On Sunday the four playoff teams were released for the inaugural FBS Playoffs that’ll take place on New Year’s Day in Pasadena and New Orleans at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The four teams that’ll square off on New Year’s is Oregon vs FSU in SoCal, and Alabama vs Ohio St. in the bayou. The teams that were left on the outside looking in were the Baylor Bears and TCU Horned Frogs who both finished the season at 11-1 with Baylor’s lone loss coming to the Horned Frogs several weeks ago with the benefactors being the Buckeyes of Ohio State.
There were three teams vying for one spot and with the Buckeyes getting to showcase in a championship game in Indianapolis to the tune of 59-0, it was too much to not allow them to leap frog their Big 12 counterparts. OSU entered Saturday night as the #5 team in the country, but after beating up on a quality opponent like Wisconsin, the playoff committee decided that the 12th win (11th straight) of the season was enough to put them in. The Buckeyes had turned to their third quarterback of the season after Braxton Miller and JT Barrett went down with injuries. RS Sophomore Cardale Jones was playing in his first game and performed magnificently throwing for three scores and 257 yards. The defense also played phenomenally on the night giving the panel an idea that perhaps on a somewhat neutral field, and a fast surface, the Buckeyes could derail the Tide. The Buckeyes caused four turnovers, and returned a fumble for a touchdown. In addition to keeping then Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon III grounded on the night. Gordon carried the ball 26 times for a 2.9YPC average, also the Badgers had no passing game as Joel Stave had to throw the ball 43 times for just 187 yards and three interceptions; woof.
On the flip side Baylor actually beat a higher ranked team in KSU than did OSU in Wisconsin by an eleven point margin which did in-fact cover the Vegas spread which is so critical in rankings. College sports is the one thing where covering the spread most greatly affects the rankings the following week. Baylor beat the #9 team in the country, but apparently it wasn’t by enough as the TCU loss earlier in the season seemed to cancel out both teams for a shot at a national title. For TCU, their final game was a cupcake at home against the Cyclones of Iowa St, a team they thrashed 55-3. The opening score was something to behold as a double reverse back to QB Trevor Boykin set the tone for the blowout. TCU entered the day as the team in, and with the 52 point margin of victory, they’re probably the team to have the biggest gripe with the voting committee. However in looking at the final four teams now, it’s tough to imagine Alabama not utterly destroying the Horned Frogs by something ugly.
The BIG 12 used to have a championship game, but with conference realignment that game no longer exists. The Big 12 actually only has 10 teams in it which is kind of head scratching. How can a conference called the Big 12 only have ten teams while the Big 10 has 14 teams? Also how much does a name have to do with this snubbing. Had Oklahoma been 11-1 and number four, would they’ve been snubbed like the smaller Baylor and TCU programs? What does the cache of Urban Meyer play in the part of this? Obviously the coaching matchup of Meyer and Saban is ESPN’s dream, but does the Big 12 have a problem on their hands that’ll go beyond this year? Does a Big 12 team have to now have a undefeated team like the ACC in order to place in the final four?
All of these questions will be ongoing, but for the three games that’ll give us a national champion, it certainly appears as though the best team will come out on top. The vegas oddsmakers already have Oregon and Alabama 9 and 10 point favorites respectively in their national semifinal matchups.