After last week’s rankings came out, the stage was pretty clearly set for how this year’s College Football Playoff will look, and even though most everyone could see what was going to happen coming, when the committee did what it effectively told us it would, folks were still extremely mad about it.
Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State all won their respective conference championship games, cementing themselves in the Playoff despite a few protests of the Buckeyes only playing six games this season. The only question was who would be fourth, but even with Notre Dame getting stomped out by Clemson in a 24-point loss in the ACC title game, when it came down to who would be in between the Irish, Texas A&M, and AAC champ Cincinnati, we all knew what was coming.
Sure enough, the College Football Playoff committee chose to ride the money train that is Notre Dame over setting up a rematch of A&M and Alabama (which the Tide won 52-24) or putting in Cincinnati, an undefeated conference champion that actually dropped a spot in the rankings after being leapt by a two-loss Oklahoma. As such, we get our fourth Ohio State-Clemson matchup of the last decade, with the Tigers a perfect 3-0 against the Buckeyes since 2013, and the first Alabama-Notre Dame game since the Tide kicked the Irish’s teeth in to win the 2012 BCS National Championship. As for how competitive this go around will be, well, the folks in Las Vegas don’t have high hopes for Notre Dame, as they hoped as 17.5 to 20.5-point underdogs to Alabama.
Opening CFP lines @SuperBookSports:
Notre Dame vs Alabama -20.5
Ohio St vs. Clemson -7
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) December 20, 2020
The table is now set for New Year’s Day, and while there were plenty of people upset that Cincinnati clearly didn’t get a fair shake and even a real look as a consideration, the Bearcats seem to be taking it in stride as something they basically expected. UCF, a rival of Cincy’s in the AAC who have previously been the undefeated Group of 5 team left out of the Playoff, posted a video to Twitter showing that they were ready to start a college football NWO with the Bearcats and fellow undefeated Coastal Carolina now that it’s clear none will ever get a crack at the Playoff.
It’s pretty clear that until expansion to an 8-team format with a guaranteed spot for a G5 team, they’re never getting in, and this might accelerate some conversations among those conferences to consider doing their own thing. However, even if they’re constantly disrespected, the money from the Playoff and the New Year’s Six game is hard to make up on your own and they might just stick around in the current system for it.
And as long as that’s happening, we’ll repeat this every year. Outrage over a system doing exactly what it’s designed to, which is put the teams that will draw the biggest ratings possible together and make just enough of a cast to do so.