An Evaluation of National Championships 1936-2013

81usaf92

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2019 FOUR-TEAM PLAYOFF
Selections: LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma
Rejections: none

1) Playoff fields don't come any easier than they did in 2019.


You have three unbeatens and a one-loss conference champion. This is a no-brainer. Again, Oklahoma would have finished 4th or 5th in the SEC, but so what?

It is years like 2019 that keep me from fully embracing the old two-team BCS. There is simply NO WAY AROUND it. You have three unbeaten teams, conference champions all, and a nickel's worth separates at least two of them. I saw all those teams play multiple times in 2019. If you asked me based ON THE EYE TEST how to rank them, I would have had the exact same top 3 the committee did in the same order. I thought LSU was probably the best, and it was a toss-up whether Clemson or Ohio State was better. I thought the Bucks were probably a TINY bit better, but I could see it either way.

Only 3 teams should have been selected, but you couldn't give LSU a "bye" so they gave them something even easier: Oklahoma in a post-season game. The Sooners haven't won a MEANINGFUL post-season game since their triumph over Washington State in the 2003 Rose Bowl in Mike Price's last game prior to meeting his own Destiny.

What have the Sooners done since then?

lost a national title game to LSU
got blown out in a national title game against USC
lost a Fiesta Bowl to Boise State
got blown out in a Fiesta Bowl against WVA
lost a national title game to Florida
got blown out in a Cotton Bowl against Johnny Manziel
lost a playoff game to Clemson
lost an overtime playoff game to Georgia
lost a playoff game to Alabama
got blown out in a playoff game by LSU

OK, yes they DID blow out Florida last year in the Cotton Bowl. I'm not quite sure how meaningful that one was but okay, I'll grant it.

It was the first meaningful game they won in post-season in 20 years. Sure, they beat Alabama in 2013 - in a game that meant everything to OU and nothing to Alabama. I'll grant OU had the same mindset for the Boise State game in 2007, but they also put those obnoxious Smurfs on the map, too.

2) Was LSU the best team of all-time?

No, because there's no such thing. An argument can be made that LSU had the BEST SEASON OF ANY TEAM EVER, maybe, although 2020 Alabama blows that one off the map, too. But since this is a tired topic of discussion let me put some thoughts out there for consideration.

For reasons that are never entirely clear, people are utterly obsessed with crowning something or someone they saw the "greatest of all-time" or "GOAT," which is amazing since a goat USED to be "guy who lost his team a championship by doing something stupid" like poor Fred Merkle did. Bear in mind - such arguments are subjective opinions and can never be proven conclusively anyway, but the verbiage is irresponsible.

A team MIGHT be "the best team I ever saw" or maybe "the best statistical team on offense/defense" ever. But you simply cannot say someone is the best ever, plain and simple. Nope - not even Michael Jordan. However, there's a general guide you can follow.

a) statistics are an imperfect lens, and stats in different eras mean different things.

Tennessee did not give up a single point during the 1939 season. That does NOT translate them into the greatest defense ever. The forward pass barely existed in 1939 much less had the specialized precision or accuracy of modern football. The leading passer in 1939 threw for 962 yards. David Klingler at the University of Houston topped 700 yards in a single game in 1991 (since broken by a lesser light). Those are NOT comparable stats in any way. Tennessee did not have to deal with two platoon football, road games across the country, night games or Brent Musberger.

You also cannot "really" take seriously records compiled particularly during the 1942-1945 period of WW2. The talent all collapsed heavily towards Army and a bunch of compiled "Pre-Flight" schools that competed only during the war. So the idea Army's mid-40s teams deserve any consideration as a great team is flat out absurd in every possible way.

b) no team prior to at least 1970 deserves any consideration and probably later

And then there's another problem: until football was fully integrated with equal opportunity for everyone regardless of race, can you REALLY - I mean REALLY - consider any pre-integration team in any discussion of "oh yeah, they were great"? The success of black athletes is well-established, and not only do you not have many playing in the South, a simple look at team photos shows that other than the mid-60s Michigan State powerhouse, you don't have many blacks on ANY team anywhere.

c) the reality is that most modern football teams would demolish the older ones, and it wouldn't be close.

This is not a reflection of character or any type of judgment on any player, it's simply true across the board in pretty much every way. I understand that us old guys like to look at our youth with a nostalgia it doesn't "really" deserve and guess what...the young guys right now are gonna do the same thing 25 years from now. I have no doubt that several players from the 92 Alabama team surely believe and say things among themselves like, "Man, Trevor Lawrence wouldn't even be able to make it back into the pocket against our defense."

Really? The average offensive lineman in 1992 weighed about 226 pounds. In 2020, they AVERAGE about 306 pounds. And that's not just 80 pounds of fat, either, the linemen are more mobile because they have to be. Tell an Alabama fan that Adam Griffith was actually a better kicker than Van Tiffin and - thanks to one shining moment - you're liable to get some rough looks. But it's actually not even close. Tiffin used a tee, Griffith didn't. Griffith had a higher percentage of field goals made (69.5% vs 67%), and while I'm sure everyone will say "but Tiffin never missed a PAT," Griffith also had 53 more attempts despite playing in only four more games - and despite the cringing, he only missed two in four years. And by the way - if you have idiots who want to go "but 85 versus 13 Iron Bowl," well, we're judging ENTIRE careers at Alabama, not one's best moment versus one's worst. Besides - Griffith's onside kick against Clemson in the 2015 title game was FAR more important than Tiffin's kick in terms of "if it works." And while, yes, Tiffin owns the longest field goal in Tide history (57 yards) with the help of a tee, Griffith nailed a 55-yarder just prior to halftime of the 2015 LSU game without a tee on a rain saturated field. So - in context - which one is the more impressive kicker?

