Controversy Looms With #2 Ohio State Right In The Middle

Photo used courtesy of: Sam Howzit (CC) some rights reserved

Photo used courtesy of: Sam Howzit (CC) some rights reserved

 

After 13 weeks, you’d think all of the chaos would be gone from the 2016 college football season. But again, what’s one more week? With Championship Weekend a kicking off on Friday, there is plenty up for grabs still, namely the last three spots in the College Football Playoff. With Alabama all but locked into the one seed, the focus shifts to seeds 2-4. Currently, Ohio State (11-1) is in the second spot followed by Clemson (11-1) at three and Washington (11-1) at four. Rounding out the top-10:

#5 Michigan (10-2)

#6 Wisconsin (10-2)

#7 Penn State (10-2)

#8 Colorado (10-2)

#9 Oklahoma (9-2)

#10 Oklahoma State (9-2)

Here’s where we have a problem. Only two teams in the newest top-10 aren’t playing for a conference title: #2 Ohio State and #5 Michigan. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines are in the B1G East Division, which was won by #7 Penn State. The Nittany Lions lost to Michigan 49-10 in Ann Arbor, but they did upset Ohio State at home 24-21 thanks to a blocked field goal. With Ohio State dropping Michigan 30-24 in double overtime last Saturday, Penn State will be playing for the first conference title since 2008 when they take on #6 Wisconsin Saturday night. The Badgers

#1 Alabama takes on #15 Florida in the SEC Championship game, and I highly doubt there’s an upset, so we’ll move on. Perhaps the biggest surprise this year is in the PAC-12 where #4 Washington takes on #8 Colorado. Yes, you read that right. The PAC-12 will have another birth in the CFP only if Washington wins. Colorado does have two wins over teams in the CFP top-25, but they’re against #18 Stanford and #20 Utah. They also have two losses against the CFP top-25: at #5 Michigan (45-28) and #11 USC (21-14). In short, I don’t buy Colorado as a CFP option.

More ridiculous is the thought that #9 Oklahoma (with a win over #10 Oklahoma State) could even be considered as a playoff contender. They dropped their season opener to #24 Houston 33-23 and were then embarrassed at home in a 45-24 loss to Ohio State. They also currently have one win against the top-25. That was a 56-28 drubbing of #16 West Virginia.

Now that all that nonsense is out of the way, let’s get down to business here. Does Ohio State deserve to be in the playoff? That would be an emphatic YES! Despite not playing for the B1G title, the Buckeyes have an impressive resume. They have a 3-1 record against teams in the top-25, 4-1 if you get technical and include the 62-3 massacre of Nebraska in Columbus when the Huskers were ranked 10th. The Buckeyes have wins against Oklahoma and Wisconsin on the road to go along with the victory over Michigan last weekend. The loss in Happy Valley to Penn State was the only loss this year for Ohio State, and if it wasn’t for a blown pass interference call and a blocked kick, the Bucks may have limped away with a win. But that’s in the past, so we’ll leave it there.

The CFP is supposed to get the four BEST teams in the country and have them play for a national title. The committee looks at strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, win-loss record and a preference to conference champions. The Buckeyes have the 26th toughest schedule in the country and boast an 11-1 record. What hurts them is not being a conference champion AND losing to Penn State, should the Nittany Lions win Saturday. Ohio State holds the head-to-head over Wisconsin, so it would be hard to place Wisconsin in over Ohio State. But let’s play something out. Let’s say Notre Dame was also 11-1. They don’t have a conference at all, but there would be no doubt that they’re a lock for the CFP. What makes them different from an 11-1 Ohio State, who is in a conference? The answer is, and should, be nothing. If the Buckeyes have to earn their CFP birth with an eye test, then so should Notre Dame. The same can even be said for Michigan. AS much as I hate to say it, they’re a worthy contender for the playoff. They beat Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado, and lost two tough, close road games. One in Columbus, and one in Iowa (14-13).

And because I’m a sick human being, and I love seeing mayhem, what if Alabama, Clemson and Washington all lose? Do you honestly think that #15 Florida (8-3), #23 Virginia Tech (9-3) and #8 Colorado (10-2) are the best teams in the country? Seriously, I want someone to explain that to me, because I sure as hell don’t think that makes sense. Technically then, potential MAC Champion, and undefeated #17 Western Michigan should be in the final four. An undefeated, conference champ should be automatically in by the committee’s guidelines and criteria. This system is just as flawed, if not more, than the BCS was. The easiest fix would be to have an 8-team playoff. The Power 5 Conferences (B1G, SEC, Big 12, PAC-12 and ACC) all get automatic bids for conference champions. That leaves three at-large bids available for the best teams that didn’t win their conference. However, anyone of the other conferences (MAC, Mountain West, AAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt and the FBS Independents) can qualify IF they’re ranked high enough and pass the eye test. The chances of this happening are slim, seeing as the current format will run until 2026.

All in all, Ohio State is a very worthy contender and should stay locked in as the second-seed. Yes, they had a bit of a rough patch offensively for a couple games, but they have been consistently good on defense all year to go along with an impressive resumé. Worst case scenario is that the Buckeyes get dropped to fourth and have to play Nick Saban and Alabama in the Semi-Final. It’s just very, very hard to say that Ohio State doesn’t deserve this. The only team that may jump Ohio State is Penn State, but that only happens is Clemson or Washington lose their conference title games. What’s one more week of chaos? Isn’t that why we love college football?

Championship Weekend Matchups:

Friday, December 3

PAC-12 Championship-Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA (9:00 PM, FOX)

#8 Colorado (10-2, 8-1 PAC-12) vs #4 Washington (11-1, 8-1 PAC-12)

Saturday, December 4

**#10 Oklahoma State (9-2, 7-1 Big 12) at #9 Oklahoma (9-2, 8-0 Big 12)

SEC Championship-Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA (8:00 PM, CBS)

#15 Florida (8-3, 6-2 SEC) vs #1 Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC)

ACC Championship-Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL (8:00 PM, ABC)

#23 Virginia Tech (9-3, 6-2 ACC) vs #3 Clemson (11-1, 7-1 ACC)

B1G Championship-Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (8:00 PM, FOX)

#7 Penn State (10-2, 8-1 B1G) vs #6 Wisconsin (10-2, 7-2 B1G)

 

**The Big 12 does not have a conference championship game at a neutral site. This is a regularly scheduled game with the conference title at stake**

 

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Raymond Bosak About Raymond Bosak

Hello everyone. My name is Raymond Bosak and I live in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a die-hard Cleveland fan, and have been my entire life. I am looking forward to bringing you some excellent Browns, Buckeyes, and Indians coverage, and maybe some Cavs things too. Everything I write will be honest and upfront. I’ll aim to have a couple articles per week, including some game previews and reviews, 5 things to watch for, and game ball and game MVP(s).

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