the Orange Bowl will likely be a battle between the first and second choices for the Heisman Trophy. Think that game will have any hype? I’m not sure in can eclipse the ratings of the SEC title game, which was the most watched college football game in seven years on any network. It’s difficult to see anything but an Alabama-Clemson rematch just because Oklahoma’s defense is so bad. One thing that stood out watching the Big 12 title game was the lack of a pass rush on either side. That conference simply doesn’t have the physical freaks that we see in the South.
  3. It was no big surprise Florida landed in the Peach Bowl against Michigan (especially if you read it in my column earlier this week). The UF-UCF matchup didn’t happen because the New Year’s Six bowls believe in sharing the burden of landing a Group of Five team and a game in Glendale, Ariz., simply isn’t appealing for ratings or ticket sales if there were two Florida teams. It’s interesting that Florida had never played Michigan before the 2002 Outback Bowl and now will be playing the Wolverines three times in four seasons. (UF is 0-4 against Michigan). I assume that because Jim McElwain is headed to Central Michigan he won’t hang around to be the Michigan wide receivers coach for this game. It would have been an easy story for bowl week.
  4. There were a lot of people who wanted Georgia to make the final four because they believed leaving three conferences out would accelerate the move to an expanded playoff. I don’t sense that we’ll see that happen any time soon and by soon I mean in the next decade. The people that matter have no interest in it. The bigger questions concern the Big Ten, left out for the second straight year, and the Pac-12, left out for the third straight year. Here’s how bad things are for the Pac-12 — the crowd was announced at 35,134 and it looked like about half of that and the commish of the league Larry Scott was booed when he was on the field.

42 COMMENTS

  1. There is no way UGA belonged in a 4 team playoff. Just because we believe that they would beat Oklahoma isn’t reason enough. How many people thought bama would easily win last night? They didn’t look like a better team than GA last night. But the entire season has to count, and the dawgs got beat bad at LSU.

    • Yeah, I get sick of sports journalists making comments like, “we all know UGA is the better team.” Really? We all know that? Just like everyone knew that Michigan was better than UF in 2006, and the 2006 OSU team was one of the best of all time. If we went with what everyone knew at that time, we never would have discovered the truth- that the Big 10 sucked that year, and OSU and Michigan weren’t in the same league as a Gator team that struggled in almost every SEC win but ended the season with only one close loss. Oklahoma earned the right to be there this year. Georgia didn’t. You never know who the better team is until they play the game.

      • Agree with Patrick Re Mr. Dooley’s use of “We all know UGA is the better team.” But what we all do know is that sports writer/talkers always overreact to the most recent game they’ve watched. Even still, UGA just played half a game lst night. Didn’t score in the last 28 minutes. And Kirby, Doh! Remember, he’s from The Ray Goff Coaching Tree. Then gets all defensive post game re his fake punt call. “I didn’t come here to tie…..” Note to Coach Misnomer…… There’s no tying in college football.

        • One more thing re the Final Four selectors…. Notre should have been sanctioned to 4th place for failing to play a 13th game. College football teams make their own schedules. Notre chose to award themselves a 1st round bye by essentially, failing to play the 1st round. Should have at minimum been moved back to #4 and season’s termination by about 3 TD’s by the red people.

          • One loss would have kept them out this year if they managed to lose one of the 2-3 games they had to wake up for. Gotta give it to them, they know how to play the system. The entire country will now be rooting for Clemson to blast them back to the 80s the way Bama did earlier this decade so we don’t have to deal with the sports media hyping them into another undeserved NC shot for 5-10 years.

            But hey, at least they kept OSU or UGA out of the playoffs =D.

          • Notred Dame (as much as I hate them) played a representative schedule. Any loss along the way would have knocked them out. However, there is no denying they did enjoy a tremendous benefit by ducking that extra game against a good/worthy opponent. And that is my biggest/loudest argument for the playoff including conference winners ONLY. Alabama should NOT have been rewarded for putting their feet up and breaking down film last year while Auburn and Dawg Scum fought it out for he SEC Championship. Was ‘Bama the best team last year? Yes. Would I have dissed them and slotted in SEC Champ Dawg Scum? Also yes. By playing that game last year Auburn basically played themselves out of a potential playoff spot. And risked injuries to boot. Imagine if McKenzie Milton had been injured in the AAC Championship game instead of the one right before that. What if UCF was “already in” based on 2 years of work. Are they still “in” with a backup qb? No. Either reward teams for winning their conference (what’s more “sports” than playing your way in?) or do away with conference championship games all together and pick and choose for TV/effect (yeah, I know, the money).