So lines are bigger, kickers are better, runners are much faster, passing is better, nutrition is better, knowledge of kinesiology is better, the whole bit. It simply stands to reason the better overall teams would be nowadays. And I haven't even discussed things like scholarship limitations, teams that spent decades not playing each other, or how teams used to pad their schedules for regional football.

d) best of THEIR time, not best of ALL time.

The best to which teams may aspire is the best of THEIR time; there is no such thing as best of ALL time.

Does anyone - even on the campus of Yale - ACTUALLY believe that Princeton or Yale or any of those teams with boo-koo championships back when there were 3 schools playing ball actually means their program is the best ever?

And based on that notion, does anyone REALLY think 2019 LSU or 2018 Clemson is actually the best of all-time?

e) what exactly are the criteria for best of all-time?

Here's another difficult one for you - how exactly do you come up with the criteria for greatest team of all-time? Based on the teams always in the mix, it appears you have to have an undefeated team that was barely challenged (maybe 1-2 close games at most), and blew the doors off their opponent in the national title game. Another - in my view incorrect - criterion is "players that went to the NFL." Part of my reluctance to even recognize this stems from the reality that years ago, you could easily inflate the numbers of Miami Hurricanes in the NFL because they were recruited to Miami by NFL coach Jimmy Johnson, so you had a situation where a guy was in a position to better know what a player could and couldn't do. Also, brand name has more to do with who gets drafted after the first round than actual ability (in many cases).

3) Did the playoff committee get it right?

Well, yes, technically. Sure, OU's defense improved, but that 's like saying the income of homeless guy improved because he was better able to steal things out of houses.
I can’t help to think “what if Gus doesn’t get 1 second back?” You darn well know if Bama got another chance LSU is probably not skipping to the beat of a title. But then again “what if the officials not award Karen Swinney a win over Ohio St?”

As for Greatest of all Time....

2001 Miami, 2019 LSU, and 2020 Alabama probably have the strongest arguments out of everybody. Although 1971 Nebraska always comes up as well.
 

selmaborntidefan

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2020 FOUR-TEAM PLAYOFF
Selections: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame
Rejections: Texas A/M, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina

1) Covid-19 led to Controversy-20.


Let's be clear: choosing to be a committee selector in 2020 was about like asking to be the member of Henry VIII's court that gave him the bad news. And no matter which teams were selected by the committee, there was going to be an army of self-appointed judges (the same clueless bumblers who thought UCF should have been included)

2) Cincinnati - you've got to be kidding me...

I can't resist the urge to take apart the basic argument made on behalf of Cincinnati by a former journalist in that city. So here goes.

Here’s something else that fans of teams in the so-called Group of Five conferences have learned - that regardless of how good their team is, it will never be allowed to play for the national championship.

Not if they play the schedules of 2017 and 2018 UCF and 2020 Cincinnati, no, they won't.

That much was evident after the 8-0 UC Bearcats, who have been sidelined since November 21 due to coronavirus issues, fell from No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings to No. 8. They were passed by Iowa State, an 8-2 team from the Power Five Big 12.

A team that had a win against then #11 Oklahoma, then #20 Texas, and had finished first in their conference for the first time in over a century after a 42-6 dismantling of West Virginia. Ask yourself this question: "Which was the best team Cincinnati played PRIOR to the selection of the playoff teams?" The best team was PROBABLY Tulsa or Memphis. The same Tulsa that lost to Okie State by twice as many points as Iowa State did. I don't think that's a clinching argument, but here's the catch: Iowa State in their ten-game schedule (compared with Cincinnati's 9-game schedule) played at least 4 or maybe even 5 teams better than the best team Cincinnati played.

The 2020 Bearcats have produced one of the most impressive seasons in school history,
That's not saying much. In 67 seasons, the Bearcats have had a grand total of 14 where they were more than 3 games above .500. Their success coincides with all the good teams - Miami, WVA, BC - leaving the Big East for other environs.

potentially even better than the 2009 team that won the Big East Conference championship
And lost the Sugar Bowl to Florida, 52-17, the first murder victim of Aaron Hernandez's serial killing career (that we know for sure anyway).

and just missed qualifying for the national title game under the old Bowl Championship Series rules. If the officials hadn’t put one second back on the clock after an incomplete pass that appeared to end the game, allowing Texas to kick the game-winning field goal over Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game, the Bearcats might have played Alabama for the national championship.

This would be the Alabama that beat the team that beat you 52-17 like a drum, so badly in fact their head coach had a heart attack and then quit and then came back and quit again.

In a year where anything goes, the top four schools in the CFP rankings – UC, Coastal Carolina, BYU and Louisiana-Lafayette in the latest rankings – should get together and stage their own college football playoff to determine their national champion.

And would elicit laughter from coast to coast if anyone actually gave a damn about them.....

To show there are no hard feelings – even though there are – they could then propose to the Power Five that the two champions play each other in a winner-take-all college football Super Bowl.

You know, I'm sure Oklahoma would LOVE to avoid Texas and Alabama would LOVE to avoid......well nobody in 2020, but you know what I mean.....and Ohio State would LOVE to have avoided Northwestern or Indiana but oh well.

And every one of the top four teams in the country (and probably another six) would have loved to traded schedules with those four teams you're citing.
 

selmaborntidefan

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Then there's Dan Wolken, who had the Alabama dynasty dying in 2015 (at least Clay Travis admitted he was wrong):


Rather than look at this choice for the final spot in your playoff as a lesser of two evils situation, you have the opportunity to do something great for the sport, and frankly, for America.

