WaPo's John Feinstein: Only FSU, Not OSU Deserve BCS Title Game

By DJ Byrnes on December 2, 2013 at 12:57p

It's generally not a good idea to feed the trolls, but this was simply too good pass along. From Josh Feinstein of The Washington Post...

Ohio State is 12-0 and Auburn is 11-1.

That’s the sole reason the Buckeyes will go into Saturday’s Big Ten championship game in the No. 2 spot: They’re undefeated. If you are going to buy into that line of thinking, then Northern Illinois — also 12-0 — should be ranked no worse than No. 3.

Great thesis here, John, except you forgot an important fact in your logic recipe: NIU belongs to the MAC which is not an automatic qualifying conference. Also, if Ohio State and Auburn were tied, the SEC team would ge the nod based on history, and therein lies their distinct advantage.

Yet, Ohio State and Auburn aren't tied.

Won-lost record should certainly be among the criteria for ranking teams and deciding who plays in the title game. But it shouldn’t be the criterion.

So says the newspaper columnist, going against the way the system has worked since its inception. 

Sadly, that’s not the case in college football. Ohio State barely escaped a Michigan team Saturday that has losses at Penn State and Iowa and to Nebraska at home.

Beating your century-old rival at home to clinch an undefeated regular season and 24th straight victory: easy to do, apparently. *camera cuts to grumpy Nick Saban post-Kick Six*

It also is true that Florida State hasn’t exactly beaten Murderer’s Row. But the Seminoles’ 51-14 rout at Clemson is head and shoulders above anything Ohio State has accomplished.

Ohio State's season isn't over, Paul. Ohio State could beat top-ten Michigan State on Saturday, which is much more impressive than beating Duke on a neutral field.

Also, remember when you lambasted the ACC as "Florida State and nothing else"? Man, those were the days. What was it you said back then?

A week ago, it appeared there was genuine hope for the ACC. Clemson was ranked No. 3 in the country and had a win over Georgia. Florida State, in Jimbo Fisher’s fourth season as Bowden’s successor, was ranked No. 5 even though Fisher’s team hadn’t really been tested yet. Miami, after an embarrassing stretch of mediocrity that coincided with its move to the ACC, was also unbeaten with a win over Florida and ranked No. 10. And Virginia Tech, with only a loss to top-ranked Alabama, clearly had one of the nation’s better defenses.

Now? Welcome back to Florida State and, well, the 13 dwarfs — Duke having finally reached dwarfdom under Coach David Cutcliffe.

Hmmmm. *puts on Dick Tracey hat, smokes a corncob pipe*  So has anything really changed here except Ohio State's emergence? 


Comments Show All Comments

Poe McKnoe's picture

I  go to the Washington Post for definitive CFB answers.

jedkat's picture

I go to the Washington Post when I run out of toiletpaper.

"Can we please stop the message board fighting? I really can't stand the message board fighting..."

"No. You're an idiot, and your posts are terrible."

stevebelliseeya's picture

It all comes back to the L. 

"We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion." - Tool

OSUNEA1986's picture

How do you play the game with only one team????

acBuckeye's picture

Keep bringing the bulletin board material. It's delicious.

GoBucksOSU's picture

Your tears are delicious. Cry more.

lljjgg's picture

NIU at #3 is crazy? I'm just going to leave this here...

Scoring offense - #7
Scoring defense - #23
Yds/game offensively - #4
Yds/game defensively - #57

Scoring offense - #20
Scoring defense - #38
Yds/game offensively - #19
Yds/game defensively - #91

You can adjust it to SOS, but I'd also take Jordan Lynch over Nick Marshall all day everyday.

gumtape's picture

NIU is #2 according to Jeff Sagarin Pure-ELO computer ratings system. You know, the one that is used as a component of the BCS formula.

High and tight boo boo

TMac's picture

Auburn's record is 9 Wins, 2 Miracles and 1 Loss
All the Buckeyes do is WIN

ONE Not Done!

causeicouldntgo43's picture

You should trademark that saying for the next week....,

Poison nuts's picture

All the upvotes!

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I have literally never seen Feinstein write about college football before. I thought he was college basketball, golf, and sometimes the Redskins. 
He might want to stick with those.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

razrback16's picture

This is actually really good for us. This kind of shit is allowing Urban to do exactly what he did in 2006. The Gators got disrespected all off-season. Hopefully we will, too. Playing right into Urban Mastermind's hands.
Gotta get through MSU first though.

Enobarbus's picture

Feinstein in 2008, back when win-loss was the criterion, apparently: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/06/AR200901...

cronimi's picture

Wow. The hypocrisy is so glaring. It's as if he changes his 'logic' to match the outcome he wants.

OfficerRabbit's picture

Great find Enobarbus. Can someone with a Twitter account and the knowledge to use it please start hitting him with that link? Lets discredit whatever small shred of respect he is given by the national media.



TilstheHun3's picture


What is this? A center for ants?!? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?

Alpo's picture

What a total choad...

GoBucksToledo's picture

Mr. Feinstein,
...and just who was coaching that Utah team at the time?  Yeah, I thought so.

kalabuckzoo's picture

Kyle Whittingham was the head coach.

GoBucksToledo's picture

Was thinking that the reference was for UFM's undefeated season but that was 2004, but as you mentioned it was Kyle Whittingham's undefeated team for the 2008 season.  Thanks!

kalabuckzoo's picture

journalistic integrity right there.

