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College Football Blog: Notre Dame vs. Big 12


Committee Making It Up As They Go Along

The College Football Selection Committee Show currently running on ESPN on Tuesday night’s is the closest thing men have a soap opera.

Unlike a soap opera which seemingly no ending, and the committee has to indeed choose four teams, there is one major similarity between the two.

None of what you see actually matters.

Some have accused chairperson Jeff Long, also the athletic director at Arkansas, of flying by the seat of his pants in terms of the selections made.  As much as we’d like to defend the committee, it seems like a pretty accurate portrayal.

It appears as if Notre Dame, the biggest brand in college football will be vying for the fourth position (assuming Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State also win out), and their biggest competition will be from the Big 12 champion, whether it be Oklahoma State or Oklahoma.

The Big 12 has backloaded it’s schedule and they must hope that the committee thinks enough of the teams in it to give them credit for beating each other.

It’s a classic college football Ponzi scheme, and the SEC has been getting away with it for years.

Much like a catch in the NFL, nobody really knows what the committee officials or looking for or how each game will be perceived.

The most impressive mark on 9-1 Notre Dame’s resume is a two-point road loss to Clemson.  Their wins against Temple, who likely won’t win the AAC and three-loss (and counting) USC should make them far from the lock many believe they should be.  The Fighting Irish have one more chance to impress as they will travel to Silicon Valley to take on a two-loss Stanford team.

Oklahoma is currently ranked seventh in the committee’s poll and their most impressive victory came at home last Saturday against Baylor, who was previously undefeated. The only mark on the Sooners resume is a seven-point loss to their most hated rival, Texas, in a neutral site game.  If the Sooners can get through TCU and Oklahoma State, both ranked in the next two weeks, it would appear that their strength of victory will be much more impressive than Notre Dame, even if they don’t carry the same national name brand.

As for Oklahoma State, they’re 10-0 and ranked sixth, and their best victory was a blowout over then eighth-ranked TCU two weeks ago.  The Cowboys have a game against Baylor and their rivalry game against Oklahoma remaining, to try and complete a perfect 12-0 season.

As we see it, an undefeated Oklahoma State team should be a no-brainer entry over Notre Dame.  If the Big 12 plays a round-robin and Oklahoma comes away with the conference title, they will have considerably better victories than the Irish, but a much worse loss.

So what’s more important, good wins or a great loss?

That’s for Long and his committee to decide.  Whichever way they go, you can count on them explaining it away with some convoluted logic that will contradict what they’ve said over the past few weeks.

The one team that hasn’t been questioned is Ohio State.  After taking home the hardware last year, the Buckeyes began the year at No. 1 and despite a few close calls and mostly sloppy play against inferior opponents, Urban Meyer’s group is also 10-0.

To this point, Ohio State has no legitimate victories over any quality opponent, with games against Michigan State, Michigan and probably the Big 10 title game against undefeated Iowa looming.

If we’re looking solely at resume, Iowa currently has a better resume than Ohio State.  If it’s eye test, then the Buckeyes haven’t really passed that either.  Still, they get the benefit of the doubt from what they accomplished last year.

In summation, the CFP committee has no real rules and they’re making it up as they go along.  Everyone can argue about it, and it simply won’t matter.  As far as they effectiveness of the process, it provides a fairly high rated television show and nice water cooler banter, but make no mistake.  A group of guys or girls that watch college football regularly can do the same job sitting in a sports bar munching on some wings.

Our Rankings

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide- The Tide look like the best team in the country again, as they’re physically dominant and get just enough from the quarterback position.
  2. Clemson Tigers- Clemson’s resume is spotless and they should roll going forward to the ACC title game, where they’ll likely meet North Carolina.
  3. Oklahoma State Cowboys- They beat up TCU and that’s about as good of a win as anyone has this season.
  4. Ohio State Buckeyes- Ohio State is getting better and they’re maybe being held to an unreasonable standard.
  5. Oklahoma Sooners- They controlled the Baylor game in Waco and they should make the playoff if they can win out.
  6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- Notre Dame is a really good team, but the best thing on their resume is a loss.
  7. Florida Gators- The Gators are putting together a great season and if they beat FSU they should be in contention for the playoff.
  8. Iowa Hawkeyes- Pretty good team with a decent resume.  Nobody outside of Iowa believes they would beat any of the Top 10 on a neutral field.
  9. Baylor Bears- They played one good team and lost the game.  It doesn’t mean they’re not good, but perception is reality.
  10. Michigan Wolverines- They have the best chance to beat Ohio State.

Heisman Rankings

  1. Derrick Henry, Alabama- Henry has taken a stranglehold on the award in the last few weeks, but he’s not the best running back in his own conference.
  2. Dalvin Cook, Florida State- Cook is the most impressive skill position player in the nation.  He’s explosive and a threat to take it the distance on every snap.  If the ‘Noles hadn’t lost two games he’d have a legitimate shot.
  3. Leonard Fournette, LSU- Fournette is just another example that nobody goes wire to wire and wins this award.  He probably lost the Heisman thanks to Nick Saban’s defense whipping the Tigers offensive line.
  4. DeShaun Watson, Clemson- Efficient quarterback on the No. 1 ranked team in the CFP.  Watson is a dual-threat and is the emotional leader of a Tigers offense that doesn’t have as many weapons as in year’s past.
  5. Christian McCaffery, Stanford- McCaffery needs a lot of miracles to happen to win this award, namely the four guys ahead of him to all lose.  That won’t happen.  Still, he should be recognized as one of the best players in college football.

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.