Saturday was treated like “Showcase Saturday” for the teams trying to make the playoffs. In its first season with the playoffs, college football was electric in 2014. Despite all of the strength of schedule problems and key wins or losses, it’s good to know that the College Football Playoffs Committee got it right with their top four.
Before Saturday, it was pretty clear that Alabama, Oregon, Florida State were all going to make the playoffs. The problem was that it was unclear whether Ohio State, Baylor, or TCU would be the fourth seed. With its toughest decision by far, the committee had to choose between the three, after each won their final game of the regular season. There will be many arguments using metrics and eye-views, but the truth is that Ohio State deserved to make the playoffs over Baylor and TCU.
A key deciding point for the committee was the fact that there is no conference championship game for the Big XII. With that being said, it was hard to pick between Baylor and TCU considering they were co-conference champions. If there was a conference championship game in the Big XII, it would’ve given the committee an easier decision to make. Even though Baylor beat TCU, the reality was that the Bears lost a mediocre West Virginia team and TCU was playing better football. Sometimes, even if you have a huge win, the committee, no matter college football or basketball, always views the key loss more than the key win. The Baylor-TCU argument went out the window when Ohio State, with a quarterback starting his first collegiate game, absolutely dismantled a really tough Wisconsin team.
After J.T. Barrett went down with a season-ending ankle injury, everyone counted out the Buckeyes and with good reasoning. But agains the Badgers, Cardale Jones was surgical. Even though the Buckeyes were playing with their third-string quarterback, they silenced critics and won the committee’s favor by shutting out Heisman contender Melvin Gordon and the Badgers, 59-0. Even though Ohio State played in the Big Ten, which was arguably the worst power conference in the nation in 2014, the Buckeyes deserved to be in the final four because they showed the ability to win with their second-string quarterback and more importantly their third-string quarterback.
Now all set and less than a month away from the games, college football fans will have to wait see at least three of the best games of the year. The best part about this playoffs is that the best team from each of their respective conferences are playing. In the first annual playoffs, the SEC, Pac-12, ACC, and the Big Ten will all be represented. These games will feature a tidal wave of NFL talent, players like Jameis Winston, Amari Cooper, Marcus Mariota, and Joey Bosa will all be on full display.
New Year’s Day 2015 will see Alabama take on the Buckeyes in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, with Oregon bringing the Seminoles out west for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Early lines favor the top seeded Tide (-10) and Ducks (-7.5)
The winners of the semi-final round will meet on January 12, 2015 in Dallas for the championship.
*Section Photo credit to Andy Lyons, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to USA Today Sports