College Football Rankings, The Reality Is a Resume Can Be Padded
If your team is in “the hunt” you probably made sure dinner was over and the plates cleared off the table Tuesday evening in time to gather the fam around the flat screen for ESPN’s overly dramatized version of Survivor otherwise known as the College Football Rankings. Act three opened just as one and two with theatrical music and a gripping visual montage of the empty board room where the committee meets, their water glasses filled, bowls of hard candy carefully placed and ends with the backs of the heads of the mighty twelve members of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee filing out of the room having completed deliberations, what head honcho, Jeff Long, sells as “transparency.”
Hoodwinked into thinking we were watching something of substance where actual information regarding the selection process and criteria would be revealed through a broadcast of genuine journalism, instead we are entertained by a hollow show that is nothing more than an advertorial for upcoming televised events known as the four-team playoff. Oh, and yes, they gave us the 25 teams in the college football rankings.
The ESPN discussion panel includes David Pollack, Rece Davis and Danny Kanell. Kirk Herbstreit broadcasts from his home and isn’t required to wear a tie like the other three. David Pollack who made 36 sacks during his collegiate career at Georgia can’t help but have more zeal for Alabama which is fourth in the nation in total defense contrast that to TCU at 51st just below Florida State at 50. Rece Davis’s assignment seems to be to do his best impression of Chris Fowler and throw soft balls at Arkansas Athletic Director and Playoff Committee Chair, Jeff Long at the end. Third man on desk, Danny Kanell apparently has the taller task in the skit to act like the SEC West isn’t as tough as every sports writer in the country reports that it is. On a show like this you are more likely to see Anna Nicole Smith (were she alive) appear on the set calling for her poodle-terrier mix, Sugar-Pie, than gain a useful piece of knowledge regarding the four-team playoff criteria other than the ranking itself.
What We Learned From What They Didn’t Say
The College Football Rankings
According to the head honcho, Jeff Long, the committee spent the most time debating ranking Oregon with one loss to Arizona ahead of the undefeated Seminoles of Florida State and which order to put the two one-loss teams Alabama and TCU. It seems that Ducks can fly over Indians and Christian Horned Frogs surfed over the Tide, because the new college football rankings was 1 Mississippi State 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 4 TCU 5 Alabama. Oh yeah, 6 Arizona State.
It’s Auburn’s Fault
When asked why TCU was ranked ahead of Alabama in the college football rankings, Jeff Long, said because TCU beat a higher ranked team, K State, than Alabama did that week beating LSU. But those are college football rankings assigned by the committee itself. Real answer? Have you ever played the “seven degrees from Kevin Bacon” game? Auburn is a common marker for Alabama and TCU. What? Yes, because the Tigers beat K State in a close call on the road, 20 – 14. Auburn also trounced LSU, 41 – 7, which makes K State look like a better team than LSU. Bama went into overtime to beat LSU, 20 – 13. TCU beat K State 41 – 20. That’s why TCU’s win over K State is bigger than the Tides win over LSU.
A Special Gift, A Padded Resume
“For the third consecutive week, the committee looked at the overall body of work, their strength of schedule, and looked at the number of top‑25 wins,” Long said.
So if the committee wants a team to have another top 25 win all they have to do is scooch one of their upcoming opponents into the top 25, really? Anybody notice a new number 25 in the college football rankings this week, Minnesota? The Gofers have not been ranked in any AP or Playoff Committee Ranking for the entire football season. Did Pollack, Davis, Kanell or neck-tie-less Herbstreit think to ask Jeff Long if the Gofers were brought into the fold at number 25 the week before Ohio State plays them to give the one-loss Ohio State a more impactful opponent? Hmmm… beating the Gofers now would give the Buckeyes their second win against a ranked opponent. Ohio State is first in the Eastern division of the Big Ten Conference, so are looking like a conference champion contender and just got a huge gift from the Playoff gang, Merry Christmas to Urban Meyer. Is the committee trying to avoid a weak-looking Big Ten Champion?
Who Was the Biggest Loser?
Who was the Biggest Loser? FSU, but not completely, not yet. All they do is win, win, win and they moved down, down, two spots since this party started. If they don’t learn how to spear fish and feed the others, they could get voted off playoff island. Do you feel like FSU cannot make one wrong move (on the field) and stay in the college football rankings race?
Dim View of FSU?
Florida State head football Coach Jimbo Fisher accused ESPN of SEC Bias, when asked why he thought his team was receiving so much negative media attention,
“First, ESPN has the money in the SEC.”
Does ESPN try to deny a $2.1 billion investment in an inventory of SEC games? Perhaps it offended Jimbo’s wife to see her forty-nine year old husband interviewed prior to the Notre Dame game where ESPN College GameDay used a fisheye type camera lens that made the poor coach look like Barry Manilow peering through a peep-hole. Or maybe he was referring to their airing of his suspended quarterback 48 times on the sideline while he served a suspension in the Clemson game. Or was it the camera and microphone capturing his private message to his QB following the impressive fourth quarter win over Notre Dame?
Does FSU Deserve It?
Has Florida State brought the bad press onto themselves? Absolutely they have. Has ESPN made a villain out of them? You better believe it. Every good story needs a villain and this year Florida State got cast as the fat naked guy forming unsavory alliances throughout the island. Who won? Disney who owns ESPN and ABC, of course. With 13.25MIL viewers tuned in to ABC, the FSU Notre Dame game brought the highest rating of any game in the football season. Notre Dame fans, Notre Dame haters and half the FSU alumnae were all pulling for the Fighting Irish over the Noles that night.
The new reality TV, ESPN, which is investing more than $5.6 billion in the playoff over the next 12 years, will do everything in its power to clench more viewers and sell more ads. And if no one watches, they don’t make money. I’m sure the final show, 11:45A, Sunday, Dec 7, will be the most dramatic rose ceremony ever when the committee reveals the final four-team bracket.
Will this writer be watching? Of course, it’s must see TV.
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