The season is now in the hands of the CFP Committee. Three teams are a lock for the Playoff: Oklahoma, Clemson, and Georgia. But team #4 is up in the air. Ohio State or Alabama?
Here’s my expert* opinion:
*I am a self proclaimed expert and some other people say that too.
If you know me, you know I am a huge SEC fan and that I hate an Ohio State. But listen, I can be unbiased.
CASE FOR ALABAMA:
Alabama is a great team. I don’t think anyone can dispute that. Their loss to Auburn came when their LBs were very injured. This season, the committee has basically pardoned Clemson’s loss to Syracuse (a 4-8 Syracuse) because QB Kelly Bryant was injured. If you are going to give them a pass for that loss, you have to give Alabama a pass on their loss on the road to the SEC Runner Up. That SEC Runner Up also beat the SEC Champ by twenty three points in the regular season. By the time the Playoff comes around, the Tide will be healthy, and a healthy Alabama team is definitely better than a healthy Ohio State team. Are we forgetting that Ohio State got in without winning (or playing for) their conference championship last year? The committee set a precedent that a 1-loss team that didn’t their conference is better than a 2-loss team that did win their conference. Alabama lost to Auburn by 12. Ohio State lost to Iowa by 31 and they lost to OU, at the ‘Shoe, by 21. The numbers don’t lie. Alabama also beat Florida State, a team that at the time was ranked 3 before losing their QB and lots of other things happened. Alabama should be in the Playoff.
CASE FOR OHIO STATE:
This is from the document outlining how the Committee is supposed to pick teams:
When circumstances at the margins indicate that teams are comparable, then the following criteria must
• Championships won
• Strength of schedule
• Head-to-head competition (if it occurred)
• Comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory)
Based on the actual rules of the Committee, Ohio State should be in. The Buckeye’s won their conference championship and have the better strength of schedule. Beating undefeated Wisconsin is a great win. The loss to OU should be considered a “quality loss” because look where OU is now. Alabama’s “quality” out of conference win came against a team that needed to reschedule a game against ULM to be bowl eligible. Ohio State has 3 wins over teams that will finish the season ranked. Alabama only has two, and only 1 if Mississippi State drops out today. Plain and simple, Ohio State’s best win (over undefeated Wisconsin in conf champ) is much better than Alabama’s best win (over LSU, a team that lost at home to Troy). Ohio State should be in the Playoff.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS:
Personally, I think Alabama deserves the final Playoff spot. Having watched a ton of football this season, I believe the Tide is the better team. That doesn’t mean that Ohio State isn’t a good team. I think both teams have a credible argument to make it, and this year might lead to the expansion of the Playoff to 8 teams. But, right now it is a 4-team playoff and if I were sitting in that room, I would put Alabama in.