The debut of the College Football Playoffs was a rousing success and as we look back what can we learn from the new format and how could this help us with our NCAAF picks for the coming season?
Every college football fan knows that rankings matter – big time! It is in fact these rankings that determine the fate of college football’s Final Four and there was plenty of hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth and bloodletting when the verdict came down from the Selection Committee concerning which four teams would comprise the historic first ever College Football Playoff participants. It was not without its drama as Big 12 co-champions Baylor and TCU were relegated to also-rans as their fans jeered the Committee’s decision and decried the inequity of it all. But here’s the point college football fans – conferences matter.
In this instance it was largely due to the fact that the TCU Horned Frogs and Baylor Bears were co-champions as opposed to one indisputable winner of the Big 12 title. That factored mightily into the equation and even though Baylor defeated TCU 61-58 in their midseason tilt, both teams ended with an 8-1 conference record and that was the death knell for any chance either team had to enter the postseason parade of champions.
But what about a team like Marshall hailing from Conference USA and their 12-1 record after they defeated Louisiana Tech 26-23 to become conference champs? Did they ever merit any serious discussion? More importantly will any Conference USA team garner a groundswell of support from the Selection Committee? Probably not because in college football there are only four spots (as of now) allocated for the National Championship crown and it’s not just your final record, it also boils down to who have you beaten and by how much? A conference clinching victory over La. Tech just isn’t doin’ it I’m afraid. That same stigma taints the Boise State Broncos who once again delivered a stellar 12-2 season, a Mountain West Championship and a Fiesta Bowl win over Arizona. Conferences matter when perusing the College Football odds and deciding which team or teams should be included in your College Football picks to win the National Championship.
Did the Committee Get it Right?
The short answer is yes. Alabama claimed the SEC crown yet again and were seeded as the top seed facing fourth seed, and eventual National Champions, Ohio State. The number two and three seeds were claimed by Oregon and Florida State respectively. The playoff format garnered enormous interest and more importantly television ratings. The teams that were voted in all came from conferences with a championship game to determine the overall winner and have cachet with the Committee. It will get mighty interesting if some of the unheralded schools from minor conferences deliver perfect seasons while the big boys come in as conference champs but with three or more losses on their records. We shall have to see how that scenario plays out if it ever does.