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10 Takeaways: Conference Championship Week
1. What happened to Florida State is tough, but I get it
Should Florida State be in the playoff? I think so. They went 13-0, won their conference championship, and have a neutral-site win over a strong LSU team who has the likely Heisman winner. They're one of three undefeated power five teams, and I don't know how the committee can justify putting a greater emphasis on anything besides winning. The results on the field –no matter how ugly they might look– have to matter more than anything else, or else we might as well just decide things using SP+ and Vegas spreads. FSU won all their games, and I'm not gonna argue with anyone who thinks they got screwed. That said, I can at least understand why Alabama's in over them, even if I don't necessarily agree with it.
I think Alabama –and Georgia, for that matter– is a better team than Florida State. The committee (obviously) does too, and that's why they're in. Bama won the best conference in the country, capping it by beating the nation's top team. Booting Florida State feels like it was the lesser of three evils in the committee's eyes. They weren't ever gonna leave out the SEC Champion, and –if we're being honest– probably didn't want to deal with the potential wrath that would come their way if they did. They also couldn't justify leaving out a Texas team who already beat Bama by ten on the road. That led to the toughest decision in the ten years of this system, and the committee decided that Florida State's quarterback situation was their easiest out:
It's not fair, but I get it. My biggest issue is that it feels like the committee arbitrarily picked and chose which things outside of game results they wanted to matter most, and that's how they got to their decision. I can respect that it wasn't easy, but that's the reality of any system where a group of people have to pick a limited number of teams to make a tournament.
2. Expanding to 12 next year won't stop people from crying
Here's what a 12-team playoff would look like this year:
I'm sure the committee would switch Penn State and Ole Miss to avoid rematches in the first round, but I can't describe to you how much I hate a system where multiple rematches are possible, and the potential exists that a team like Washington might have to beat Oregon a third time to win the national championship.
What happened to FSU this weekend sucks, but it's not unique in the history of college football. It pissed people off that there were so many seasons that ended without the top two teams playing each other, so we moved to the BCS. Then the BCS pissed people off because it was determined by computers, plus the top two teams meeting still wasn't enough - so we moved to the four-team playoff. I think the committee's mostly gotten it right over the last ten years, but of course, people cried about only four teams getting a shot, so now we're moving to 12. I'll stop being a stick in the mud about it and at least begrudgingly embrace it as we get closer to the 2024 season, but I'd legitimately prefer going back to the BCS over what we're about to get next year.
3. My initial playoff thoughts
- Texas-Washington has the potential to be one of the most fun games of the four-team era. It has a 45-41 score written all over it.
- Look, I don't think Michigan is scared of Alabama, but it seems like they were hoping for Florida State:
My hate for Michigan aside, seeing them and Alabama play in the Rose Bowl will be an iconic moment for the sport.
4. This is why special teams are so important (Looking at you, Ryan Day)
Miami (Ohio) beat Toledo 23-14 for their second MAC title in five seasons, doing so on the back of one of the most incredible all-around special teams performances you'll ever see:
The Redhawks were second nationally in kicks/punts blocked this season (six), and tied for fifth in punt returns of 20+ yards. It's a good bet that Special Teams Coach Jacob Bronowski's phone might be a bit more active than usual this week as coaching staffs across the country continue to shift.