      • Totally agree Patrick….Herbstreit also knew Ohio State and Michigan were CLEARLY the best in 2006 when they played…and stated it should be a rematch. I recall his condescending tone then…”listen…we watch all of the games…it’s our livelihood…and I am telling you, Ohio State and Michigan are the best teams…it’s not even close. Florida is a sold team, but their offensive woes would not keep up with either team.”

        Florida – 41
        Ohio State – 14

        USC – 31
        Michigan – 9

  2. I’m pure Gator and SEC, but I agree with the selections. ND will have to go all in with the Atlantic Cutie Conference someday. Having watched all the teams some, ND is truly the “4th team”. I believe UGA, OSU and OU are a level above them. OU won their conference and avenged their loss in “a conference championship game”, so the committee did the right thing by “separating the wealth”.

    Once again, the SEC Championship Game was truly a Main Event. Always an overflowing crowd and the most cherished trophy in College Football. No other Conference will ever than the Atlanta geographic centered venue. IE. the unofficial Capital of the South-land. The SEC’s geographic team positioning is special and should be mimicked better by the other Conferences through sensible re-alignment. ACC should be N-S, Big Ten E-W, Nebraska should be back in the Big 12 with CO, W VA should be in the ACC, along with Maryland. The Orange, ND and BC should be in the Big Ten, etc. SEC SEC SEC

  3. I like your realignment idea, DeWayne. It’ll probably never happen, but ultimately, I’d like to see the FBS pared down to 120 teams in 12 ten-team conferences. Teams would play every other team in conference for 9 conference games, plus 2 non-conference games for an 11 game season. Conference championship games would be eliminated, since each team would play every other team. Conference champions would make a 12 team playoff with the top 4 getting first round byes. The champion would play 14 or 15 games, at most, just like now. Use the major bowls for all playoff games and the championship game to allow them to determine the national championship like they used to. Just my Christmas football wish.

      • Well, I like it, because it’s my idea, and because it, or something similar, is the only way to get a true playoff where teams earn their way in by objective criteria rather than the current subjective manner of being selected by a committee. I do see at least one problem, though, and that’s lost revenue for most schools by reducing the regular season back to 11 games. I just don’t see any other way, though, because keeping a 12 game regular season would cause the #5-#12 playoff seeds to play 16 games if they made it to the championship game. Another problem might be coming up with some sort of objective criteria to seed the playoff teams, but maybe some sort of power ranking index based on record and stats might do the trick. One thing’s for sure, it’s a great topic for discussion.

        • The reason that they won’t expand with the bowls, is that the NCAA is afraid that they’ll lose money as teams won’t travel that many times. The first two rounds will go to a home field for the highest ranked team, and everyone else goes to a bowl. They’ll get plenty of TV money, and the home teams will get some bonus revenue. Then they can still use the bowls for semi-finals and finals. Of course all that depends on a major restructuring of college football…..good luck on that.

          • That’s a great point I hadn’t thought of, but using the major bowls for semis and finals would still accomplish my desire of seeing the major bowls decide the national champion again. As you say, it would be a major restructuring that isn’t likely to happen. I suppose the next best thing would be a system where the Power 5 champions, the highest ranked Group of 5 champion, and couple of at-large teams compete in an 8-team playoff. However, I don’t think we’re going to see any type of playoff expansion for a while.

  4. UGA had their shot and once again Smart cracked under the pressure and gave the game away. The UGA fans have no complaint with anyone but their coach and his terrible decisions calling weird fake punts and field goals– desperation moves that show his true character. You can see the fear in his eyes when they cut to him on the sidelines, and that fear infects his team in these big games and leads to them choking away opportunities. Smart needs to find some way to get stronger and tougher, so his players don’t see his lower lip tremble in every big game.