Dare to do what your predecessors were able to avoid for the last six years. Have the courage to tell the establishment programs that they didn’t do enough to earn their place. Throw a bone to the little guy for once.

Pick Cincinnati.

Maybe it's just me, but don't columns like this make mince meat out of ANY appeals to strength of schedule arguments? I mean, how can you say "but (name of Big 5 team) didn't play anybody" but THEN say "pick these teams that didn't play anybody." What's funny is Wolken is mocking the committee because Notre Dame looked bad, but does he REALLY believe Cincy would have looked better against Clemson?


It’s also worth remembering this: In the Playoff’s protocol, it states that for the selection committee to choose a team that didn’t win its own conference, it must be “unequivocally one of the best four teams in the country.” Can you truly say that about either Texas A&M or Notre Dame? At least the Irish won the regular-season title.

I can say they're better than Cincinnati, and it's pretty obvious.

If conference championships matter, is Oklahoma worth a second look?
No.

If there were ever a team and a scenario that should allow for a Group of Five member to make the Playoff, this is it. Because of the pandemic, Cincinnati didn’t have the chance to go outside its conference and grab an eye-catching non-conference win.

They had games scheduled against Austin Peay (which they somehow managed to play), Western Michigan, and Miami of Ohio. And they had another one against Nebraska, who hasn't been a big deal since shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The idea that Cincinnati scraping past Nebraska would be worthy is amusing to say the least.

What the Bearcats did do, though, is destroy a bunch of good teams including nine-win Army by 14,

Army had nine wins because they played a regular season slate that ranked 121st and included powerhouses like Mercer, Georgia Southern, and UTSA. I'm old enough to remember when Alabama playing Mercer was garbage, but it's now okay for Army?

seven-win Memphis by 39 and seven-win SMU by 29, capped off by pulling out a tough win over a Tulsa team in awful weather conditions that was ranked 23rd last week

Wondering why Wolken thinks any of these teams is an asset......

So in a year where it’s nearly impossible to separate one flawed Playoff contender from another, why is it so unthinkable to give a shot to a team that didn’t lose?

Well, Alabama and Ohio State are in the playoff so....

Cincinnati would be far from the worst team that has made the Playoff in its six-year history.
Far from the worst?

Name one team Cincinnati would actually be better than since 2014 that made the playoff. If they're "far from the worst," who is FAR worse than the Bearcats?

And then there's Mike Luciano, whose nickname apparently is "Doesn't Get Lucky"

However, the committee seems to think a Florida team that lost to a three-win team with a true freshman quarterback was a provably better team, which is almost devoid of logic.

Yes, and they lost after they had the game in the bag thanks to an insanely dumb move by a Gator who threw a player's shoe. Would you REALLY take Cincinnati head-to-head over Florida?

And then there's Jason Kirk, who will never be mistaken for a "captain":

2020 marks the third time in four years that an undefeated AAC champ has finished at least four spots away from the playoff.

And also the third time in four years they didn't play anyone worth a damn.

San Jose State likewise enters bowl season undefeated, boasting a 14-point win over Boise State, one of the few nonpowers the sport has ever kiiiiinda respected.

Nobody ever respected Boise State. Ever. A bunch of idiotic online sportswriters seeking attention pretended Boise was actually good. But no, this never happened.

And then there's Colin Sherman..

This isn’t a surprise, as what tends to happen is that one single team from a non-power conference has a great season,
That is solely the result of not playing anybody decent....

gets screwed out of an opportunity to play for a national championship,
Step one: beat someone good and preferably several someones good.

and then beats up on a power conference school in a bowl game.
A team that is usually resting its NFL players to prevent injury prior to the draft.

And it’s happened for over two decades now.
Well to hear Arizona State and Purdue and BYU tell it, it's happened since 1943.

The non-power conference teams are 8-5 so far, and 3-3 since the creation of the College Football Playoff.
And 8-5 makes you about the level of Auburn.

And by the logic of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, in the last six seasons not a single other team from any of these conferences deserves to be one of the Top 12 teams in America?

Something to do with beating good teams.

With the exception of the 2016 Houston Cougars, who had luckily scheduled eventual Big 12 Champion Oklahoma and ACC co-division champion Louisville years in advance, there has been absolutely no path for any Group of Five team no matter what they’ve done. If that Houston team had run the table, they possibly would have made it.

Yes, but you're ignoring the part where they lost four games largely because they had to exert what was necessary to win those games, too.

Win, win, win. You know, just like the G5 does most of the time when they play a power conference school when it matters.

Did anyone else notice the OBVIOUS FLAW in his argumentation? He's ONLY counting bowl games where teams have a month to prepare for a game that means the world to them and usually nothing for the opponent. He conveniently ignores the REST OF THE GAMES played during the regular seasons.
 

selmaborntidefan

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And then there's Rodger Sherman (so old he discovered Connecticut!) , whom I don't know if he's Colin's alter ago or not:

The days of a freak loss eliminating a team from national title contention are gone, so long as that team is in the right conference.

2015 Ohio State would like a word with you. So would 2019 Alabama. And 2014 TCU. A "freak loss" only eliminated you if there were many unbeaten teams. Also, 2001 Nebraska and 2003 Oklahoma had NOT freak losses but "blown off the field" losses and still made it. That was LONG before 2014, pal.

these unbeaten Group of Five conference teams were significantly worse than power-conference teams who got their asses kicked..
I don't recall Coastal Carolina or Cincinnati beating Clemson (as Notre Dame did), but I'll grant I might have missed it through all the smoke you're blowing.

