College Sports: Here’s how the College Football Playoff could fall into chaos

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SportsDayDFW “Ballzy” podcast hosts Barry Horn and Kevin Sherrington talk college football with Tim Brando of Fox Sports. Here are some of the highlights.

Grant: I think the question that resonates with people here is the winner of the Big 12 in or is only Oklahoma in if they win?

Brando: Only Oklahoma. Only Oklahoma. I’d like to think that TCU would get a chance, but no I don’t think so given that Alabama is sitting there with one loss. You saw what the AP did with them. They had a preciptous fall from No. 1 to No. 5. They’ll never drop more than four spots and I don’t think they will drop any furhter than that with the College Football Playoff Committee either. I actually think this is great news for those of us that want to exact change. It was a great first step to get to four, but we wouldn’t have gotten to four had it not been for the God forsaken BCS giving us LSU and Alabama the rematch in 2011. The committee is going to be in a real spot, a real pickle if either Oklahoma or Wisconsin lose. 

If both of them lose, now you’ve got real problems on your hands. And the likelihood of two teams from a really poor SEC by Southeastern Conference standards, getting in this year and all that money going to that league this year is going to be real problem for the consortium of the Power Five, and they will have meetings sooner than you can say Bill Hancock as soon as that’s over, and they’ll be going to six teams very very quickly. I think that’s what we’re looking at right now. Alabama’s brand is too large, it’s too big. You got a lot of old coaches on that committee who love the way Alabama plays, who feels football should be played a certain way. TCU doesn’t play that way, and as a result it’s either Oklahoma because of their brand or bust for the Big 12. 

Horn: Tim, is it because TCU doesn’t play that way or is it because TCU isn’t named Texas?

Brando: Part of it. You’re on to it. I don’t think if Texas or Oklahoma had been sitting in the third spot in 2014 that we would have seen one of those teams drop from No. 3 to No. 6 and we would’ve seen Ohio State slide in at four on the basis of a blowout win over an out manned Wisconsin team. I don’t think that would’ve happened at all if that would have been Oklahoma or Texas. Either one of those teams would’ve been in that position. I don’t think Oklahoma State would’ve lost their spot in the BCS in 2011 because of a poor outing after a plane crash to Alabama had that been either Oklahoma or Texas either. 

Horn: Let’s go down some of the conference championship games and you tell me if the winner gets in the CFP. Clemson and Miami. If Clemson wins, you think they’re in?

Brando: Yes. 

Horn: If Miami wins?

Brando: Yes. 

Horn: Wisconsin and Ohio State. The winner of that game in no matter which school?

Brando: Very close. I’m going to say no. I’m going to say Ohio State can be edged out by Alabama potentially. For the same reasons Penn State was nudged out by Ohio State last year. There’s precedent there. That’s a little bit of a tricky one, because they say that the championship is the first criteria mentioned in the final standings. So they use that whichever they want. They used it to Ohio State’s benefit in 2014 and they used it to the detriment of Penn State last year. That makes it a little iffy. Wisconsin for sure. Ohio State I would say has a good chance, not a great chance. Certainly a better chance than TCU. 

Grant: I want to bring you guys in on this, but I think we can cut to the chase on this. As Tim just said, the ACC champ is in. The SEC champ is going to be in. Oklahoma is in if they win. Wisconsin is in if they win. So now you’re sitting there with Alabama on the outside. Alabama is the first team in if Oklahoma or Wisconsin loses. If both teams lose, Ohio State then becomes in. It’s a six team field right now for me. 

Brando: Yeah if we have six teams right now it would be fine. We could give the top teams a bye. They wouldn’t have to play additional games. To me, at minimum that’s what we’ve got to have. Others would argue eight but I would suggest that if you made it six teams and you were allowing the regular season to give the top teams a bye, then we’re not losing the impact of regular season games. By adding two more, we wouldn’t have a problem. To the point you’re making, if you’re looking at the circumstances that face this committee this year, the problem they face is that the brand name for them matters because the only way Ohio State slips in over Alabama, and it could happen, is because this committee and the presidents of the universities are so driven to keep it at four. 

They don’t want to expand. If by passing over Alabama for Ohio State you’re creating brand for brand, and Ohio State has won a title, then they’ll use that criteria for their benefit. You’ll see Kirby Hocutt march out there and be visited by Rece Davis following the championship weekend saying ‘Well that championship really meant a lot to our committee.’ Well what the hell? Why didn’t the championship mean a lot to the committee last year in the Big 10? They will use whatever arguments they want to gerrymander it so they can keep us from going from four to six. But by all rights, Alabama should get entry over Ohio State. 

Grant: Kevin what say you? You have been steadfast all year in there’s no way Alabama will be on the outside looking in. 

Sherrington: I have a hard time with all this now because of that I don’t think they will leave Alabama out, just for all the reasons Tim mentioned. I also have a hard time leaving Auburn out. They  beat Alabama pretty handily, and I know that was at Auburn, but still they really showed Alabama’s weaknesses. If you get Jalen Hurts down a couple of touchdowns, he can’t bring you back. That offensive is built, much like the Cowboys, what they would like to think is their running game and then of course the Cowboys don’t have the same kind of defense Alabama has. Probably if you lined them up right now they wouldn’t be as good. But they can’t play catch up. So they got them down and the game was pretty much over. 

Grant: But if Auburn loses this Saturday, they’re out?

Sherrington: They’re out, but that’s my point. How can the committee, if it comes to that, if Auburn wins the SEC, how can they possibly put Alabama in over Auburn?

Grant: They won’t. And you’ll have the case that Auburn will have beaten their No. 1 team twice in a three week span. The third of those four wins will have been over the No. 5 team or No. 6 team. The SEC game is a play-in game. The ACC game is a play-in game. The rest, they have their berths provided they win. Maybe if Alabama and Ohio State both sit on the outside looking in this year, maybe that is the driver for a six team playoff.

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