Well, the team that wasn’t supposed to get in won the whole thing.
In the wake of Ohio State’s 42-20 victory over Oregon in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship, we are left to reflect on the process the selection committee endured, start to finish.
Since hindsight is 20/20, it's easy enough to say the committee got it right, seeing as the final team in managed to beat the top two teams in the nation en route to the National Championship. But moving forward, there are certainly things that need to be addressed.
The first takeaway: What was the point of the weekly rankings?
Entering the final week of the season — or championship weekend as it’s known for every major conference besides the Big 12 (Sorry, Bob Bowlsby)—TCU was No. 3 in the committee’s ranking. After a 55-3 dismantling of Iowa State, the Horned Frogs dropped to No. 6 in the final ranking, effectively missing the playoff that many thought they deserved to be in.
The committee’s reasoning for the startling descent was that they had not yet considered TCU’s lone loss to Baylor because both teams’ resumes were not yet complete. Then what were they considering?
So, the rankings that fans and media pundits alike religiously waited for and followed every week to gauge the committee’s thinking turned out to be pointless? We should all feel a little duped.
And I’m not one to be “the boy who cried conspiracy,” but it feels a little weird to see a member of the selection committee — Barry Alvarez, athletic director at Wisconsin — on the sideline coaching a bowl game. I thought the whole point was to have the committee members be an extra step away from the game so that their judgment isn’t clouded.
It’s hard to believe that a guy who seemingly still has an itch to coach can remain entirely neutral when his school and conference as a whole can reap the benefits of an Ohio State championship as opposed to TCU.
Then there was that time when Southern California athletic director and committee member Pat Haden came onto the field during a game to argue with an official. You see where I’m heading.
I would rather 12 Condoleezza Rices tell us who is going to play for the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy than potentially biased athletic directors who really want to raise it themselves.
But it is better to have athletic directors who have been students of the game than computers who can beat us all in Jeopardy. Because we love to argue. And you can’t argue with a computer. Well you can, but you might be called crazy and earn a starring role in “Her 2.”
The Buckeyes’ championship run did show us the beauty the College Football Playoff has over the BCS. You still have to be really good to make it, but you won’t necessarily be chastised for a slip up in early September.
In this particular year, everyone who wanted eight teams in the playoff watched as the perfect bracket never came to fruition. TCU, Baylor, Michigan State, and Mississippi State were the clear cut “next four.”
Although it likely won’t be this clear in years to come, everyone would feel more at ease knowing the power five team that lost one game by three points got a crack at it.
We’re going to see better nonconference matchups. We’re going to see a Big 12 championship game. Eventually, we will see an eight-team playoff. We’re going to see the best teams continue to battle it out over multiple games.
But it will never be without controversy.