"Action" Jackson here. The weather's getting colder, the days are growing shorter, and there's more and more football to watch lately. Must finally be fall. I've got a lot on my mind, so let's get to it. The Raiders are coming off a bye, so I'll be dedicating this post to College Football.
College Football Playoffs: Nepotism or just a lot of really good teams?
I was perplexed by these new rankings; usually if you lost in the way that Clemson, Michigan, and Washington all did, during such a crucial time of your season, you were almost completely out of the discussion for a playoff spot except as a wild card team who could get in if everyone else lost. Thus, my theory of Nepotism in the College Football Playoff Rankings. Bare with me, I'll explain.
Looking just at just their Win-Loss record, it would appear on the surface that the College Football Playoff Committee got it right. The sole undefeated team at 10-0 is ranked ahead of the 9-1 teams, who are ahead of the 8-2 teams. Maybe Clemson and Michigan are just too good to keep out of the playoffs based on their schedules or rosters. This doesn't seem right to me. Honestly, I feel like Louisville deserved a chance to play for a playoff spot; yes, Clemson beat them earlier in the year, but Clemson just lost badly to an unranked team at home. Sometimes when lists like this come out, you can't help but think that there is an agenda regarding who certain people want to be in these high-profile games. Who do you think has the bigger fanbase that would pay more for package deals and give better overall Nielsen ratings to the games that had poor ratings last season? Michigan, who happened to stay ranked at number 3 despite losing to an unranked Iowa team that frankly could've won by more if they weren't Iowa. Any other teams come to mind? Yep, Clemson, who turned the ball over all game to an unranked Pitt team that had no business beating them, let alone beating them at home in Death Valley, and who fell to only number 4 in the new rankings.
Basically, the Committee has teams in mind they like and want to play in the playoffs. Louisville's Lamar Jackson is by far the most exciting player in the nation and the leading Heisman candidate; surely he would draw viewership, right? Surely he could save the playoffs, right? No, apparently not, maybe because Louisville doesn't have the perceived fanbase size that could affect ratings as heavily as that of a Michigan or Clemson. See? Nepotism. Except this time, instead of a job being handed out, it's a playoff spot over a team that deserves a chance to play in the big show.
The Playoff Committee was created to take away the "bias" in the BCS System, but it seems that while the evaluation system changed, the bias towards certain teams stayed. Maybe I'm tripping. Maybe I'm just a 21 year old college student who doesn't know football as well as I think I do. Maybe they're the experts for a reason. And maybe the team that doesn't bring in as much money as a team like Michigan got snubbed for a playoff spot they earned throughout the course of a long season. In my opinion, this whole issue could be fixed if the rankings expanded the playoff field to the top 8 teams instead of top 4. This would bring in teams like Louisville, current PAC-12 pretty boy Washington, and a couple other schools who have played excellent football this season, Wisconsin and Penn St. Why Penn St., you ask? They beat Ohio St. earlier in the year, the current number 2, in Happy Valley. Why Wisconsin? They nearly beat Michigan, the current number 3, in Ann Arbor. Teams like that deserve a chance to get play those teams again; I would love to see a Clemson-Louisville rematch in January. One issue with an 8 team playoff field: Alabama would wipe the floor with Penn St. in a game that would only result in several Penn St. injuries. The disparities between the 1 seed and the 8 seed are different in football than in a basketball game a la March Madness.
Honestly, the CFP System is far from perfect. Like the BCS rankings, it'll never be exactly what we want; certain teams will always feel that they got snubbed while other teams will always receive the favor of the Committee. No matter what the rankings say this week, I can 100% guarantee you they will look completely different by the time the Playoffs start in late December, giving us more time to argue over the Internet about something we have absolutely no input in, almost like voting. Isn't College Football beautiful?
Next week, I'll examine the Raiders primetime game against Houston and the brand new CFP Rankings.
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