Sunday, December 7, 2014

The 'screwing' of the Big XII - 2014 College Football Playoff edition.

Earlier today the College Football Playoff Committee (a group that has done the impossible and made everyone yearn for the good ol' days of the B(C)S) released their final four:

1. Alabama
2, Oregon
3. Florida State
4. Ohio State.

At 5 & 6 respectively were Baylor and TCU which caused all hell to break loose on Twitter as the fans of the Big XII suddenly realized a couple of truths.....

1. Neither Baylor nor TCU were viewed as elite teams by most of the country.
2. The Big XII is not viewed as a top conference outside of the Big XII schools fan base.

Honestly, they shouldn't be taken all that seriously, at least this year.  Let's look at the standings:

1. Baylor 11-1 (Loss to W Virginia)
1. TCU 11-1 (Loss to Baylor)
3. Kansas State 9-3 (Losses to Baylor, TCU and Auburn)
4. Oklahoma 8-4 (Losses to Baylor, TCU, K-State and Oklahoma State)
5.Texas 6-6
6. West Virginia 7-5
7. Oklahoma State 6-6
8. Texas Tech 4-8
9. Kansas 3-9
10. Iowa State 2-10

Out of the top 4 teams, the only team with a win against a non-conference ranked opponent is TCU, who beat Minnesota in the game that had them ranked ahead of Baylor until the last week. For anyone below the top four, it's really pretty dismal.

Add the relatively soft schedules of Baylor and TCU to the problem that they didn't get to play in a championship game (something CFP chairman Jeff Long made mention of) and you have a body of work that's just not all that impressive.

While Big XII fans (and touts who obviously lost prop bets on either Baylor or TCU) bloviated about how poor the B1G was this year the reality didn't match the rhetoric.

Consider the B1G:

1. Ohio State 12-1 (Lost to Va Tech)
2. Wisconsin 10-3
3. Michigan State 10-2
4. Nebraska 9-3
5. Minnesota 8-4
6. Maryland 7-5
7. Rutgers 7-5
8. Iowa 7-5
9. Illinois 6-6
10. Penn State 6-6
11. Michigan 5-7
12. Northwestern 5-7
13. Indiana 4-8
14. Purdue 3-9

As you can see, there's no demonstrable advantage for the Big XII over the B1G and, except for one bad week at the beginning of the year, neither the B1G or the Big XII did anything to convince you that one is better than the other.

Think about it, neither conferrence really had a signature win over one of the top teams in the other power conferences, neither conference did much but knock each other around. Most of the conference teams signature wins over top 25 teams are in conference.

As a matter of fact, the only reason the B1G is terrible lie existed in the first place was because Ohio State lost to Va Tech way back in week two while Michigan State was losing to Oregon. It was a joke then and a joke now, and it's done the Big XII fan no favors because it's outing them as blind to the reality that their conference is one that teams are looking to abandon, not one that teams want to join.

In summary then, what happened today was neither a screw job or politics. It was the result of two teams not having the opportunity to make the same statement as the third.

Ohio State's 59-0 devastation of Wisconsin was the most impressive win of the day by any school. The Buckeyes destroyed a very good Badgers team who had just beaten a pretty good Nebraska team,

Oh, and before Baylor fans scream 'but Wisconsin lost to Northwestern' let me remind you that your Bears lost to a very pedestrian West Virginia team who only is 7-5 because they got to play against a soft Big XII schedule.

Don't get me wrong, I still think the College Football Playoff is flawed beyond repair. Leave it to the geniuses currently in charge of the sport to make a mess of it. I think that ESPN and their marriage is going to lead to a lot more of this in the future. I predict that there will be arguments like this every year because too many people lack the ability to take an honest look at their teams and admit that, as in the case of Baylor, what happened was, in fact, justified.

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