Sunday, December 7, 2014


What a crazy weekend for college football with the first playoff announcement coming on the heels of a full slate of Championship games yesterday.

I'll start with the A&M news. We have drawn West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl.  /Golf clap

Of course, I'm not thrilled playing a Big 12 team - at least it is one of the new Big 12 teams and not one we've played before.  The big dump on this bowl is that it is a Monday Dec. 29th at 1pm kickoff.  That sucks. 

Throughout the day, it looked like we were either going to the Music City Bowl vs. Notre Dame, the Independence Bowl vs. Miami, or the Texas Bowl vs. the horns. 

As it ended up - both teams in the Liberty Bowl were 7-5 and both teams in the Texas Bowl were 6-6.  LSU got the matchup with Notre Dame, South Carolina got the matchup with Miami, and Arky is going to run over the horns.  At least the Independence Bowl is on a Saturday.

I also think this is a tough draw for the Ags.  I obviously, don't know a whole bunch about WVU this year but I know that they beat Baylor and that a Dana Holgerson offense with two or three weeks to prepare is going to be tough for our bad defense - even more so without a DC.

It is what it is.  Go better than 7-5 and you get a better bowl.

The playoffs announcement was much more exciting.  Let me give a little backstory.

Last week the committee met and put out the following rankings:
  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. TCU
  4. FSU
  5. Ohio St
  6. Baylor
TCU had leapfrogged FSU, which was a pretty big deal since only the top 4 teams get in.

TCU and Baylor were both 10-1 on the season - but Baylor had defeated TCU in their head-to-head matchup, but then lost to West Virginia.  That gave them the head-to-head advantage but also gave them a much worse loss than TCU (who only lost to Baylor).

The Big 12 then came out and said that they will treat both teams as Co-Champions if they both won their games this weekend (even though their by-laws says that head-to-head is the deciding factor).  The Big 12 does not play a Conference Championship Game like the other big four conferences do but instead tag another bye week into their schedule and play their final conference game for several teams on the day of all the conference championships.

So this weekend in the championship games: Alabama beats #16 Mizzou, Oregon beats #7 Arizona, Florida State slides bye #10 Georgia Tech, and Ohio State throttles #13 Wisconsin.  Then TCU beats Iowa State and Baylor beats #9 KSU.

Ohio State has a little back story as well - in week 2 they lost to Virginia Tech at home - by far the worst loss of the top 6 teams.  Their Heisman contendor QB, Braxton Miller, injured his shoulder just before the season started so they had to go with redshirt freshman, J.T. Barrett, at QB. So Barrett lost in his second career start to a Bud Foster defense and then went on to become a Heisman candidate himself....until he hurt himself in the Buckeye's final regular season game and will miss the rest of the season.  So sophomore, Cardell Jones, makes his first career start against Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game and the Buckeyes win FIFTY NINE to ZERO.

So the final rankings come out this morning and look like this:
  1. Alabama
  2. Oregon
  3. FSU
  4. Ohio State
  5. Baylor
  6. TCU
There is, of course, outcry - as expected. There are several factors working here....

First of all, Florida State is not the third best team in the country.  I think they would lose to every other team listed there.  The problem is that they were the only undefeated team and that is some sort of magical force field in college football.  They moved ahead of TCU because they beat a very good GT while TCU beat an ISU team that had one conference win (regardless of how badly they beat them).

Secondly, the Big 12 screwed it's teams - in several ways.  First of all, they are structured to not have a Conference Championship.  That is one less game against a formidable opponent.  So BU and TCU are each 11-1 while all the other teams are 12-1. 

Then the Big 12 tried to take the safe route and at the last minute claim them both as Co-Champs, hoping that either team having the title attached to them would boost them - but in fact, I think it hurt them because there is no differentiation.  Baylor won the head to head and should have been the Big 12 Champ. 

The entire reason we have gone to a playoff is to let the teams settle it on the field - but then you want us to discard that when determining who makes the playoff?

But here is the kicker - the Big 12's entire season long slogan was "One True Champion".  I'm going to laugh at that one for years to come.

That said, I think that tOSU would not have necessarily leapt over the Big 12 team (likely Baylor) had they not looked so dominant in their Conference Championship game.  Had they won, 24-21 or 35-27 I think we would have seen them left out.  To their credit, they played that additional game and used it as a platform to their advantage.

Thirdly, strength of schedule.  Not all conferences are created equal - going 12-1 in the SEC is not the same as going 12-1 in the Big 10.  It is understandable that some teams can't control their conference schedule - but they can control their out of conference schedule.  FSU knows that the ACC is a bad conference so they bolstered their resume by scheduling non-conference games with Florida, Oklahoma State, and Notre Dame.  We all realize that those three teams happened to have down years, but the attempt by FSU was appreciated by the committe.

TCU did play Minnesota, who just out of sheer luck for TCU had their best season in recent memory.  Baylor's best OoC game was against Buffalo.  Baylor played the weakest OoC schedule in the entire country - #128 out of 128.

I don't have a problem with the way the rankings and spots played out - I do think that if you stuck all the teams on the field Baylor would be a tougher draw than TCU, FSU, or tOSU but the selection committee didn't want to set the precedent that you could play less games against weaker teams and still get in.

Like they say, it sucks to BU.

There are a few things that I did not like that came out of this weekend....
  • I don't like how "style points" became such a big deal for the last game of the season - it should matter for all 12 or 13 games, not just the last one.
  • I'm concerned about the mention of tOSU's ability to overcome having to play backup QBs....does that mean that they will look at something like that in reverse if they have a team who loses a great player at the end of the year?  Could a team get left out if they don't "overcome" losing someone to injury?
  • I also don't like the precedent that they felt that tOSU did have the "worst" loss off the three but overcame that in the weeks to follow. Would a team who loses late in the season that doesn't have an opportunity to "overcome" it be punished? Why is an early season loss less important than a late season loss? That would indicate you want your conference to schedule all you tough games as early as possible.  The playoff should not be about who finished hot, but rather the entire body of work.
  • I also don't like the precedent set by selecting 4 conference champions....because I don't think that in most years there are four conference champions that are amongst the four best teams in the country. It just kind of happened this year but usually there is one or two conferences whose top team is ranked in the mid-teens.  They wouldn't deserve to be in a four team playoff.
  • You can eliminate that by going to 8 teams, like it should have been done in the first place.  Take all 5 conference champs + 3 at large
Anyways, Alabama will face Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl and Oregon will face FSU in the Rose Bowl.

TCU ended up matched against Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl and Baylor got Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl.  Both should be really interesting games. 

In terms of coaching replacements for A&M's staff- there isn't anything of note that has occurred yet.  I'll try to hash out some scenarios if I get time before the decision is made.

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