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Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Nightmare on Football Street:

All six of the top six football teams in the nation won, five in convincing fashion.  The only team that didn't win convincingly this week just so happens to have a 29 game win streak, currently tied for 13th highest in division 1 football history.

There isn't a single team out of these six who deserves to be left out of the national championship hunt.  Five teams with just one loss in their season, one team with zero losses, who exactly do you nix?

This is why a four team playoff was a stupid idea to begin with.  If it had just been a guaranteed slot for each of the conference champions, there would be no uncertainty about who was going and who wasn't, and all these issues would be settled on the field.  Now we have to sit and watch two teams get royally screwed over for no reason.  Meanwhile the FCS has a 24 team playoff and is moving along smoothly this week like it has every week and every year for the past forever.

This season is now a total bust.  It doesn't really matter who gets in because there is no earthly way to know what would have happened if the other two teams had been allowed a chance to play.  Whoever wins the national championship this season should get two asterisks, one for each of the teams it never had to beat and thus can't be said to be better than no matter what happens from here on.

Given that, who would I include in the four playoff slots the FBS has so helpfully provided?  1. Oregon.  2.  Alabama.  3.  Ohio State.  4.  Baylor.

Oregon has been blowing out its opponents all year, its one loss to Arizona was during a spate of injuries that no longer applies.  Oregon is clearly the best team in the country.

Alabama won the SEC championship, the toughest conference in the country, with only one loss.  That's impressive.

Ohio State blew out Wisconsin 50-something to 0.  They blew out Michigan State a few weeks ago.  They're playing the best football in the country right now.  They simply can't be denied.

Baylor beat TCU in the head to head, so obviously they should be placed ahead of TCU.  That just leaves Florida State.  Florida State has struggled all year against bad teams.  37-31 vs. Oklahoma State, a 6-6 team.  23-17 vs. Clemson in overtime.  56-41 vs. North Carolina State, a team that led most of the game against them, a 7-5 team.  31-27 vs. Notre Dame, a 7-5 team.  30-26 vs. Miami, a 6-6 team.  20-17 vs. Boston College, a 7-5 team.  24-19 vs. Florida, a 6-5 team.  42-31 over Louisville, a game they trailed 21-0 at one point.  37-35 vs. Georgia Tech, a game that went down to the last onsides kick attempt.

Florida State is not a good team.  It's the luckiest team in football history.  It won by coincidence, over and over again, ten times in a row.  They're no better than all the 6-6 teams they're barely beating, but miraculously ended up 13-0.  So what if they got lucky a trillion times?  That doesn't make them a good team.  As such, they shouldn't take up a valuable playoff spot that a genuinely good team like Baylor could hold.  Baylor beat TCU, a much higher ranked team than FSU has played all season.  They beat Kansas State, again higher ranked than anyone FSU has played all season.  They beat Oklahoma State 49-28, a team Florida State only beat 37-31.  Using the common opponents metric, we can clearly see that Baylor's better than Florida State.

13-0 doesn't mean anything if it only came about through luck.  Baylor played real games all season long and won them in convincing fashion.  Kansas State is a better team than Georgia Tech, and Baylor beat them by a larger margin than FSU beat Georgia Tech.  That's really all you need to look at.  To be honest, TCU is better than FSU too, but that head to head match makes TCU's case irrelevant.  You play that many bad teams in a row and leave it up to just one score and you get into the playoff?  That's just nonsense.  Florida State was 4th last week.  Their barely-pulled-out win against Georgia Tech did nothing to burnish their record.  They should be sixth this week.  If the selection committee has any balls, they'll toss FSU off the list.  We're talking the best four teams in the country, not a beauty pageant here.  13-0 does not indicate you're the best team in the country.  Marshall got no respect at 11-0.  Neither should FSU at 13-0.  It's who you play, and how you play them, that matters above and beyond the win loss record.

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