College football playoff selection committee chairman Jeff Long sat down to discuss the decisions made by the committee on “We Need To Talk” on the CBS Sports Network. Most of the questions were geared toward both TCU and Baylor getting left out of the first 4 team playoff. Quotes by Jeff Long are in bold.
“We could have been hailing the Big 12 and [commissioner] Bob Bowlsby for their brilliance, because if certain things had happened, they could have gotten two teams in. We wouldn’t be talking about how they should have had a championship game, we would be talking about how brilliant it was that they didn’t have a championship game.”
Here is the problem with that statement, certain things did happen. TCU, sitting at #3 going into the final Saturday of the regular season, dismantled a 2-9 Iowa State team by 52 points. This is exactly what TCU should have done and was expected to do. Secondly, and more importantly, Baylor beat a very good Kansas State team and as Brian Ethridge of BearsTruth.com has pointed out, this was essentially a championship game on Championship Saturday. “The winner of that game received a trophy” Ethridge told BGS. He is exactly right, that game was a matchup of a #6 vs #9. For comparison the ACC championship game pitted a #4 vs #11 and the Big 10 championship game saw a #5 vs a #13. Technically Baylor won the tougher game that day despite the fact it was not considered a conference championship game.
“We are not out to send them a message,” Long said. “It is up to them, the Big 12, to decide if that is in their best interest.”
Contrary to this statement even Big 12 commissioner Bowlsby stated in an interview with ESPN that “it would have been nice to be told that ahead of time, it’s clear (not having a title game) penalized us”. That fact of the matter is the committee did send a message to the Big 12 and Long would actually hint at this very fact later in the interview.
“We always talk about a full body of work and the 13th game against a quality opponent, probably had a bigger impact for the committee”
Remember that contradiction I was talking about? Right there it is.
“The message about strength of schedule is pretty strong,” Long said. “I think conferences and schools knew that going in. But until the process ran its course, it wasn’t staring them in the face.”
This actually can not be disputed. However, it is obvious that TCU was penalized for playing their final game of the season against a team with a 2-9 record. The unfortunate truth of the matter is TCU did not have a say in the matter, this was a conference game. Baylor ended the season with a SOS of 113, there can not be much argument there. Ethridge, however, has was quick to point out that Ohio St’s sole loss came at the hands of an unranked Virginia Tech team at home while Baylor’s sole loss came at the hands of a ranked Mountaineer team in Morgantown. Teams can only play with the hands they are dealt, coaches and players can not dictate who their opponent is on a weekly basis. The problem of SOS is something that has to be dealt with at the AD level. Something WVU’s Oliver Luck has done very well at accomplishing for the future, with the exception of the 2015 season.
Lasted, in response to whether the committee “would have punted” on Texas and Oklahoma Long’s response was, “Well we didn’t have to choose between Texas and Oklahoma, and we didn’t punt on Baylor and TCU,”
Honestly this is a response that can be left up to interpretation. However, many feel Baylor and/or TCU were not the “sexy” picks. But that gets us into conspiracy theories and we will leave those for message boards.
We will be following up this article, with the help of Brian Ethridge of BearsTruth.com, and analyze how the Big 12 has determined they will move forward.
Quotes from this article are courtesy of Chuck Carlton.
article photo courtesy of CBSSports.com