The committee’s logic has been inconsistent over the first six years of the playoff era,

It will always be "inconsistent" when you don't have automatic bids. This entire thread has demonstrated inconsistency save for "the Southern teams pre-1961 get almost no consideration."

That Notre Dame is in this season’s playoff is the least defensible choice the committee has made in seven years.

I actually agree with this one.

How does the playoff committee know for certain that these teams are worse than Notre Dame and Texas A&M? Well, it doesn’t.

True, this is the subjective factor of which I've spoken. On the other hand, you don't know they're better, either, so that's a stalemate.

The last time Cincinnati played a power-conference team was in January’s Birmingham Bowl against Boston College. The Bearcats won 38-6; in their two games against Boston College this year, Clemson and Notre Dame combined to beat the Eagles by 20 points.

To show you insanely stupid this argument is - in their last game in 2010, Auburn beat Oregon; in their first game of 2011 they needed a miracle to beat Utah State. THEREFORE, Utah State is better than Oregon! You also left out the part where BC played Notre Dame at home the week after the Clemson game, which is precisely the point. Cincinnati didn't play two comparable opponents in a row, so your argument is moot.

But the committee apparently lives in a world where crappy power-conference teams like Georgia Tech can rout good non-power-conference teams like UCF—not in the real world, where the opposite happened.

Yes, and tell me what happened after UCF actually had to play somebody decent? Just like Houston in 2016, they lost FOUR GAMES, this after we've heard for 3 years how great they are.

Somehow, 8-3 Iowa State was higher in the final playoff rankings (no. 10) than 11-0 Coastal Carolina (no. 12)—even though Coastal defeated Louisiana, who defeated Iowa State 31-14 in Ames.

The definition of idiot - "person who thinks 'beat the team who beat the team' means you get credit for beating both teams." This is the 1936 Slippery Rock argument all over, but they were joking. It's people who take this crap seriously that petrify me.

UCF went undefeated in 2017, and did not make the top 10 of the playoff rankings. UCF went undefeated again in 2018, and only got to eighth in the rankings—not even close to the top four.

Because they didn't play anybody. And proof this is correct is...look what happened the moment they had to do so. They haven't managed an unbeaten season yet.

the pretense of thoroughness to a process that actually eliminates half of the sport’s teams from consideration before a given season kicks off.

3/4 of the teams are eliminated before the season starts. Simply look at how few teams have won national titles - and it would be fewer if we'd had a head-to-head championshp game years earlier.

In years past, there were at least some results to back up the notion that one-loss power-conference teams deserved a spot in the playoff over undefeated non-power-conference teams. This season, those results don’t exist.

Yes, because a pandemic changed which teams played which number of games and whom.

Cincinnati deserves the fourth and final playoff spot. It’s the right choice from a football perspective, and it’s also the right choice from a narrative perspective: The Bearcats are the best team in the country that has not already lost to one of the other playoff teams.

I actually DO think Cincinnati should have been chosen, and I have no doubt that Notre Dame was chosen due to their name. However, I'll save that for the closing as to why I think it didn't happen.



3) The Big Ten - fire your comissioner

I realize I've had a lot negative to say about Jim Delany's tenure as head of the Big Ten, but I'll give the man this: he NEVER would have handled the pandemic the way the incredibly clueless Kevin Warren did. I don't know exactly what Delany would have done, but it would have shown far more common sense than Warren's basically scrapping the Big Ten season in hopes of derailing the re-election bid of the President of the United States. It made even less sense when you realize that Warren's own child was playing football during a time it was unsafe to play football, according to the Big Ten commish. I always thought the most amusing part of the whole thing was Warren thinking that getting his conference and the Pac 12 out front with "we're not playing' was going to influence the teams down South showed me he doesn't know anything about it. Warren's bungling actually permitted the man he wanted defeated to step in and give the appearance of "saving Big Ten football." It doesn't matter whether it's true, it only matters how it looks. And Warren, who clearly had planned to jettison the season early, bungled pretty much everything, and he should have been shown the door for sheer incompetence.

On top of that - and I'm guessing the conference as a whole decided it, although Warren himself allegedly pressured some of the schools on the "do we play" issue - the rule about how many games you had to play to win the conference and make the playoff blew up in the conference's face and resulted in a good team getting selected after not meeting the established minimums. My God, what good are rules and agreements if you don't enforce them?

4) A solution to the so-called problem

Maybe I'm way off-base, but perhaps the CFP could have resolved the alleged "problem" of not selecting Cincinnati by deciding to let the Bearcats play the Buckeyes one week from that day as a "play-in" game for the CFP. This would have solved the "Ohio State didn't play enough games" argument AND forever ended the "Cincinnati should have been selected" argument. I presume, based on the timing, it was too late for that with the big bowl games approaching, but perhaps set it in motion a tad earlier.

I don't think there was any problem with the selections anyway. It was 3 good teams and Notre Dame, which is no different than 2019 or 2017 or 2016 or 2015 or 2014.

5) Ryan Day won my respect.

So I'm riding in the car to go get some fat pills, and ESPN radio comes on with their announcements over the potential contenders to the playoff. They cut to a comment by Ohio State Coach Ryan Day, who showed me he's going to be a savvy negotiator in the future. Asked about the CFP, he didn't run anybody down or even make excuses for "well, it's not our fault we couldn't play games." What Day did instead was a model for future appeals, far better than the usual "well, we deserve it."

"I’m not going to talk about other teams because I think we have enough to talk about positively about our program, but I’ll say this; If we have an opportunity to play anybody in the country in one game, I’m going to take the Ohio State Buckeyes."

