FINAL FOUR (if Penn State is Big Ten champion)
- Penn State
- Ed Orgeron--Orgeron had everything work his way in a 48 hour period. First, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher told LSU officials that it would take a 10-year contract to get him to come to Baton Rouge. They chose not to make that investment. Then Texas lost to TCU, sealing the fate of Longhorn coach Charlie Strong, which then opened the door for Houston coach Tom Herman to come to Texas. That left the Tigers with an opening and no No. 1 candidate, other than Orgeron, who fits the role of the right coach at the right place and maybe at the right time.
- Bob Davie--The New Mexico football coach has had an interesting year. The Lobos tied for the Mountain West North Division title with a 56-35 win over Wyoming on Saturday night, which gave New Mexico 8 wins for the season. But two of the losses by New Mexico were against 2-9 New Mexico State and 2-10 Rutgers. Go figure.
- Penn State--The Nittany Lions had a good day, which began with Ohio State's double overtime win over Michigan and was followed by the Nittany Lions 45-12 win over Michigan State. That gave Penn State the Big Ten East title and a spot in the Big Ten championship game next week against Wisconsin.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
1. Louisville--The Cardinals were a 26 point favorite over Kentucky and LOST to the Wildcats on Saturday. With last week's loss to Houston, the Cardinals have now tumbled in the rankings and may have cost themselves a New Year's 6 bowl slot in the Orange Bowl.
2. Oregon--The Ducks lost their Civil War battle against Oregon State to drop to 4-8, a dramatic tumble for the Ducks, who two years ago were in the national championship game. Oregon coach Mark Helfrich's job security also has become a prime issue, with his dismissal expected by the end of the weekend. The good news for Helfrich? It will cost Oregon $11.6 million buy out his contract.
.3. UConn--The Huskies lost again on Saturday, being blown out 38-13 against 4-8 Tulane. UConn finished its season with a 3-9 record, including losses in their last 6 games. During that stretch, the Huskies were outscored 130-16 in their final four games and did not score a touchdown for 16 consecutive quarters.
DID YOU KNOW
That: It will cost Oregon and Texas more than $22 million to buy out Mark Helfrich and Charlie Strong's contracts....there are 76 teams who have qualified with 6 wins for the 80 bowl slots, with two 5 win teams--Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama facing each other next week which will take up another slot...Alabama's defense did not allow a touchdown in the month of November in four games against LSU, Mississippi State, Chattanooga and Auburn....in Colorado's 27-22 win over Utah to clinch the Pac-12 title, the Buffaloes did not commit a penalty....Washington has won 11 games for the fourth time in the program's history....Michigan won't be part of the Big Ten title game, but the Wolverines will have beaten both the Big Ten West (Wisconsin) and Big Ten East (Penn State) champion as well as the potential Pac 12 champion if Colorado beats Washington next week. For all of this, the Wolverines might wind up with a trip to the Rose Bowl, where they could face USC.
Alabama is so good that unless the Tide loses a blow out game against Florida in next week's SEC title game, the Tide can probably lose that game and STILL qualify for the CFB Playoffs....Clemson QB DeShaun Watson is making a late Heisman run. Watson finished the regular season portion of his career at Clemson on Saturday by throwing 6 TDs for 347 yards in a 56-7 rout of South Carolina....No one, and that probably includes Alabama wants to play USC right now. The Trojans, who rolled to a 45-27 win over Notre Dame to finish 9-3, have won their last 8 games...How do the boys from Vegas do it? Consider the betting lines established in Saturday's Notre Dame-USC (USC 17.5) and Auburn-Alabama (Alabama 18) games. Alabama beat Auburn by a score of 30-12...Whomever faces FSU (probably in the Orange Bowl) could have a tough night. After stumbling at the start, the Seminoles looked like FSU of old with a 31-13 win over Florida. It was FSU's fourth straight win over the Gatotrs.
PLAY IT FORWARD (Games of note and importance next week)
1. Pac 12 title in Santa Clara, Ca.--Washington vs. Colorado-If Washington wins, it probably gets to the Final Four, if Colorado wins, it probably goes to the Rose Bowl.
2. ACC title in Orlando, Fla--Virginia Tech vs. Clemson--Clemson win puts the Tigers in the Final Four. A Virginia Tech win leaves the ACC out of the Final Four.
3. Big Ten Title in Indianapolis, In.--Penn State vs. Wisconsin--If Penn State wins, the CFB Playoff Selection committee will have to make some choices if Washington and Clemson win their games. If Wisconsin wins, the Badgers could find themselves as the Big Ten champions--in the Rose Bowl.
IN OUR OPINION
We still have a week of games (championship ) to settle the issue without a major controversy, but the College Football Playoff Selection Committee might have to make a fundamental choice next week: Best team or Most Deserving team...aka Conference champion.
There are two scenarios which could develop, one a dream for the committee, one a nightmare.
First the dream: IfWashington loses its Pac-12 conference title game to Colorado.
If that happens, the Final Four teams would be: Alabama, Ohio State Wisconsin-Penn State winner and Clemson, with the remote possibility of the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State winner or Colorado.
Arguments, but no deal breakers
II Clemson loses its ACC conference title game. If that happens, the Final Four teams would be Alabama, Ohio State, Washington and the Oklahoma State-Oklahoma winner.
Again some arguments, but nothing that would cause a cry for a major change in the system.
Now the nightmare: There are no upsets. Alabama wins, Penn State wins, Clemson wins and Oklahoma wins.
The Committee decides that Alabama, Clemson and Washington are all worthy of a spot and chooses Ohio State over Big Ten champion Penn State.
In our opinion, if the committee does that, it will have lost all of its credibility. There is NO WAY you can justify choosing a team that finished behind another team in its division, lost the head to head game to that team, which then also won its conference championship.
If Ohio State is chosen over Penn State, the committee will go against the basic principles of competition in football, which is to compete and play for a championship. Penn State will have done all of that. And it is sheer arrogance for anyone to suggest that even though Penn State BEAT Ohio State and WON the Big 10 title, it is not as good as the Buckeyes.
The committee can get around that issue with Penn State if it chooses to put Ohio State in the Final Four over Oklahoma (a team Ohio State beat this season) or if it chooses the Buckeyes over Washington based on strength of schedule and number of victories over ranked teams.
What the committee must not do is choose Ohio State over PENN STATE if the Nittany Lions are the Big Ten champions. [/membership]