      • i dont get why anyone thinks georgia sb in the playoff at all. they had their shot and lost. if we are getting rematches, how about us having a rematch against georgia. i think smart is better than champ, but he really has to see a psychologist or something for these late game panic maneuvers.
        as far as the committee game against michigan, the newspaper warned us, but i retained hope that someone in the room would use their brain cells, but that was a misjudgement on my part. given the situation, it would seem like the game should be approached like charleston southern, practice hard, play everyone and avoid injuries, ignore the score. many players in anticipation of an nfl career dont play, so the whole thing has lost its luster except the final teams anyway.

  5. What a shame no doggie do over as if they deserve one! Two things jumped out about Kirby…not so Smart…..first they now have their own fourth and dumb which cost them a shot at a NC thanks to their coach. Trick plays take a certain amount of smarts and intuition. The HBC had it, Les Miles had it and so does Saban. It doesn’t appear Kirby falls into that category. Secondly, he doesn’t seem to mind throwing his players under the bus instead of putting the blame where it belongs. The HBC rarely publicly criticized his players instead saying ” we just didn’t coach em up very well” while the top Dawg when asked what happened on the fake punt chose to say ” Fields didn’t get the snap off quick enough and Bama figured out what we were doing. The play was there”. Excuse me but wasn’t not so smart standing right there watching it unfold where he could have called a time out? That’s assuming it wasn’t a bone headed call in the first place! The more I watch the coaching up in Athens and compare it with how Mullen and his staff coach the more convinced I am that we are going to be much better off in the long haul with Mullen. Kudos to a great first year and the many more to come. Go Gators

  6. Geez, my 8-year-old questioned why UGA punted on a 4th and 2 around midfield earlier in the game, and was shocked time heck with the fake punt. Kirby is a lot of good things as a head coach. But he’s not very smart. You really could feel nervousness in his decisions throughout the game, in spite of them dominating much of the game. If he couldn’t win yesterday, he might never beat Saban.

    • I think you’re right, NWIA TB. Through a combination of poor coaching decisions and poor execution on the field in crunch time, Kirby has lost two games to Bama that he should’ve won. Looking back over his shoulder to take a peak at the choke monster allowed the monster just enough time to catch him.

  7. I don’t believe UGA should get in the playoffs for the same reason I did not think there should be a rematch between Michigan and Ohio State in 2006. The game had just been played and what happens if Alabama is not the best team in the country. For what it’s worth, I think they are, but I’m just saying that everyone crowned Ohio State the best by a long way, therefore Michigan was #2. We all know how that turned out. This reminds me of the same scenario. Let another team have a shot and the results may surprise people, like we surprised everyone by dominating Ohio State.

      • Well that is true. However, UF only won the national championship because other teams lost. Nebraska lost so we were invited to the Sugar Bowl. Arizona State lost so it made the game a true national championship game. If either one of those teams had won, UF would not be able to claim the championship, even if they were better.

        So yes, if Oklahoma and Ohio State would had lost this weekend, then, by all means, UGA should have made the playoff. Hell, I would’ve been OK with UGA being in over Ohio State. I’m just saying that Oklahoma won, UGA lost. Oklahoma should get their shot.

        In 1996, if Arizona State had won the Rose Bowl, they deserved to be champions over UF, even if UF was better.

  8. Playing Michigan is boring. It might be more interesting if we would win once in a while. I’ll watch of course but it will not be the event it could have been. I’ll be pulling for ND over Clempson ’cause I wanna’ see that classic matchup from the ’70’s again.

  9. I agree with all of the above. Alabama also played the worst game I think I have seen a Bama team play since Saban’s first year at Bama. Too many unforced errors, including dropped passes, stupid penalties, etc. Ga played well and forced some other problems but Alabama was uncharacteristic. As for the fake punt, I don’t think I have ever seen a dumber coaching call in my life. Alabama knew from the get go it was coming. They didn’t even have a punt returner. I think it was a pretty obvious giveaway when Ga had no blockers back and only their star back up QB. Plus it was 4th and long. I think Kirby was so traumatized by the overtime in the NC game that his heart couldn’t take another one in this game.