Look, I get Nick Saban calling ESPN on the night before the selection and reminding them that Alabama would have six defensive players back they were missing throughout the season. And no, Saban didn't sound whiny, certainly not like Bobby Ross after Georgia Tech beat Nebraska in the 1991 Citrus Bowl. Day showed me more that he believed in his team than anything else, and he didn't say anything that would get him bogged down in a futile discussion towards those he couldn't persuade. And this guy is only 41 years old, but he clearly gets it.
 

selmaborntidefan

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6) And speaking of respect, then there's Dabo Swinney, who continues to dig deeper.

It was often said that Ronald Reagan was "a humble guy with much to be humble about." That pretty well sums up Dabo, and you'd think his Christian values might teach him something about pride going before a fall and pride being a deadly sin and the necessity of being humble. But a little bit of success in life has transformed Dabo into an opinionated and outspoken moron, without the charm (to say nothing of the ability) of Michael Irvin. It all seems to have really begun on the night he beat his alma mater the second time and suddenly wanted to claim the mantle for his team as "the greatest college football team of all-time." Swinney is about a decade older than Ryan Day, but he clearly hasn't learned a thing or two about the politics of voting.

Swinney had ONE viable option open to him in the coaches poll - abstain from voting. Wise coaches have done this in the past because there's no need to antagonize an opponent and give them bulletin board material. But apparently lacking the wisdom of Solomon and with no child to cut in half, Swinney instead severed his own football team and laid them on the altar of sacrifice as a display of repentance for his tone-deaf comments. Asked about his ranking, Dabo could simply not shut his damned mouth. He said it was just principle because of the games, and though he was clear that it wasn't Ohio State's fault for the few games played, he managed to further tick off even more people by saying that in 2017 he had voted Ohio State ahead of Alabama.

Of course he did. He was sure he could beat Ohio State and afraid he'd lose to Alabama, which is exactly what happened. And this time, he lost to Ohio State in a mauling celebrated from Fort Payne to Mobile and Toledo to Cincinnati.

Dabo Swinney could.....COULD.....have been one of those likable coaches with good press relations who spoke well of other teams and said meaningless cliches like, "Well, that's why we play the games, and we hope to have a good one for everyone watching that night." But playing in a conference without challenge now for several years has given him the illusion of invincibility. On the night he squared off against Ohio State, Dabo learned once again that every 24 hours the world turns over on a man who was sitting on top of it. The saddest aspect is, I seriously doubt he learned anything from opening his yapper.

7) Did the committee get it right (aka should Ohio State and/or Notre Dame have been selected)?

There was almost no way for the committee to win in this strange year. It was a year where from week to week nobody knew which games were going to be played and which were not. If you had told an Alabama fan in February 2020 that the schedule had been changed and the Tide would have a three-game schedule of Texas A/M, Ole Miss, and UGA with no break - and later followed by Auburn and LSU in consecutive weeks - even the most devout Alabama fan could be forgiven for thinking a 1- or 2-loss season was coming, even with all the known talent. If you had told Notre Dame they'd beat Clemson, they likely would have thought "national championship here we come!"

So I will conclude this walk through the national championships with this reminder: from the time teams began to focus on and point their energies towards the national championship, the ENTIRE ARGUMENT HAS ALWAYS been about THREE teams with competitive claims. Once the conferences consolidated and the Independents vanished (almost completely), the number of unbeaten teams fell. The national champion since that time has always been a debate about 2 or 3 teams at most. There were a few anomalies, so let's look for a moment. I will start in 1966 (pardon me). Just because I list Arizona St or other unbeatens doesn't mean I give the claim any actual credence. Reminder: it's the controversy GOING INTO the bowl games, not COMING OUT of the bowl games.

1966 - Alabama, Michigan State, Notre Dame
1967 - no controversy (because bowls didn't count)
1968 - Ohio State, Penn State
1969 - Texas, Penn State, USC
1970 - Nebraska, Texas, Arizona St
1971 - championship game, no controversy
1972 - no controversy
1973 - Alabama, Notre Dame, Penn State
1974 - Alabama, Oklahoma, USC
1975 - Oklahoma, Arizona St
1976 - Pitt, Maryland
1977 - Texas and 6 other teams due to unique situation
1978 - Alabama, USC, Michigan, Penn State
1979 - Alabama, Ohio State, USC
1980 - no controversy
1981 - Clemson, Georgia, Pitt, Alabama, Nebraska
1982 - Penn State, Georgia, Nebraska, SMU
1983 - Nebraska, Texas (this was a manufactured controversy)
1984 - Oklahoma, Washington, BYU
1985 - Penn State, Oklahoma, Miami, Iowa
1986 - Miami, Penn State (but they played)
1987 - Miami, Oklahoma, Syracuse
1988 - Notre Dame, Miami, West Virginia
1989 - Colorado, Notre Dame, Miami
1990 - Colorado, Georgia Tech, Miami, Texas
1991 - Miami, Washington
1992 - no real controversy, championship game
1993 - Florida State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, WVA
1994 - Nebraska, Penn State
1995 - no real controversy, championship game played
1996 - Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Arizona St
1997 - Michigan, Nebraska
1998 - no controversy
1999 - no controversy
2000 - Oklahoma, FSU, Miami, Washington
2001 - Miami, Colorado, Oregon, Nebraska
2002 - no controversy
2003 - Oklahoma, LSU, USC
2004 - Oklahoma, USC, Auburn, Utah
2005 - no controversy
2006 - Florida, Ohio State, Michigan
2007 - Ohio State and.....whomever
2008 - Florida, Oklahoma, Texas
2009 - Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, Boise, TCU
2010 - Auburn, Oregon, TCU
2011 - Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma St
2012 - no controversy
2013 - no controversy

The committee did as good a job as possible under circumstances.



