Urban retires. Ryan Day is the new boss. Haskins is up for the Heisman. And last but not least we were screwed out of the playoffs. I planned on having this article about the playoff snub done by now but, the first three things listed have taken priority. After all they matter a whole lot more than what a committee that has more double standards than the United States Government, proclaims about college football.
This hurts Haskins Heisman chances. Ohio State being crapped on by committee may have cost the best quarterback in Ohio State history (and we’ve been playing for 125 years) and the best quarterback in the country the Heisman Trophy. The reason it probably cost him the Heisman is because voters will show solidarity to the committee. If Haskins wins like he should (and it should not even be close) then a new, powerful argument arises. Why isn’t the best player in college football and his conference champion, one loss, historic program not in the playoff? It only grows even more exponentially if Ohio State wins the Rose Bowl in commanding fashion.
But that leads to one reason they felt comfortable screwing us over to begin with is because they knew we wouldn’t have a chance to make them regret it. Put us in the Rose Bowl and if we win, we were supposed to win, and they can try and downplay it (despite Washington being a very good team defensively) and if we lose, then it proves them right. Put Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia and if by some fluke they win this illegitimate committee has a lot of egg on their face. For leaving an overrated Georgia in the top six, and for kissing the SECs behind like they always do.
The playoff system has gotten progressively worse since it’s first year. In the first season of the playoff, the Big 12 was rightfully punished for not having a title game. The 2014 was done, was about getting the ‘four best teams.’ 2015 was about getting the ‘four most deserving teams.’ Because one of the four best in 2015 played Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl instead. 2016 was about the ‘four best resumes.’ 2017 was about the ‘four teams with the fewest losses.’ 2018 was about the ‘four teams that pass the eye test.’ In 2019 they may as well just say Alabama, Clemson, a southern Big 12 team, and either another SEC team or a token team from a pro-Union state that may or may not suite our needs.
The blame for this can’t fall on the Purdue loss for this. It excuses a system that has no reason, let alone a real excuse. It's a farce to do more than a surface comparison of the teams from third to sixth and still blame everything on that one loss. I always encourage everyone to join the light side of the Force and love and root for the Buckeyes, but if you think Ohio State should be punished for Purdue, but Oklahoma gets a pass for giving up 40 plus points FIVE (including four in a row in their last four regular season games) times and taken to OT by Army, and Alabama and the SEC get a pass for their chicken crap Saturday where they play an FCS team at home in November, and Notre Dame gets a pass for playing one less game than everyone else, beating Ball State by eight, and Clemson gets a pass for playing Furman, then maybe college football isn’t for you.
Clemson and Alabama get the nod over Ohio State for 13-0 and 13-0 only. Ohio State is just as good if not better than Notre Dame and Oklahoma. And Georgia doesn’t even belong in the discussion.
There is no way, ever, that a two loss non-conference champion should be ranked higher than a one loss power five conference champion. There is no reason for it other than blatant dishonesty and the committee trying to cover its’ own butt. And honestly, they would have covered their collective behinds better if they had just put Ohio State at number five and stuck to their guns of the Purdue loss being their deciding factor. Georgia had a loss similar to Ohio State’s, a 20-point debacle on the road to a team they should have crushed. Worse though, Georgia then blew a 14-point lead to the number one team in the country who they were making look vulnerable, had on the ropes, and had a backup quarterback leading the comeback against them. A team that gives up 21 points in the fourth quarter in the most important game of the year for their second loss doesn’t deserve to be in the top four.
Notre Dame has three problems. An awful schedule, one less game than everyone else, and worse showings against opponents they and Ohio State have in common. Notre Dame beat that team up north by seven. Ohio State beat that team up north by 23. Notre Dame beat Northwestern by ten. Ohio State beat Northwestern by 21. They beat a 4-8 Group of Five by only eight points. Notre Dame didn’t play on championship weekend and didn’t play 13 games. Ohio State played and won a conference championship. They only beat a 4-8 Ball State team by eight, only beat Vanderbilt by five, and USC by seven. The Pitt Factor really hurts the Irish. Pitt was the ACC runner-up in 2018, they played four teams that finished in the top 12 of the final committee rankings. Those were PSU, UCF, Notre Dame, and Clemson. UCF beat them 45-14, Clemson beat them 42-10, PSU (a team we beat) beat them 51-6, and the Fighting Irish squeaked out a win of 19-14. Notre Dame played their closest games of the season against teams (Vanderbilt and Pittsburgh) that were thoroughly manhandled by teams ranked in the top 12. When you’re comparing teams to Notre Dame, it’s only fair to compare them by the same number of games they played. If you take away the worst games of Oklahoma and Ohio State and look at their 12 wins compared to Notre Dames’, the Irish don’t hold a candle to the Buckeyes and are in an argument with the Sooners. The least thing the committee should have done to send a message to Notre Dame is put them at fourth and Oklahoma at third, like they did against FSU in 2014. Undefeated is enough to get you in, but who you beat should be considered.
