I could make a case for Notre Dame, and you have to understand how strongly biased against Notre Dame I am to say such a thing. But fair is fair, and I don’t think it’s out of the question to have the Irish in the playoff, and I could even make a case for OU (though again, strong bias, and I’d rather not make that argument).
That’s as good a selection as any since it is entirely a beauty contest instead of an objective ranking. I’m of the opinion that only conference champions should be in the playoffs but that’s not the criteria.
My bias would be towards Texas A&M but should they be in after getting whipped by Alabama earlier in the year? And if not A&M, who? Ohio State only played 6 games to win their conference, that’s a pretty weak body of work. Should either of those be in over an Oklahoma that lost 2 games early and then rolled through 7 straight wins, two against ranked teams? Cincinnati went undefeated but I don’t think the American Conference is that strong; however, I’d be comfortable seeing them in the playoffs. It is not easy to remain unbeaten no matter the strength of competition.
I suppose it comes down to, that out of the top teams, I don’t think Ohio State or Notre Dame belong in the CFP at all this year. I’d be comfortable with most any else that played almost a full schedule (that knocks out Indiana).
4 Texas A&M (that’s the bias, Cincinnati should probably get this slot if I hold to principle of having to win your conference.)
Just saw the AP rankings, Notre Dame and Clemson swapped places so the media want to see Notre Dame in there. Better for ratings? And for all the complaints about SEC bias, no team seems to get the benefit of the doubt like Ohio State.
3 Ohio State
4 Notre Dame
5 Texas A&M
9 Coastal Carolina
I expect Alabama to win, but it might not actually be the cake walk that we would expect. Notre Dame actually has a really solid quarterback. Clemson had the advantage of having a total wizard as their defensive coordinator in Brent Venables and having already played the Irish once, but teams that haven’t played them before might encounter problems, and for whatever reason, the one hole in Alabama’s game seems to be susceptibility to deep passing routes. If you can keep them honest enough and make them defend against the run and the short pass, you can occasionally burn them deep.
I guess that’s true of any team, but a team like Clemson is better prepared than Bama because their defensive schemes have generally been more successful the last several years in terms of putting pressure on the backfield. When Bama torched Notre Dame in the 2012 BCS title game, they did it with a devastating pass rush that never allowed Notre Dame to get their offense going. I think it’s potentially a different story in 2021. In the end, ND’s problem will probably be their inability to stop Bama’s offense, but perhaps they can slow them down if they can disguise blitzes and contain Najee Harris.
Ohio State earned it. Whether they’re good enough to beat Clemson is another matter, but they went undefeated and the Big 10 was actually, IMO, about as good as any conference this year from top to bottom.
Granted, I’m biased because I went to A&M, but I kind of have to wonder why Ohio State is ahead of A&M- Ohio State has only played six games total. A&M has won more straight games than Ohio State has played in total, and against similar caliber or tougher opponents than either school.
A&M is 8-1 with 7 straight wins in the SEC. That’s both more wins, and more wins in a row than Ohio State has overall. Undefeated doesn’t really count for much, IMO if you’re playing 3 less games than someone else.
Ohio State won their conference and they went undefeated. This year their most impressive wins were actually over two teams that are normally afterthoughts: Northwestern and Indiana, but those were actually good teams this year. The fact that they played fewer games is not necessarily under their control.
As an LSU fan I tend to be biased toward the SEC myself, but Ohio State has a solid case – stronger than A&M’s, IMHO.
I disagree. Not because I think A&M is so strong, but that it’s really lame that a 6-0 team is even in consideration. Undefeated doesn’t really mean anything if you play a dramatically shorter schedule than everyone else.
I understand that argument, but I think that unfortunately, this is just a weird year. Besides, similar arguments have been made in the past about the number of in-conference opponents that some SEC teams have played. It’s fairly well documented that, at least in some of the past campaigns, SEC champions didn’t play as many in-conference opponents as teams in say the Big 10, Big 12, or PAC-12 instead opting to have Alabama play Tallahassee Community College* or some team like that as a tune-up match for its SEC schedule.
*I know that’s not a real school but figured I’d have some fun with it
ETA: Turns out, there is a Tallahassee Community College after all-- had no idea.
While I understand the arguments regarding only winning 6 games total, Ohio State not only won their conference, but did so while missing 22 players (and quite a few coaches/staff) due to COVID-19 protocols, including Chris Olave, while also losing Master Teague to an undisclosed injury in the first half. Justin Fields also suffered a thumb injury hampering his ability to throw in the game.
