Columbus, Ohio – The more we discuss what could happen with Ohio State football, helping Ohio State University, UCLA, and God Alabama this weekend, the more I think 12-team college football can’t get here. fast enough.
Maybe the Trojans make a clean trip. Win the Pac-12 championship game – avenging their only loss to Utah, in the process – and Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams head to the playoff. There is no doubt about that after USC climbed to #4 while OSU fell to #5 after losing to Michigan.
However, the possibility of extreme chaos in Sunday’s outcome remains. If USC suffers a second loss, against a team that has three losses of its own, OSU could sneak up on that fourth semifinal berth. I suppose that’s true even if they are currently undefeated and #3 TCU suffers a huge loss to #10 Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament.
On ESPN’s broadcast of the ratings announcement, CFP selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan called the conference tournaments “a bonus game.” It certainly wouldn’t look like a reward for a team that loses and then falls under a team that failed to play its way to the conference championship game.
“We’ll come back here on Friday and get together and watch the games on Friday and Saturday and make sure we pick the right four teams – and quite frankly, the right 25 teams.” Corrigan said. “That will definitely be part of their job. … That’s part of the design as we go through the whole process.”
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The whole point is that these working bodies will, for the first time, be of unequal size. But for now we have to assume that the committee is open to raising Ohio State if USC loses.
(Corrigan also made it clear that No. 5 OSU and No. 6 Alabama can still move up or down relative to each other this weekend, even though they’re not playing. Don’t approach Twitter without a protective suit and a fire extinguisher.)
All this process reinforces is the inadequacy of the four-man team format. The expansion to 12 teams in 2024 comes courtesy of streaming money, sure, but it will also mitigate the hit-or-miss decisions that top the rankings. Analysis teams No. 12 and No. 13 do not have the same stakes as retaining No. 4 and expelling No. 5 from championship contention.
Why does OSU belong to the playoffs if it has 22 home runs? (Corrigan admitted how that score got out of hand of late.) Why does USC belong if it has a second loss to a team that has been beaten three more times?
Then again, why keep one loss at OSU based on one loss to a team better than anyone a USC prospect played with two losses? Doesn’t OSU’s best win – at No. 8 Penn State – beat the best win in the USC table (at No. 15 Oregon State)?
However, if the committee thinks USC’s 12-game resume is better than OSU’s, why bother checking another game for the Trojans while the Buckeyes are at home watching games at this time?
It didn’t have to be like this, and soon it just won’t. Ohio State is the only program that would have qualified for the 12-team playoff each year if it had applied in the first eight years of the playoff. That may be true again on Sunday, even if the Buckeyes are eliminated from the semifinals.
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