Speaking of the Sooners. Oklahoma has three problems. They don’t play defense, and they don’t play against decent defenses (the two times they did they split the results 1-1) and the Big 12 is a weak conference that refuses to help itself and its teams. The Big 12 had one defense in the top 30 this year and it was TCU a team that Ohio State and Oklahoma about evenly beat. Ohio State however destroyed two more defenses in the top 30 including MSU and the number one defense in the country out of that team up north. In their two games this year Oklahoma and Texas played each other to a tie and we don’t really know who the better team is based off of on field results. 1-1 means 1=1. Simple math. Neither has shown they are greater than the other. Don’t give me the whole ‘they avenged their loss’ line either. I didn’t believe that last year with Georgia and I sure don’t believe it this year with Oklahoma. If you go 1-1 against a team in a year in sports, you may as well go 0-0-1. We don’t know who’s better if you split two games. I’ve heard the argument of one teaming beating the other worse or having more total points in the two games, or who beat who the most recent, and that’s all garbage too. If that worked, we wouldn’t need seven games to decide the World Series, NBA Finals, or Stanley Cup championships. The committee’s love of all things SEC and hatred of all things B1G aside, and as another writer that I really like put it, what did Oklahoma do to jump Georgia that Ohio State didn’t? They beat a middle of the pack underdog by 12. We beat a middle of the pack underdog by 21. They won their final regular season game against their toughest opponent (an 8-3 team) by three, we won ours against our toughest opponent (a 10-2 team) by 23. We played three teams that finished in the rankings, they played two. We played four teams that were ranked at the time of the games being played, they played two. They have a Heisman caliber quarterback, we have a Heisman caliber quarterback, who’s blowing the brakes off theirs statistically and against better teams.
Maybe the biggest injustice of this playoff snub is that it’s most likely and I hate to say this, going to cost Dwayne Haskins the Heisman Trophy. All week long, everyone outside of Ohio has been saying Murray took it from Tua since Tagovailoa struggled on Saturday and Murray didn’t. Never mind that Haskins played better than both of them then and has all season. Dwayne Haskins Jr. has gone 348 of 496 for 4,580 yards and 47 touchdowns. That’s 527 yards more than Murray and 1,227 more yards than Tagovailoa. His 47 touchdown passes are seven more than Murray and ten more than Tagovailoa. If you add the rushing stats, Murray and Haskins are virtually even and if you add the rushing touchdowns, they have 51 each and Tagovailoa is about 1,000 yards and ten touchdowns behind Murray and Haskins, narrowing this race down to two. The next comparison is their team records. Both are 12-1 conference champions playing in a New Years’ Six Bowl. Similar stats and records make you have to ask who they did it against. Haskins did it against the toughest defenses in the country, every week, while Murray did it against teams that by their own admission play basketball on grass. Haskins deserves the Heisman. Has done more to earn it. But once again a committee of voters will leave him out in the cold. To award him the Heisman would be the biggest individual award in sports contradicting the most foolish championship selection process in sports. It would be a shot across the bow of the playoff committee. It would say; ‘This guy is the best player in the country, and is playing on an elite team, and you chose to leave them out.’ It would suggest in a subtle way that they disagree with the playoff field. The powers at be that run college football often do so like an organized crime syndicate. Dissension will not be tolerated. They’ll squash it one way or another. Thus, Dwayne Haskins will be robbed twice this year.
A lot of things need to be changed in the selection process. A lot of things regarding that can be argued over for a long time. The things that the NCAA and Committee systems need to address immediately are obvious though. First off, the South’s annual chicken crap Saturday needs to be ended and ended now. Unless being made up in an emergency scheduling operation, FCS schools should no longer be counted going forward by the NCAA and Committee as wins for FBS schools. If you can’t find an FBS team and there are 130 of them, to play you, then just have another BYE week, it’ll be more of a challenge to your team. And schools like Ohio State that have worked hard to have marquee out of conference match ups need to put their foot down and demand this kind of a change, or start taking Texas, Oregon, and Notre Dame off the schedule and adding Youngstown State. Moral victories of telling ourselves we play the game the right way while they are costing us championships and helping our competition win them are no longer enough.
Notre Dame needs to be told to do something to play 13 games. Ideally, join a conference. They’re virtually in the ACC as it is, join it, have NBC work out a deal with the ACC similar to the CBS’ deal the SEC and get on with it. If they can’t find the guts to do that, then start playing a 13th game on championship weekend. Other independents like BYU and Army would be happy to oblige and they wouldn’t give Notre Dame a whole lot to worry about like other teams playing on that Saturday but would give them enough to say that they in a similar situation as everyone else.
The Big 12 needs to actually get 12 teams, or more. There are a lot of options for them, that would help them immensely. Cincinnati would give them a rival for West Virginia and an in road into Midwest recruiting, especially in the rich Buckeye state and help them challenge the B1G. UCF would do the same recruiting wise regarding the state of Florida and challenging the SEC and ACC. Boise State would do the same for the Mountain West and PAC-12. BYU would be a good for nationwide fanbase that travels well, gets solid ratings, and accomplishes what Boise State would too. The powers at be need to tell them that they will no longer get special treatment and if they don’t add teams soon their special permission for a conference championship game will end.
College football is like an organized crime syndicate in the way the powers at be run it. They try to destroy you more for possibly making money without giving them a cut than they do for cheating or illegal activity. And no one changes the way things are done in it unless they are forced to. Whether it’s in organization, play on the field and rules, or how championships are decided. It’s high time that this changes.