Skull Session: On Subjectivity, the Big Ten Champion Misses Out Again, and Chris Holtmann is Incredible

By Kevin Harrish on December 3, 2018 at 4:59 am
Parris Campbell is happy, and so can you.

I know Sunday's news wasn't exactly what Ohio State fans were hoping for, but there is one bright spot – this season brought us the first-ever Nice Bowl.

Folks, everything's going to be okay.

Also, Ohio State just won back-to-back Big Ten Championship games before Michigan could even play for one. The sky isn't falling


Word of the Day: Onus.

 SUBJECTIVITY IS BAD, ACTUALLY. When we moved to this committee deciding which teams would get the chance to play for a national title, everyone seemed stoked. But it turns out, humans are actually really subjective, inconsistent and inherently biased.

And that's how you get this difference in perception Chris Peterson discusses:

And this insane belief that a team should move up in the rankings simply because they didn't lose by a lot to a team you assume is just short of unbeatable:

I'm not blaming people for having biased and subjective thinking. That's normal; they're humans. I just think it's insane that we have a system that solely relies on that biased and subjective thinking with no criteria, consistency or transparency to go along with it.

I know neither of those examples are specifically committee members, but committee members are humans with biases, too. And it's absolutely absurd that we have a group of people subjectively deciding the four best teams in the country, as if nobody has ever been wrong about their personal perceptions of a football team. They just get to decide, with no consistent protocol, no sticking to precedent, and no real accountability.

And for that reason, we're now five seasons into this thing and I still have absolutely no idea what a team is supposed to do to make the playoff.

Maybe that's because the answer is nothing. There is no defined way. It all just comes down to how a few people in a room feel about your football team at the end of the season, and they'll just rationalize their choice afterwards.

Everyone's calling for eight teams – and that'd be hype as hell – but really, I just want a real criteria for how those teams a picked. I feel like that shouldn't be a tough ask.

All that said, I think the committee got the four most deserving teams in the playoff.


 B1G SHAFTED, AGAIN. For the third-straight season, the winner of the Big Ten isn't in the College Football Playoff. For the second-straight season, no Big Ten team is in the College Football Playoff.

Conference commissioner Jim Delany is almost hilariously unconcerned.

On one hand, you probably want to see your commissioner go to bat for his teams. On the other, I think the conference as a whole probably underperformed from the start of the season and there's not a damn thing Delany can say to help the situation anyway – so he'll at least look gracious.

James Franklin was actually more fired up than Delany, and the Great Pumpkin brought up a good point.

Personally, I think Ohio State should only play Michigan every year and force the committee to decide the Buckeyes' playoff fate from that one-game sample. I'd like their odds.

 BUCKEYE RESPECTERS AND HATERS, A LIST. Folks, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: the coaches usually don't fill out their own poll in the weekly coaches poll. I'm sorry if that destroys your perception of your favorite meaningless set of subjective rankings, but it's time you learned the truth.

The coaches poll is mostly a lie and is completely useless in modern college football, but the last edition every year is extremely interesting, because the results aren't just in aggregate form – you can actually see how each individual coach voted.'

Here are your Buckeye Respecters:

And folks, we have ourselves some (completely uninteresting) Buckeye haters. Three coaches had Ohio State at No. 7 in their final rankings: Mike Bloomgren of Rice, Geoff Collins of Temple and Doug Martin of New Mexico State.

Damn. I honestly never imagined I'd have beef with Rice University, but here we are.

The best set of rankings is without doubt Nick Saban's – No.1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama. Never change, Nick. Never change.

 CHRIS HOLTMANN, ONE OF US. There are a lot of things I love about Chris Holtmann, but near the top of the list is the fact that he's just a huge Buckeye fan like the rest of us.

He rocked an Archie Griffin jersey at the podium the night before the Michigan game, and now we have this:

In my years covering the women's hoops squad, Kevin McGuff was always like this too, and I appreciated the hell out of it. My first day on the beat, he saw the Eleven Warriors logo on me and Birm's jackets and started talking football recruiting with us.

The synergy is strong.

 TAYLOR DECKER TOUCHDOWN. While we were all still recovering from the committee's decision, Taylor Decker – to my early-riser readers, that is not a typo – was finding the end zone for literally the first time in his life.

After scoring, he instinctively launched the ball into the crowd in celebration, but in hindsight, that was a terrible mistake.

Here's hoping the fine folks of Detroit can help him out.

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