8) Speculation - why didn't the committee select Cincinnati?

I surmise there are a few reasons why Notre Dame was taken over Cincinnati, even though I thought it was the wrong call myself. First of all, the schools/sport needed money, and it's a simple fact that Notre Dame is a draw and Cincinnati is not. Pair up Notre Dame and Alabama in the Dallas Rose Bowl, put it at 1/4 capacity, and hope the TV ratings offset (a bit) the financial hole of 2020. Nobody is going to tune in to see Cincinnati play Alabama unless it's still a game at halftime. You figure Notre Dame has a minimally better shot at beating Alabama, but it's more than Cincy actually has. And while this is NOT the Notre Dame of thirty years ago, it's still a bigger draw than Cincinnati will ever be in football.

Secondly, I think there was likely also fear that it would give G5 teams delusions of grandeur going forward. G5 teams would change their polemics from "we deserve a chance" to "but this team is better than 2020 Cincy and THEY made the playoffs." Sure, it's a ludicrous argument, but nobody at ESPN seems willing to point that out. Of course, I DO think there's an animus and a pretense that a G5 team can make it, and I actually think Tim Brando's description of the P5 and CFP committee as "a cartel" is absolutely correct. But as noted earlier - just because bias is true doesn't mean the conclusions of the bias is necessarily wrong. The G5 is the G5 for a reason just as FCS is FCS for a reason (and rest assured - the NEXT step in this parade is "North Dakota State can beat Kansas, therefore, they could beat Alabama and Ohio State").
 
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STONECOLDSABAN

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6) And speaking of respect, then there's Dabo Swinney, who continues to dig deeper.

It was often said that Ronald Reagan was "a humble guy with much to be humble about." That pretty well sums up Dabo, and you'd think his Christian values might teach him something about pride going before a fall and pride being a deadly sin and the necessity of being humble. But a little bit of success in life has transformed Dabo into an opinionated and outspoken moron, without the charm (to say nothing of the ability) of Michael Irvin. It all seems to have really begun on the night he beat his alma mater the second time and suddenly wanted to claim the mantle for his team as "the greatest college football team of all-time." Swinney is about a decade older than Ryan Day, but he clearly hasn't learned a thing or two about the politics of voting.

Swinney had ONE viable option open to him in the coaches poll - abstain from voting. Wise coaches have done this in the past because there's no need to antagonize an opponent and give them bulletin board material. But apparently lacking the wisdom of Solomon and with no child to cut in half, Swinney instead severed his own football team and laid them on the altar of sacrifice as a display of repentance for his tone-deaf comments. Asked about his ranking, Dabo could simply not shut his damned mouth. He said it was just principle because of the games, and though he was clear that it wasn't Ohio State's fault for the few games played, he managed to further tick off even more people by saying that in 2017 he had voted Ohio State ahead of Alabama.

Of course he did. He was sure he could beat Ohio State and afraid he'd lose to Alabama, which is exactly what happened. And this time, he lost to Ohio State in a mauling celebrated from Fort Payne to Mobile and Toledo to Cincinnati.

Dabo Swinney could.....COULD.....have been one of those likable coaches with good press relations who spoke well of other teams and said meaningless cliches like, "Well, that's why we play the games, and we hope to have a good one for everyone watching that night." But playing in a conference without challenge now for several years has given him the illusion of invincibility. On the night he squared off against Ohio State, Dabo learned once again that every 24 hours the world turns over on a man who was sitting on top of it. The saddest aspect is, I seriously doubt he learned anything from opening his yapper.

7) Did the committee get it right (aka should Ohio State and/or Notre Dame have been selected)?

There was almost no way for the committee to win in this strange year. It was a year where from week to week nobody knew which games were going to be played and which were not. If you had told an Alabama fan in February 2020 that the schedule had been changed and the Tide would have a three-game schedule of Texas A/M, Ole Miss, and UGA with no break - and later followed by Auburn and LSU in consecutive weeks - even the most devout Alabama fan could be forgiven for thinking a 1- or 2-loss season was coming, even with all the known talent. If you had told Notre Dame they'd beat Clemson, they likely would have thought "national championship here we come!"

So I will conclude this walk through the national championships with this reminder: from the time teams began to focus on and point their energies towards the national championship, the ENTIRE ARGUMENT HAS ALWAYS been about THREE teams with competitive claims. Once the conferences consolidated and the Independents vanished (almost completely), the number of unbeaten teams fell. The national champion since that time has always been a debate about 2 or 3 teams at most. There were a few anomalies, so let's look for a moment. I will start in 1966 (pardon me). Just because I list Arizona St or other unbeatens doesn't mean I give the claim any actual credence. Reminder: it's the controversy GOING INTO the bowl games, not COMING OUT of the bowl games.