Maestro's picture

Ha, what a dumbass.

vacuuming sucks

DiasporaBuck's picture

Delicious find!  In all but the rarest of years, there's no such thing as a "best college football team in the country."  Most of the current top 10, not to mention plenty of others, could defeat each other on any given day.  But all that matters is whether you do win each game in the one chance you're given.  The MNC is about who's left standing after all the dust settles, and often it's not the "best" team.  In March that's exactly what we celebrate about college basketball: a team that's not the "best" can win it all anyway.  It's as American as... well, our Revolution.  ("Hey England, impressive military, but.... SCOREBOARD!!!")
At the start of the season, every college football team controls its own destiny.  Once you've been defeated, control of that destiny is a privilege that you're no longer entitled to.  You beat a team whose ranking before all the games had actually been played was #1?  Well then, congratulations on beating what's presently the #4 team, that's a good win.  Lose to a 3-loss team?  Tough day, if you're actually a team of destiny maybe you'll get a second chance to win it all, but in the meantime you have to get in line with the other teams who've lost.  It's weird to see people lobbying to circumvent this - it's the only objective measure (W's and L's) and its accompanying unpredictability is such a big part of what we love about sports in the first place.  To borrow from the Auburn AD, to do THAT would be un-American.
I don't think our Buckeyes are "the best" team in college football this year; it's pretty clear that no team is.  All that matters is who's the last one standing.  And there are still more games to be played, both within and between conferences, before any trophies are handed out and before any opponent's actual ranking for the season is determined.  IF we defeat a good MSU team this weekend, Ohio State will be one of the only teams left in the country eligible to play for my dictionary's first definition of a champion: someone "who has defeated all opponents in a competition or series of competitions."  So this week, let's focus solely on this one step, so we can earn the right to keep working toward that distinction.  Fire in the hearts, frost in the nerves, outplay and outsmart MSU.  And let everyone else talk out of whichever body part they choose.

OSU Class of 1999

GOOMBAY's picture

As a Columbus expat living in D.C., I can assure everyone that the Post's sports coverage begins an ends with sniffing the Redskins' jocks no less than 9 months each year. The coverage of all other local teams - pro and college - is lazy and trite at best. For example, check out the logical consistency based on Feinstein's sage-like wisdom from October: "ACC has Florida State and not much else" <balloon deflating>

Hovenaut's picture

Spot on Post assessment, Goombay.
I never run out of toilet paper on Sundays.
And don't go away mad Feinstein, just go away.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

This times a million. I'm a DC native and I can attest to this statement.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

SonOfBuckeye's picture

The Post arguably had the best sports page in the country back when (eons ago) Kornheiser and Wilbon had to work for a living writing 2x weekly columns.  Feinstein was a good college bball analyst, too.  I stopped reading him when he decided to promote himself from sportswriter to prosecuting commissar in the duke lax case.
That page has been a travesty for years.

southbymidwest's picture

Totally agree with you. I used to enjoy reading the Post's sports section. Kornheiser actually wrote columns in both the Style and Sports sections, and was quite funny. Now, not so funny on PTI, hard to remember he ever was. They also had Christine Brennan who covered the Skins at that time, and Shirley Povitch. I used to enjoy reading Feinstein. Now he's a crabby, preachy old man swerving out of his lane and basically bashing the Big 10 any chance he gets be it football or basketball. Thought he was going to stroke out writing about his beloved basketball Terps, with their ACC traditions and unparalleled rivalries and the travesty, travesty I tell you! of moving to the Great Unwashed Big 10. Now I glance at the sports section to see how our local high school did in various sports, and scan the sports columns. That's about it.

Sean N's picture

Clemson's sole accomplishment this year has been being mentioned every time someone needs to explain why Florida State is good.

InvertMyVeer's picture

SVP & Russillo giving us some love, both say talk of Auburn jumping us if we beat MSU is ridiculous

Football is complicated...

bobby_gunz's picture

Stay the course boys.  Disregard rhetoric and JUST PLAY BALL.  go bucks

Bucksfan's picture

But in flipping his logic around, it reveals its absurdity: If 11-1 Auburn goes to the national championship over 12-0 Ohio State, then it will only be because Auburn plays in the SEC, and nothing else.  There is nothing in the BCS criteria that says, "The SEC champ, if suffering only 1 less loss than all other automatic qualifying conferences, will automatically qualify for the BCS national championship game."  I mean, that is beyond absurd.  No conference would have agreed to those terms when the BCS system was adopted.

BuckeyeMark's picture

Arguing football with people who have an agenda, won't listen, and are already convinced of their case is pointless and a waste of time.  Feinstein & Company don't care what logic or reason says -- they just want to continue the dominance of the SEC by any means possible.

Poison nuts's picture

I don't know that this particular guy has a pro-SEC agenda as much as he has an opinion that he wants desperately to be correct & is also probably looking for some clicks. "Look Mr. Editor Boss person, people read my stuff, can I get that Christmas bonus?" Every OSU article gets loads of hits...particularly the negative ones. 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Kernfan's picture

As a long-time Post reader, their college football coverage has always sucked.  For college sports, DC is a B-ball town.  And as others have noted Feinstein hardly ever writes about college football.  This annoyed me for about half a second on the ride into work today.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I can't wait to see the excuses when Ohio State wins it all.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

hansman's picture

"Ohio State barely escaped". Dear John, Auburn won five of their eight SEC games by eight points or less with the last two coming on the last play of the game on two of the most miraculous plays ever seen. They also lost an SEC game to a three loss team and had a sixth win by eight or less (by 7) against unranked Washington State. Meanwhile, Ohio State has lost ZERO times in two years and has won every game this season but TWO by ten or more points. Lastly, eat shit.

JCOOP22's picture

Hopefully we win, Duke wins and Auburn wins. Then beat the dog piss out of Auburn in the MNC. Perfect Scenario!!!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I'd want Mizzou, but the moment Ohio State wins, they'll say that it's because Mizzou wasn't really a SEC team.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.