The College Football Playoff committee must have a sense of humor.
Either that or the whole thing is just one big joke.
On Tuesday evening, the group of voters charged with putting together a playoff for their sport created a scenario that only a professional showman could devise. In the wake of Alabama’s loss to LSU, the committee is now forcing Alabama fans, one of the more devout and dedicated groups of people on Planet Earth, to cheer for the rival Auburn Tigers on Saturday against Georgia.
Unnatural and blasphemous, I know , but here we are.
The College Football Playoff is pure hokum, but at least its nonsense is hysterical at the same time.
The committee placed Alabama at No.5in its new rankings, which is ludicrously too low for the Crimson Tide, but not only that, the committee put Georgia at No.4. With Alabama’s weak strength of schedule a concern, that means the Crimson Tide needs some quality wins to bolster its resume.
If Auburn beats Georgia, in other words, that would help Alabama’s cause.Auburn is No. 12 in the new College Football Playoff rankings.
I’m not sure the state of Alabama is healthy enough this time of year to handle all of this stress. First there was the visit of President Donald Trump, next Alabama was upset 46 – 41 to new-No.1 LSU, and now all of this. The holidays are bad enough on people around here.
How are we as a collective state supposed to function properly?
Alabama (8-1), so ranked, currently is in position to miss the College Football Playoff for the first time in its six-year history. Nick Saban’s juggernaut of team hasn’t been outside the Top Four since November 2017. Meanwhile, Auburn (7-2) is now in a position, moving into the Rivalry Row portion of its schedule, to play the role of a huge national spoiler, and in the process be a hero for one or two one-loss teams.
No.6 Oregon (8-1), which lost to Auburn at the beginning of the season, is now rooting for the Tigers to knock off both No.4 Georgia (8-1) and No.5 Alabama. That would likely put the Ducks into position to earn their way into the playoff. Undefeateds No.8 Minnesota (9-) and No. 13 Baylor (9-0) could really use some help from Auburn, too.
Jalen Hurts, quarterback of one-loss No. 10 Oklahoma (8-1), might be rooting for Auburn over the next few weeks.
Alabama no longer holds its “own destiny,” as Saban said over the weekend, and Auburn holds everyone else’s.
Alabama is the heart of college football, but right now there are chest pains. If Auburn knocks off Georgia, that will make the Tigers the best two-loss team in college football and also eliminate the ‘Dawgs from contention for the four-team College Football Playoff. Alabama can only hope.
That Alabama is even having to rely on Auburn is a bit of manufactured drama, which, if we’re being honest, is what this whole sham of a system really needs right now. The College Football Playoff committee has turned this sport into an exhibition of corporate greed at the expense of real competition.
(This is the committee’s answer to spice things up.)
Don’t forget, the Coaches Poll and the Associated Press poll rightly ranked Alabama No.4 this week, but where’s the fun in that?
Alabama now trails Georgia, which lost to South Carolina earlier this season. Not only did Alabama thump South Carolina 47 – 23, the Gamecocks have losses this season to Missouri and Appalachian State.
It’s silly that Georgia is ahead of Alabama at all, but the College Football Playoff committee has to leave a little arbitrary wiggle room in its rankings to give everyone else hope. With Alabama at No.5, the committee can leave them there and allow another one-loss team to jump the Crimson Tide later.
Let’s not forget that the College Football Playoff, with only four spots available for a postseason, has turned into the Alabama and Clemson Invitational Tournament over the last several years. Leaving out Alabama might actually be good for business if your business is keeping everyone happy with a four-team playoff.
Look around. A four-team playoff isn’t working.
The Big 12 appears all but eliminated from the playoff already, and the Pac – 12 was pretty much done, in hindsight, in the first week of the season when Auburn quarterback Bo Nix and the Tigers’ ferocious defense led that comeback against Oregon. Meanwhile, The ACC is less interesting than a visit to the dentist, and the Big Ten’s most intriguing team right now is No.8 Minnesota – yes, Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers would be a nice Cinderella story if that No.8 ranking meant they were the last team in playoff.
Now it looks like just another sick joke by this committee of corporate clowns.
The four-team playoff system is damaging the integrity of college football, and alienating entire regions. Since the beginning of the playoffs inception, it was clear that it needed to be eight teams (at least). Four is a fraud.
Here’s what the committee knows, but won’t admit. The fastest way to an eight-team playoff is if one-loss Alabama makes the four-team field again this year.
Joseph Goodman is a columnist for the Alabama Media Group. He’s on Twitter@ JoeGoodmanJr.