1966 - Alabama, Michigan State, Notre Dame
1967 - no controversy (because bowls didn't count)
1968 - Ohio State, Penn State
1969 - Texas, Penn State, USC
1970 - Nebraska, Texas, Arizona St
1971 - championship game, no controversy
1972 - no controversy
1973 - Alabama, Notre Dame, Penn State
1974 - Alabama, Oklahoma, USC
1975 - Oklahoma, Arizona St
1976 - Pitt, Maryland
1977 - Texas and 6 other teams due to unique situation
1978 - Alabama, USC, Michigan, Penn State
1979 - Alabama, Ohio State, USC
1980 - no controversy
1981 - Clemson, Georgia, Pitt, Alabama, Nebraska
1982 - Penn State, Georgia, Nebraska, SMU
1983 - Nebraska, Texas (this was a manufactured controversy)
1984 - Oklahoma, Washington, BYU
1985 - Penn State, Oklahoma, Miami, Iowa
1986 - Miami, Penn State (but they played)
1987 - Miami, Oklahoma, Syracuse
1988 - Notre Dame, Miami, West Virginia
1989 - Colorado, Notre Dame, Miami
1990 - Colorado, Georgia Tech, Miami, Texas
1991 - Miami, Washington
1992 - no real controversy, championship game
1993 - Florida State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, WVA
1994 - Nebraska, Penn State
1995 - no real controversy, championship game played
1996 - Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Arizona St
1997 - Michigan, Nebraska
1998 - no controversy
1999 - no controversy
2000 - Oklahoma, FSU, Miami, Washington
2001 - Miami, Colorado, Oregon, Nebraska
2002 - no controversy
2003 - Oklahoma, LSU, USC
2004 - Oklahoma, USC, Auburn, Utah
2005 - no controversy
2006 - Florida, Ohio State, Michigan
2007 - Ohio State and.....whomever
2008 - Florida, Oklahoma, Texas
2009 - Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, Boise, TCU
2010 - Auburn, Oregon, TCU
2011 - Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma St
2012 - no controversy
2013 - no controversy

The committee did as good a job as possible under circumstances.



8) Speculation - why didn't the committee select Cincinnati?

I surmise there are a few reasons why Notre Dame was taken over Cincinnati, even though I thought it was the wrong call myself. First of all, the schools/sport needed money, and it's a simple fact that Notre Dame is a draw and Cincinnati is not. Pair up Notre Dame and Alabama in the Dallas Rose Bowl, put it at 1/4 capacity, and hope the TV ratings offset (a bit) the financial hole of 2020. Nobody is going to tune in to see Cincinnati play Alabama unless it's still a game at halftime. You figure Notre Dame has a minimally better shot at beating Alabama, but it's more than Cincy actually has. And while this is NOT the Notre Dame of thirty years ago, it's still a bigger draw than Cincinnati will ever be in football.

Secondly, I think there was likely also fear that it would give G5 teams delusions of grandeur going forward. G5 teams would change their polemics from "we deserve a chance" to "but this team is better than 2020 Cincy and THEY made the playoffs." Sure, it's a ludicrous argument, but nobody at ESPN seems willing to point that out. Of course, I DO think there's an animus and a pretense that a G5 team can make it, and I actually think Tim Brando's description of the P5 and CFP committee as "a cartel" is absolutely correct. But as noted earlier - just because bias is true doesn't mean the conclusions of the bias is necessarily wrong. The G5 is the G5 for a reason just as FCS is FCS for a reason (and rest assured - the NEXT step in this parade is "North Dakota State can beat Kansas, therefore, they could beat Alabama and Ohio State").
Honestly I am not sure there was a great option for the fourth spot in 2020. While you can’t use what eventually did happen to retroactively say “well that team showed that they didn’t belong” Cincinnati lost to a depleted Georgia team that had a lot of its starters sit the bowl game out. I just have a hard time believing they would been able to to put up any better of a fight than Notre dame did against what was probably the most focused Alabama team saban has had. I do remember being exasperated by Notre dame getting selected after losing by 24 to Clemson. I was like “how many times can one team fail on the big stage only to get the benefit of the doubt. And A&M had already been slaughtered by Alabama once Before.
 

selmaborntidefan

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Honestly I am not sure there was a great option for the fourth spot in 2020. While you can’t use what eventually did happen to retroactively say “well that team showed that they didn’t belong” Cincinnati lost to a depleted Georgia team that had a lot of its starters sit the bowl game out. I just have a hard time believing they would been able to to put up any better of a fight than Notre dame did against what was probably the most focused Alabama team saban has had. I do remember being exasperated by Notre dame getting selected after losing by 24 to Clemson. I was like “how many times can one team fail on the big stage only to get the benefit of the doubt. And A&M had already been slaughtered by Alabama once Before.
When did we EVER have four teams where all four belonged? Okay, maybe 2017.

Teams We All Knew Before Had No Business There
2014 - FSU
2015 - Michigan St
2016 - Washington
2018 - Notre Dame or Oklahoma
2019 - Oklahoma
2020 - Notre Dame

And what's funny is that 2017 is the biggest year they come down on with, "Well.....but Alabama....."
 

selmaborntidefan

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WHY WE ARE DOOMED TO SEE THE SAME TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFF EVERY YEAR

Commentary time.

OK, so the complaint NOW is something along the lines of, "I'm tired of seeing the same four teams in the playoff every single year, so (get ready for mind-boggling nonsense) we should expand the playoff."

Do these idiots not REALLY understand that if you had an EIGHT-team playoff, you'd add the following:

2014 - Baylor, TCU, Michigan State, and a controversy between 9-3 Ole Miss and 10-2 MSU
2015 - Iowa, Stanford, Ohio State, Notre Dame
2016 - Penn St, Michigan, Oklahoma, and I'm telling you now they'll take USC over a fourth Big Ten team
2017 - Ohio State, Wisconsin, USC, and (theoretically) UCF
2018 - Georgia, Ohio State, Washington, and another controversy between UCF and two 3-loss SEC teams
2019 - Georgia, Oregon, Baylor, and probably Utah to spread the wealth

OK, so we expand the playoff and instead of Georgia making it once, they make it 3 times, Ohio State makes it every single year, Alabama makes it all but 2019 (and who knows? They might be ranked higher if folks knew they would be in the playoff). And in all honesty, once UCF gets blown out in 2017 by anyone with a pulse, they probably don't get chosen in 2018.

