The selection of the four teams to play in the 2017 College Football Playoff (CFP) went as expected until it did not.
During the announcement of the first three participants, the only possible surprise may have been (to some) the seeding of both Oklahoma (OU) and the University of Georgia (UGA). However, the ranking of either team does not really matter because a match between the pair in the semi-final game was widely anticipated. The real mystery and debate would focus on the identity of the team selected as the fourth participant in the tournament to face the apparent #1 Clemson Tigers. Fans clamored, as ESPN dragged out the suspense before the final team selected was revealed…and the last team in is…
The Alabama Crimson Tide.
The two runners-up, just finishing outside of inclusion are Ohio State and Wisconsin.
In college football, it is often said to do your talking on the field–by winning. Coaches commonly claim keep on winning, and things will work out. Once a team loses, they have a diminished right to complain about their standing–for losing has consequences. It should be noted, that all four teams selected and both runner-ups have suffered a loss (with Ohio State having suffered two ugly defeats).
Hence, all of the top six teams, to a certain degree, were at the mercy of the selection committee. However, it must be noted that the University of Central Florida (UCF) did finish undefeated, with a 12-0 record.
The reward for UCF’s fantastic American Athletic Conference championship win over Memphis yesterday will not include a chance to prove on the field that they are national championship worthy. This lack of inclusion is the true controversy in this year’s College Football Playoff selection. Teams such as UCF, are smaller teams and not fortunate to be members of a “Power 5” conference. So, they (along with their fellow brethren) have little to zero chance of ever being included in the CFP. Despite a perfect record, UCF has no opportunity to win a national title. Which begs a simple question:
What are teams not in the Power 5 conferences supposed to do to receive a chance to prove themselves…on the field?
To that question, there is no clear answer as no measurable standard exists. Simply put, it is not written down anywhere within the NCAA’s rulebook that the unbeaten teams deserve inclusion–so, it will likely never happen. College football is an exhilarating game that is beloved by millions of Americans. In many ways, no other sport compares or offers the same type of excitement and enthusiasm provided by college football. However, the NCAA is also a big business. As a giant corporation, the NCAA compares to many other big money making machines trying to increase and maximize their profit margins.
Television and money are worth more than the competition.
As proof of this point, let us look no further than aforementioned UCF above. Even before their overtime conference championship game had ended, it would be announced that UCF’s head coach, Scott Frost, would be hired to fill the same position at Nebraska. At least, Coach Frost and his staff will stick around to coach UCF’s lower-tier bowl game. More times than not, most coaches depart immediately (even before their current team’s season ends) once the greener pastures (KA-CHING) of the Power 5 welcomes them.
Once again, congratulations on your undefeated season, UCF–well done. You have proven to be real winners on the field…BUT off the field:
Coach Frost’s success at your school has now led him to receive more significant paychecks and opportunities (like playing for a national championship). Coach Frost has always proven himself to be a winner, but he’s not the only or greatest winner. Nope, the largest victory goes to the NCAA and their television partners that will see massive ratings–meaning lots of big profits.
Consider the excitement surrounding the first round match-up between Clemson and Alabama. After all, the two teams met in last year’s championship game–it was a classic. For years to come, fans will relive, retell and never forget the drama of the legendary title contest. The NCAA/television executives know–nostalgia sells. It just so happens, the CFP chose a game that is guaranteed to gain high television ratings. No reasonable claim would state that Alabama got in solely based on the money to be made. However, it should be noted that if #5 Ohio State were selected over Alabama, that would also lead to a rematch from last season. A rematch in the semi-final of the CFP (won by Clemson 31-0). Thus, the NCAA has strong incentives to ensure the highest monetary match-ups do occur.
Hence, the smaller teams are likely never to have the same opportunity, but they gain a valuable life lesson. For example, they are being taught that the spirit of competition and inclusiveness–are not conducive to making money.
Money over equal opportunity is the actual day’s controversy.
Now, on to DR’s instant predictions (could be wrong, but are likely to be proven right):
#1 Clemson vs. #4 Alabama:
The winner of this game will be likely favored to win the title game. Clemson looked monstrous during yesterday’s destruction of a talented Miami Hurricanes while Alabama sat at home not playing in a conference championship game. Also of note, in their last game, Alabama looked terrible in a loss to the rival Auburn Tigers.
All this leads to, DR predicts CLEMSON over Alabama.
#2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Georgia:
The key to predicting the winner is with each team’s one loss. Oklahoma barely lost to Iowa State and Georgia got rolled by Auburn. However, Oklahoma has looked dominant since their loss and Georgia looked great avenging their loss. Unlike the SEC title game, the first round title game will be held in Pasadena, California as the Rose Bowl will serve to host the semifinal clash. Stars shine the brightest on the biggest stages, as such,
DR predicts Oklahoma over Georgia.
Title Game Prediction #1 Clemson vs. #2 Oklahoma:
The teams have met on the field only five times, but have become recent foes during bowl games in both 2014 and 2015. In both contests, Clemson crushed Oklahoma, so, DR predicts CLEMSON over Oklahoma.
Let us know what you think. Do you agree with DR’s predictions?