I've been a big fan of this four-team playoff in college football and the committee choosing the four teams.
I like that a regular season stills means something.
I like the arguments about what it means.
But not anymore.
I still like the four-team playoff. I don't like playoffs that let everybody play, and I don't think for a moment that — for lack of a better phrase — "One True Champion" is always determined on the field of play
Anyone really think the New York Giants were the NFL's best team in '07? That Golden State was better than the Mavericks that same year?
North Carolina State was better than Houston? Villanova better than Georgetown?
The 1960 Pirates were better than the Yankees?
Oh, I can do this for a long time.
Playoffs are great theater, incredibly entertaining... but little more than that.
My problem is, I was expecting (and hoping) for more from this playoff committee. I thought the regional biases of the voters would be gone. I thought the politics of college football could be avoided — problems that the coaches' poll and the Associated Press poll couldn't seem to fix.
And I was wrong about that.
Are we to believe that it's just a coincidence we have a team from the West... the South... the East and the upper Midwest? They just happen to be four of the marquee teams in college football that will travel well and bring eyeballs to the TV set, and that the committee didn't know... and didn't think about that all along
TCU is ranked No. 3; five days later, after winning by 52, they drop to No. 6. Oh, I've heard the argument that this is an entirely new system — that it's based on the "body of work" — so Florida State keeps scraping by, beat a two-time loser by 2 points, and they move up from No. 4 to No. 3.
Ohio State gets credit for their win over Wisconsin (and we'll forget about their loss to Virginia Tech... at home).
And Baylor beats Kansas State (just like TCU did), so they move ahead of TCU now (and we'll forget about Baylor's loss at West Virginia).
Alabama loses to Ole Miss; Oregon loses to Arizona; but that doesn't matter anymore, either.
TCU has one loss by 3 points to the No. 5 team in the country — at their place — and home field means something in football (well not to the Cowboys, of course, but for everybody else it does), and that one loss drops TCU to sixth.
Five of the top six teams have a loss, and TCU has the only loss that matters in this final poll. That's quite a system.
It's a horrible system. It's a flawed system.
Do you really think that if Texas or Oklahoma were good enough to do what TCU had done — or even Baylor, for that matter — that Texas and Oklahoma would not be in the top 4?
If Ohio State or Alabama played in the Big 12 and managed to do what TCU did, you think they would have dropped three spots in the final poll?
TCU and Baylor are like Rudolph; they're not allowed to play in any reindeer games. But they will someday...
The fog in that committee's meeting room will eventually clear, and fans in Fort Worth and Waco will shout with glee as TCU and Baylor will get their chance to go down in history.
(I'm sorry... I thought it was kinda clever.)
This committee is about money and TV ratings. TCU has very little of both, and we should have known. College football is a big business, and in college football — this year, anyway — it's business as usual.
This new system really isn't that new after all.
MORE: Dale Hansen Unplugged