IT’S tough to see my Buckeyes miss out, as the committee dealt with a near-impossible task of determining who was worthy of a final four spot. The playoff field is set with the final competitors for the Rose and Sugar Bowl locked and loaded now. Did the 13 men in charge make the right choice with Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama?
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THE top two seeds were easy to confirm. Both Clemson and Oklahoma were already inside the top four and had their own fate in their hands. With one loss on each of their resumes, the Tigers floored Miami for the ACC crown 38-3 and the BIG 12 championship game went to Oklahoma with a 41-17 win over TCU.
GEORGIA joined the party as an easy vote in after the halted the momentum of Auburn with a 28-7 win in the SEC decider. Last week Auburn found themselves second in the CFB Playoff rankings and understandably found themselves demoted once they lost to the now 12-1 Bulldogs.
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SO with three spots locked in a handful of players remained in the mix to claw their way inside the top four. It was always going to be tough to make a case for a team who lost in the championship game, so that ruled out Miami, Wisconsin and Auburn, leaving Alabama, USC and Ohio State as the likely candidates. Even though USC had an 11-2 record and were also conference champs they didn’t really stand a chance over the Crimson Tide or the Buckeyes.
AND then there were two. At 11-2 the Buckeyes beat the previously undefeated Wisconsin to claim the Big Ten championship, making amends for their early season slip-ups. One of those losses was to another playoff team in Oklahoma, but the big outlier was a 55-24 L to an unranked Iowa team. Bama was forced to watch conference championship weekend from home after they lost their only game of the season in the Iron Bowl to Auburn the weekend prior.
ALABAMA had a cruiser schedule than Ohio State there’s no denying that. The toughest opponents outside of Auburn that the Crimson Tide played were No. 16 Mississipi State and No. 19 LSU, while the Buckeyes squared off against No. 2 Penn State, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 12 Michigan State and on the weekend took care of No. 4 Wisconsin.
TAKING all things into account the one thing that stands out from each teams season is Ohio State’s Week 10 showing. For all their ranked wins, their blowout loss at the hands of the Hawkeyes dented any chance they had of up seeding Bama and to be honest that was probably the difference between the two. Even though the Crimson Tide faced a softer slate of teams, they didn’t let any of them get close and they throttled teams early on in the season before their shock loss in Week 13.
PEOPLE will fairly make the argument that Nick Saban’s team got a bonus based on their reputation and the name and that Ohio State should have instead been the fourth-ranked team. At the end of the day, they have to choose the best team who they think deserves the final ranking and I think they got it right with Alabama.
IN fact, given the way that Bama has performed over the last few seasons, it wouldn’t surprise me if they rolled Clemson in the Sugar Bowl and qualified for the national championship decider. It would be fitting after the rollercoaster season that we have had so far and each of the four teams still have a realistic chance of winning it all. Bring it on.
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