(Musings about the final week of the college football regular season, the upcoming bowl and playoff system and other items that are in a Jersey Guy's circle of interest).
The final weekend of games of the 2016 regular (and championship game) season will determine whether we will hear the chant that the "system has to be changed'' on Monday morning.
If there are no upsets in the championship games and the Power 5 conference champions are: Clemson (ACC), Alabama (SEC), Oklahoma (Big 12), Washington (Pac-12) and Wisconsin (Big Ten), the College Football Playoff Selection committee is likely to choose these Final Four teams: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Clemson 4. Washington.
There will be some griping from Oklahoma that the Big 12 champion was left out of the mix and there will be a louder complaint from Wisconsin that the Big Ten champion was passed by for a Division runner up in Ohio State. But the committee will use with some justification that Wisconsin lost one more game than the Buckeyes, including the head to head battle with Ohio State.
Wisconsin will get the Rose Bowl as a consolation prize which isn't bad.
But if Penn State is the Big Ten champion, then the CFB selection committee will have a problem. Penn State will also have lost two games--but only one in the conference, it will have finished AHEAD of Ohio State in the Big Ten East, it will have beaten the Buckeyes in a head to head match and it will have also beaten Wisconsin to win the Big Ten title.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
If Ohio State makes the Final Four ahead of the Nittany Lions the committee will have ignored one of the most basic foundation points of the sport of college football and of sports itself. It will have competed in the same league as Ohio State, played the same teams in its division, won the division, beaten Ohio State in the head to head match and then gone on and won the championship of what (this year) is almost unanimously best conference in college football.
What more could Penn State do to earn a spot in the playoffs? The committee will say not lose a non-conference game to Pittsburgh in September. Sending the Nittany Lions to the Rose Bowl will placate some folks, but it will be the wrong precedent to set.
If that happens, or if the committee chooses both Penn State and Ohio State and squeezes out a one loss Washington, a legitimate question of what is the worth of winning a Power 5 conference championship should and will be raised.
Which brings us to the solution and the discussion.
Go to 8 teams (not a new concept), and guarantee that representatives from all of the Power 5 conferences are included, as well as a representative from the Group of 5 mid major programs, plus two at larges.
The details of this system--a first round set of games played on campus sites of the higher seeded team in the third week in December--can be examined again at a later date.
But if you took this season's standings and rankings and used the 8 team system, this is what would be on the college football playoff menu.
The games (assuming the higher seeded teams won their conference championship games).
- No 8 Western Michigan (Group of 5) at No. 1 Alabama (SEC)
- No. 7 Oklahoma (Big 12) at No. 2 Clemson(ACC)
- No. 6 Wisconsin (Big Ten) at No. 3 Washington ( Pac-12)
- No. 5 Michigan (at large) at No. 4 Ohio State (at large)
Yes, the Big Ten would have 3 teams. But who would have a legitimate complaint? Penn State would have lost to Wisconsin, Colorado would have lost to Washington and Virginia Tech would have lost to Clemson and Oklahoma State would have lost to Oklahoma. There is no one else out there among the at-larges who has a legitimate complaint.
If you followed the current set up and projected no upsets, Alabama would be be facing Ohio State in one semifinal game in the Peach Bowl, and Washington would be playing Clemson in the second final in Arizona.
Ponder that, while you watch the games unfold on Friday and Saturday.
Just a guess on some of the major openings in the Coaching Carousel Derby and what it might look like when the music stops in the next few weeks and selections are made
A guess (projecting winners of the championship games) on the 6 playoff bowls, with some extra credit given to teams which win their conference championship games.
Peach--Alabama vs. Ohio State
Fiesta Clemson vs. Washington
Orange Bowl--Michigan vs. Florida State
Cotton Bowl--Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin
Rose Bowl-- Penn State vs. USC
Sugar Bowl--Oklahoma vs. Auburn
The speculation about where Boston College is going to wind up continues with the Eagles likey to be slated for one of three bowls--Independence in Shreveport La. Quick Lane in Detroit and Military in Annapolis. ESPN, which televises all three games has a major voice in the match ups.
Late on Friday, sources in Detroit projected a North Carolina State vs. Indiana bowl game, which if true would mean that BC most likely would wind up at the Military Bowl against a team from the American Athletic Conference--either Temple or Houston seems to be the choice now.
All of this could change if Clemson loses to Virginia Tech, which give the ACC one more bowl team to throw into its bowl soup menu. If that happened, anything is possible, even a BC trip to the St. Petersburg, Fla. Bowl--which would be the best trip of all for the Eagles and their fans.
Here's a question for BC coach Steve Addazio to ponder as he starts recruiting and thinking about next season, while also preparing for the Eagles' bowl game.
With graduate senior QB Patrick Towles gone, the Eagles' quaterback roster next spring will look like this: Anthony Brown (redshirt freshman, 0 starts), John Fadule (junior, 3 starts), Darius Wade (R-Jr, 3 starts)).
Addazio has labeled Brown as the QB of the future. And Wade will be the only QB returning with any significant game experience. But what if Wade decides that he has no future at BC and transfers in the spring?
Two years ago, when Wade was hurt, Addazio lamented that he was left with a roster with 0 starts among all of his QBs. Addazio no doubt will recruit another QB in January, but what happens if Wade leaves. The only QB on the roster will be Fadule with three games.
If Addazio wants to avoid that, he must find another senior graduate transfer QB. But that poses another question. What Gr. Transfer will come to BC without some assurance that he is going to play?[/membership]