So expanding the playoff will
1) give you the same teams you say now you don't want to see
2) give you rematches of more regular season games
3) make conference championship games completely meaningless, which will actually devalue them as a cash cow for the SEC (at a minimum)

But now ask yourself a bigger question: why in the world do the same teams make the playoff and is this REALLY a problem that can be fixed?

The objection to this largely dates back to a period of time when the myth of "anyone can win a championship" was born during the time frame of 1980-1997. The fact that VERY FEW of these were straight head-to-head title games is largely what gave rise to this myth. When Clemson beat Nebraska to close out the 1981 season, the Huskers were a two-loss team ranked fourth. The two teams between Clemson and Nebraska - Georgia and Alabama - were in the Sugar and Cotton Bowls respectively. What gave rise to "see, anyone can win this" was the fact there were no championship games because of the bowl situation. So there's an OBVIOUS problem from the get-go: teams like #4 Alabama (1965), #5 Notre Dame (1977), #4 Nebraska (1981), and #5 Miami (1983) could pole vault several teams by beating #1 head to head. Those days are gone.

Computers - But there's another problem that nobody seems to think about: the use of computers and mass communications means that the best teams can get ALL of the best players rather than only SOME of them. To give a prominent example, look at the players from California that Alabama's Nick Saban has brought to the little town of Tuscaloosa. Although Alabama has had players from other states before, that has NEVER happened to the extent it is nowadays. In Paul Bryant's day, they would not (for the most part) have known about Najee Harris in little Antioch, California. (Yes, it's 111,000 people - that's not large in California). And while they might have known about "this guy" or "that guy" who was on some high school All-American team, the game was largely regional and MOSTLY homegrown talent. Saban has changed that, but it's changing all over.

Weather - there's another problem that gives Alabama, SEC teams, and Clemson a HUGE edge over other teams: it may never rain in Southern California, but it snows even less in the Southern USA. Warm weather players that used to travel to Lincoln, Nebraska have no reason whatsoever to go there. Cold weather players can get out of the cold if they're just able to play well. Again, the weather was ALWAYS better in the south, but now a guy in rural Iowa that can play ball doesn't have to suit up in Ames, Iowa City, or Lincoln anymore, he can go down South or even to Columbus, Ohio, which may not be as warm as down south but it's a helluva lot warmer than home.

the NFL - another issue is that with a streamlined process concerning the NFL and proof that even the least talented member of the right team can get drafted, there's more incentive for a guy willing to be a backup on a great team and maybe get his shot and make a lot of money than to go be a superstar at Podunk Tech. Once upon a time, a kid from rural South Carolina who could play ball could spend four years in Athens, GA and become a local legend and as the saying goes "never have to buy his own beer." Now that same player can bide his time, call his shots correctly, make it to the NFL - and buy his own brewery if he wishes.

It's true all these things existed to some extent before but they were never so easy to use as now. Throw in "extended redshirts" and "no wait to transfer" and guess what? Everyone wants to play for a winner. No fewer than SIXTEEN players who were on Alabama's 2011 defense were drafted into the NFL. Remember - you can only have 11 on the field at one time.

Conference Expansion and Title Games - often forgotten in those "any team can win the title" years is the fact that for the most part the conferences were smaller than today, had fewer competitive teams, and the only two teams that vaulted others to win the title were NOT members of conferences but were instead Independents. Nowadays, a good team CANNOT avoid the other good teams in conference barring a miracle. If the 2-3 best teams are in the same division, they all play; if they're in opposite divisions, they play each other in the conference title game. And one gets knocked out. On occasion you have a rarity like 2011 or 2017 Alabama or 2016 Ohio State, where the probable best team is eliminated through a confluence of factors. But the old days of Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss not playing each other or of Northwestern winning the Big 10 and making the Rose Bowl by avoiding Ohio State are long gone.

And that causes a seismic shift into the favor of the big names.
 

selmaborntidefan

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THE GAMES WE SHOULD HAVE HAD BUT NEVER WILL

1997 - Michigan vs Nebraska
1996 - Florida St vs Arizona St
1994 - Nebraska vs Penn St
1993 - West VA vs Nebraska
1991 - Washington vs Miami
1990 - Georgia Tech vs Colorado
1985 - Miami vs Penn State
1984 - BYU vs Somebody With A Pulse
1983 - Nebraska vs Texas
1982 - Georgia vs SMU
1980 - Georgia vs Pitt
1979 - Alabama vs Ohio State
1977 - Texas vs Alabama
1975 - Ohio St vs Arizona St
1974 - Alabama vs Oklahoma (note: ineligible due to probation)
1972 - Oklahoma vs USC

FOUR-TEAM PLAYOFFS SINCE 1971 (USING LOGIC AND REASON AND NO AUTOMATIC BIDS)
1971 - Nebraska, Oklahoma, Michigan, Alabama
1972 - USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Auburn
1973 - Alabama, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Penn State
1974 - Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, USC (due to Oklahoma ineligibility)
1975 - Ohio State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona St
1976 - Pitt, Michigan, USC, Maryland
1977 - Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma
1978 - Penn St, Alabama, USC, Oklahoma
1979 - Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Florida St
1980 - Georgia, Pitt, FSU, Notre Dame (or Baylor)
1981 - Clemson, Pitt, UGA, Texas
1982 - Georgia, SMU, Penn State, Nebraska

(will add more later)