Adrian Kaiser, Guest Writer to The Golden Hammer
The College Football Playoff committee decided on Sunday their final rankings that will determine who will play in the bowl games that make up the College Football Playoffs.
In a surprise to practically no one, the top two teams that will be playing in these bowl games are the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson University Tigers.
The Crimson Tide have become synonymous with the first place spot in NCAA rankings consistently being in the top four. Under Head Coach (and possible legend) Nick Saban, who accepted the head coaching job in 2007, the Tide have racked up a 163 – 23 win-lose record. The Crimson Tide has also won 5 National Championships, 7 SEC Championships, and 10 time SEC Western Championships, in addition to numerous coaching awards.
Another respectable coach and downright legend in college football is the Clemson Tigers’ head coach Dabo Swinney. Swinney became the head coach of the Clemson Tigers in 2009 after a short stint as their interim head coach in the 2008 season. In his 11 years as head coach, Swinney holds an overall record of 143 – 32 win-lose ratio, has led the Clemson Tigers to 2 National Championships, and 7 ACC Championships. He, like Saban, has also received many coaching awards.
The Tide and the Tigers will not be playing against each other in the initial playoff games, the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl will feature the Clemson Tigers and the Ohio State Buckeyes, which are the Number 2 and Number 3 ranked teams, respectively.
The Rose Bowl will feature the Crimson Tide and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Number One and Number Four ranked teams.
Notre Dame under Head Coach Brian Kelly hasn’t really amounted to much in his 11 years as head coach, except a 2018 season Cotton Bowl where they lost to Clemson 30 to 3. Notre Dame surprised the College Football world, when they took down Number Two Clemson in early November with a score of 47-40.
Clemson’s star quarterback and most of the starting offensive line were not playing during that game. That game was a fluke, as Clemson would proceed to beat Notre Dame in the ACC Championship game 34 to 10.
A lot of college football fans believe that Notre Dame didn’t deserve their spot in the Playoffs, but they did manage an undefeated regular season. For that reason, their Playoff appearance is understandable.
The team far less deserving of a spot in the College Football Playoffs is the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes seem to have made the Playoffs more from their legacy than the quality of the actual team.
Under former head coach Urban Meyer, they were led to a national championship in 2014, as well as being the three-time Big 10 Champion between the years 2012 and 2018. The new Buckeyes head coach is Ryan Day, who is only in his second season. Day appears to be coasting off of the success of his predecessor. Meyer recruited an outstanding group of freshmen before he retired, while Day is the primary beneficiary of Meyer’s great work. Day led the Buckeyes to two Big 10 Championships and he has the ability to become a great coach. He’s not there yet.
Ohio State simply hasn’t shown that they deserve to be in the College Football Playoffs. They only played six games this season. Their toughest ranked opponent was number 11 Indiana which they only beat by a touchdown. Even in the Big 10 Championship game, Ohio State only vanquished Northwestern, the 14th ranked team.
No two-loss team has made it to a National Championship game since 2014. There were multiple teams that could have been in the queue for consideration, but a lot of those teams lost games the final week, causing them to become two-loss teams.
Only two teams had zero or one losses this season that made the Top 25 in the rankings and didn’t make the Playoffs, Texas A&M and Cincinnati.
Texas A&M had a great 8 win, 1 loss season. The Aggies’ Head Coach Jimbo Fisher said, “I just want to know how much Ohio State and Notre Dame paid for their Playoff spots. Give me the number and I’ll write the damn check next season.” Clemson’s Head Coach Dabo Swinney said, “No team is more deserving than Texas A&M.”
Another team that had an undefeated record but didn’t receive consideration was Coastal Carolina, which won all 11 of its games.
Many are unhappy about the College Football Playoff Committee’s decision and are not very happy with the teams that have made it into the Playoffs this year.
I’m not really very happy about it either. Nevertheless, I’ll be watching the games.