Opinion: Bama proves committee right, but system is faulty
Photo courtesy of si.com | True freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa replaced starting quarterback Jalen Hurts at halftime for Alabama. He threw three touchdowns in a walk-off 2018 College Football Playoff Championship win on Monday night.
A college football season that was riddled with chaos and excitement ended Monday night with a fitting conclusion. After erasing a 13-point deficit with freshman backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, No. 4 Alabama defeated No. 3 Georgia 26-23 in overtime to secure the National Championship in an all-SEC College Football Playoff final.
This is the Crimson Tide’s second College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship and their fifth since 2009. But even with the current playoff system in place, questions still linger about who truly deserved to be in the playoffs.
Ever since the CFP committee decided who would make up the four-team playoff field in late December, controversy about who deserved the final spot has run rampant throughout the nation. Teams like Ohio State, UCF and USC in particular felt disrespected by the committee since they all had a better resume than Alabama, who ended up taking the final spot.
Critics contend that instead of looking at items like conference championships, quality wins over ranked opponents and strength of schedule, the committee chose to go with SEC legacy instead by picking Alabama.
Both before and after bowl season, Ohio State seemed like the most obvious choice to replace Alabama in the final spot of the CFP. Coming into bowl season with a conference championship and multiple wins against ranked teams, the Buckeyes felt as if they deserved another shot at the title. This opinion was validated after a dominant 24-7 Cotton Bowl win over PAC 12 champion USC. Furthermore, the Big Ten went 7-1 in bowl season, proving that Ohio State won the deepest conference in all of college football. But for the committee, Ohio State’s loss at unranked Iowa was enough to keep them out of the playoff.
Throughout the course of bowl season, UCF began to become more and more popular in college football. The Knights not only won their conference, but also beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl to become the only FBS team to go undefeated this season. Auburn, who lost to UCF, beat both Georgia and Alabama. The biggest detriment to UCF, however, was its own conference. Competing in the American Conference, the Knights do not compete with “Power 5” teams on a weekly basis like other CFP contenders do.
This unfortunately separates them from the conference champions and teams of the SEC, PAC 12, Big Ten, ACC and BIG 12. A non-Power 5 team has never made the CFP, and it does not look like that will happen until it expands to eight teams. Until then, teams like UCF will be waiting for their chance at a national title.
The committee’s selection of Alabama obviously ended up being the correct one, seeing that it won the national title. But until the CFP eventually expands to eight teams, the word “IF” will always be associated with the process. For example, IF Ohio State was put into the playoff, would it have won? IF UCF was put into the playoff, would it have completed an undefeated season with a national title? These hypothetical questions will continue to play a part in how the CFP is perceived, even when it is expanded to eight teams. As long as the CFP exists, fans will always wonder, “What IF that was my team in the final spot?”
By: Colin Cooper ~Staff Writer~