Full Disclosure: I am holding a hefty Alabama National Championship future ticket.
It took 13 weeks but we finally had our chaos weekend in College Football. Alabama takes down Georgia, Washington takes down Oregon, and Florida State escapes Louisville. In the 10 years of the playoffs we have never had anticipation and controversy quite like this. We have attempted to manufacture drama in the past, but this year it was too real. Often times four teams has proven to be too many but this year, seemingly, it was not enough—but I'm here to tell you the committee got it right.
The committee is tasked with putting the four best teams in the playoffs, when considering conference titles, head to head, overall record, and other factors. The 'other factors' availability of players and coaches that will impact a team's ability to perform in the post season. They did their job. Ask anyone in the Florida State camp who is better: Alabama or Florida State. Their answer will be "Alabama, but…" followed by some sort of combo of "they're undefeated", "the games have to matter", "we don't know what they can do with a back-up, remember Ohio State". Guess what, the games do matter. Alabama vs Georgia mattered, FSU vs Louisville mattered. We created this committee to make hard decisions like this. We did away with the BCS computer ranking (the BCS computer actually has Alabama ahead of Texas) so that people who understand the landscape of College Football can watch the games, evaluate all factors, and put in the best four teams.
Who has been the best team in College Football this year? The Georgia Bulldogs. Who has been the best team in the past two years, winning two national championships and 29 games in a row? The Georgia Bulldogs. Alabama on Saturday did something no one (other than them) has been able to do in the past three seasons. Beat Georgia. If the best team of the past three seasons and the 12-1 SEC champs who took them down are both left out of the playoff then how legitimate is the playoff? The answer, it’s not.
I feel for Florida State, I really do. If this was Penn State I would be raising hell right now. One of the biggest points brought up is comparing this team to 2014 Ohio State. Teams in almost identical situations. Both down to their 3rd QB who'd make their first career starts in Championship games. Both playing the 14th ranked team in the CFP poll, both playing a team with defensive ranking around 20th and an offensive ranking around 30th. Florida State went out and won 16-6 racking up a whopping 219 yards of offense*. Ohio State went out and won 59-0 gaining 558 yards in the most lop-sided Big Ten Championship we've ever seen. Arguing those situations are the same is disingenuous at best.
*90 yards of this came on 1 play, and they had to resort to running a wildcat offense. There is not a single person who watched that game and thought they are one of the best four teams in the country*
I know it may not be fair, but when has College Football ever been fair? The history of the sport is riddled with controversy, conflict, inconsistency, and scandal. That is why we love it. The average margin of victory in the playoffs has been 19 points. We were staring down the barrel of another blowout if we had Michigan vs FSU. That's the reality of the situation. Did you see the reaction of Michigan when it was announced it was Alabama? The gut reaction was fear. They were hoping to get a pass and bye to the National Championship game but the committee made the right decision and did their job finally.
If you're mad at the outcome you should be equally mad at the format. With five power conferences and four spots this was bound to happen eventually. It just took until the final season of the four team playoff.
Its worth noting that the only other time an undefeated team finished behind teams with losses was 2014 Florida State who finished 13-0 and at number 3 behind 12-1 Alabama and 12-1 Oregon, they complained about being 3 but ultimately they still got a chance to win it all. They fought hard, for a couple minutes, that 13-0 Seminole squad lost in the semi-final 59-20. Is it possible that records are not indicative of the best team?
In a month, when the dust settles and Alabama and Michigan kickoff in Pasadena there won't be anyone outside of Tallahassee and Ann Arbor who'd rather be watching Florida State. We are going to get the four best teams, the three best games, and hopefully one of the best playoffs we've ever seen. Florida State, go beat Georgia in the Orange Bowl and prove to the world you were screwed. Go win and claim a National Title. However, when you lose by 35 and struggle to gain 200 yards I better not hear another complaint about what could've been.