That they managed to rally from behind with a huge Trey Sermon performance which broke not just Eddie George’s rushing yards in a single game record but also broke the rushing yard record for any conference championship game across all of FBS football, arguably makes a pretty good case that the Buckeyes are worthy of a playoff spot, particularly if they are back at full strength. I do think A&M should probably have gotten the fourth spot vs Notre Dame, but I’m also incredibly biased against Notre Dame.
And also, as much as we can say that past performances shouldn’t factor, I think that the Committee knows that Ohio State can at least be competitive on the big stage. They won it all in the first year of the plus one format, and they were very competitive against Clemson in last year’s semi-final. They’re probably less certain how A&M would stand up to either Bama or Clemson.
Sure, but what makes their 6-0 so noticeably superior to A&M or even Oklahoma, who won the Big-12 and went 8-2? Undefeated doesn’t mean squat when you’re playing two or three fewer games than everyone else.
This year is so weird that I’m not sure I particularly care who plays, but I’m not sure that the Big10 deserves the credit they are given. Ohio State’s statement win is over Indiana, who has beaten a grand total of zero teams with a winning record. Zero. Northwestern beat one team with a winning record. So the only two good wins on paper by OSU are over vastly overrated teams. While I agree that Cincinnati likely isn’t one of the four best teams in the country, their body of work is vastly greater than anyone in the Big10. The same is true of Coastal Carolina. A&M doesn’t have much of a body of work either, but they did beat Florida (even though I believe Florida to be the better of the two at this time). As for Notre Dame, while I don’t really think they are a top four team, they did beat Clemson (yeah, with an asterisk, but that doesn’t seem to matter this year) and North Carolina. They also played 11 games, which should count for something this year.
If I was looking at overall body of work, I’d probably give a shot or two to teams that normally wouldn’t have a chance, but probably earned it this year.
So my four would be something like:
No, I don’t think those are the four best teams in the country, but I don’t think anyone else has a better body of work. There also haven’t been enough games between tough competition (especially cross conference) this year for the “eye test” to carry a lot of weight.
I’ll be blunt. I’m a graduate of Ohio State, so I’m naturally biased from the start. I’ll further be blunt in stating that we wanted to play Michigan in our rivalry game and were hamstrung by COVID-19. I know no Ohio State fan who was happy we couldn’t pound Michigan again this year. We wanted more games, or at least, 1 more game. We haven’t missed a Wolverines-Buckeyes rivalry since 1918. We played fewer games (hamstrung, no less) because of COVID, not because we wanted to.
Your problem shouldn’t be that Ohio State received a spot over A&M in the playoffs. Your problem should be that soundly defeated Notre Dame was allowed a chance at a rematch, however unlikely (Alabama will likely destroy them, IMO) to their loss to Clemson. The issue isn’t, does Ohio State deserve a shot, but does Notre Dame deserve to have a chance to again take on Clemson if both Alabama and Ohio State lose. Notre Dame should be out due to their loss to one of the other top 4 teams. Ohio State may very well lose to Clemson in the semi-finals…again, but that has nothing to do with Notre Dame being given every opportunity to be in the finals. I absolutely think A&M was robbed. It was robbed by the committee choosing Notre Dame.
In a normal year, we’d probably have enough non-conference contests to get at least some sense of schedule strength, but we don’t have that this year. That’s not Ohio State’s fault; it just is what it is.
I think the Big 10 is perennially a competitive conference. Ohio State tends to compete well. Penn State competes well. You have Iowa and Wisconsin that tend to do well. I’m not saying that they always win, but they’re often competitive against other programs. It’s arguably more competitive at the top end of its conference than, say, the Big 12 or PAC 12. And even the ACC is sometimes suspect once you get past Clemson (and Florida State when they actually have a program). Miami, NC, and NC State are hit and miss depending on the year. I guess Notre Dame is good.
I don’t disagree about their situation nor am I really questioning the strength of Ohio State vs. a Coastal Carolina. I’m pretty sure the former would win over 70% of the time with this year’s team. My argument is that Coastal Carolina and Cincinnati have better resumes this year, even if it’s no fault of Ohio State. When the UCFs of the world go undefeated, but with lesser schedules through no fault of their own, we make them suffer for it. This year, those teams happen to have better resumes, through no fault of the Power 5 teams. We should be consistent and grant them seats at the table.