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?”2019 FOUR-TEAM PLAYOFF
Selections: LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma
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.
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.