Today is Nov. 21, 2014. The 2014 college football season is winding down on its way to its exciting first-time-ever actual college football championship game.
I am a fan of this idea of a four-team playoff. I would rather see an eight-team playoff for reasons I will state later in this blog, but a playoff is better than the previous system of voting for a champion.
But something has come up that sort of affects both the playoff system and my family that could throw a weird wrinkle into the system.
According to the official rules of the championship playoff system, a selection committee of 13 people “will choose the four teams for the playoff based on strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents, championships won and other factors.”
There is no question today that the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is the strongest college football conference in the land. Alabama and Mississippi State have the best shot to be included, although Mississippi and Auburn could throw their name into the hat based on strength of schedule.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Alabama and Auburn play in the Iron Bowl, one of the fiercest rivalries in all of college football. The outcome could determine who gets into the playoff.
Alabama, Mississippi State, Auburn and Mississippi all play in the SEC West division. The SEC has a title game that decides the actual conference champion.
The current leader of the SEC East is relative league newcomer Missouri, which has a one-game lead on Georgia. The Bulldogs won the head-to-head meeting between the two teams, but they have rival Georgia Tech to finish the regular season while Missouri has two winnable games left against Tennessee and Arkansas.
If Missouri wins out, they will play the winner of the SEC West to determine the title, and if Missouri wins that game, they will be SEC champion.
What does that mean for the college football playoff?
Will the committee choose the SEC West title team over the actual league title team? What would that do to the meaning of the conference title?
And how does this affect my family?
I have two daughters going to Missouri and a son going to Alabama, that’s how. Just imagine the conversations that will go on leading up to that week, and in the ensuing weeks depending on the outcome and the decision of the selection committee.
Which is why an eight-team playoff series would be better. The selection committee could state clearly that the champion of the five power conferences – the SEC, the Big 10, the Big 12, the Pac-12 and the ACC – are all in the playoffs, and then select the three best teams remaining. That would clear the way for an independent like Notre Dame or a team from one of the non-power conferences who deserves consideration, as well as power conference title game losers.
The committee has a tough job and will be criticized no matter what they decide. I might have a tough job first dealing with sibling rivalry.