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By Mitch Chortkoff
Sports Editor 

Football Playoff Committee Was Clumsy But Got It Right


December 8, 2014

The committee that settled on the four teams who’ll play in the first College Football Playoff got it right at the finish.

But this distinguished group created needless controversy in the manner it operated, first advancing TCU to No. 3, then five days later after the team had crushed its final regular season opponent, 51-3, dropped TCU to No. 6.

The committee on Sunday ultimately set up the two semi-finals properly. Oregon (No. 2) will play Florida State (No. 3) on New Year’s Day in the Rose Bowl. At night Alabama (No. 1) will oppose Ohio State (No. 4) in the Sugar Bowl.

The winners will play for the national championship Jan. 12 in AT&T Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys lavish home.

Baylor (No. 5) and TCU (No. 6) didn’t make the top four and as a result the Big 12 Conference won’t receive the $6 million it would have been awarded had one of those teams been selected.

Well, the committee had to make some difficult decisions because Ohio State crashed the party by routing Wisconsin, 59-0, in the Big Ten championship game Saturday night.

What to do? Leave out Florida State, the only one of the contestants that didn’t win impressively in its final test? Florida State did what it had done all season, eke out a victory, this time 37-35 over Georgia Tech.

No, the committee made the right decision. How could it leave out the only team to go undefeated in the regular season? It couldn’t.

Ohio State could have been left out. But once again the committee got it right. The rout of a highly regarded Wisconsin team with the Buckeyes’ third string quarterback who was forced into action when two Heisman trophy candidates were injured was too impressive to be ignored.

But Baylor and TCU are the victims of the new system, which replaced one that had resulted in only two teams annually getting into the glamour game.

What happened was what a lot of media people, including myself, feared from the start of the season – that controversy would accompany the selection.

When two teams were picked in the past, another one or two felt they were just as qualified. And now there are four, and two others believe they had just as strong a case.

But the Big 12 has itself to blame. It doesn’t have a conference championship game and presented TCU and Baylor to the committee as co-champions.

The Big 12 should wise up and not make that mistake again.

Technically it couldn’t have a conference game because it has only 10 members and under NCAA rules 12 are required.

But that problem can be solved. Either ask two more schools to join in or get the NCAA to change its requirement.

TCU and Baylor did well enough to qualify for other major bowl games, so they won’t be idle That’s better than nothing.


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