Checking the Score: Bowling With The Playoff Committee

Jon Joseph Editorials

One game remains to be played in the 2021 college football (CFB) season. On Monday, January 10, 2022, No. 1 Alabama will play No. 3 Georgia in Indianapolis to decide, among other things, whether Oregon will open the 2022 season against the defending national champion or the runner-up.

It should come as no surprise that these two SEC behemoths are playing a rematch of the SEC Championship game to determine what team rules CFB in 2021. 247 Sports Blue Chip Ratio (the number of 4 star and 5 star recruits on a team’s roster) had Alabama ranked No. 1 in the preseason and Georgia ranked No. 2. The 247 Sports Roster Talent Rankings also had Alabama at No. 1 and Georgia at No. 2. Oregon’s roster was preseason ranked No. 9, thus Alabama and Georgia played up to their respective ranking. The Ducks? How about an empathetic, “NO!”

On December 5, 2021, the CFB Playoff Committee released its ultimate ranking of 2021’s Top 25 teams. Now that bowl season but for the champ game, has been completed, how did the Committee roll in the bowls? Was the final ranking indicative of how the ranked teams played in the post season? Of course the Committee with top 25 teams playing top 25 teams will never bowl a perfect 300 game, but overall in 2021, the Committee finished quite nicely.

Two Gutter Balls – COVID prevented No. 25 Texas A&M from boarding the train and departing College Station. No. 18. North Carolina State did not know that COVID was Bruin in Westwood until just before the Holiday Bowl was called off by The Chippers. This did not please Wolf Pack head coach Dave Doreen. If anyone in headquarters is on the ball, one of the first Alliance out-of-conference games must have UCLA playing NC State in Raleigh.

Boy, did Ohio State win…

Fourteen Strikes – Nos. 1 Alabama, 3. Georgia, 6. Ohio State, 7. Baylor, 9. Oklahoma State, 10. Michigan State, 16. Oklahoma, 17. Wake Forest, 19. Clemson, 20. Houston, 21. Arkansas, 22. Kentucky, 23. Louisiana and 24. San Diego State won their respective bowl games.

Four Spares – Based solely on the rankings and not on gambling odds, the following teams playing higher ranked opponents were expected to lose and did so. Nos. 4. Cincinnati, 8. Ole Miss, 11. Utah and 12. Pittsburgh.

Five 7-10 Splits – Five teams in the top 25 lost to lower ranked opponents. No. 2 Michigan lost badly to No. 3 Georgia. A most disappointing no show by the Wolverines and CFB Coach of the Year, Jim Harbaugh.

No. 5 Notre Dame under new coach Marcus Freeman gave up a 21 point lead and lost to No. 9 Oklahoma State. This was the largest comeback in Cowboys history and not a good opening act for Marcus. Next up for Marcus? The 2022 opener at his alma mater Ohio State.

No. 13 BYU lost to 8-4 and not ranked UAB. BYU had no trouble defeating Pac-12 teams but found harder going versus the Sun Belt. (SIGH.)

Truly shorthanded…

No. 14 Oregon lost to No. 16 Oklahoma with the Sooners easily covering the -4.5 spread and sending Bob Stoops back to the broadcast booth with a decisive victory. I hate excuses but if a team had an excuse to not win its bowl game it was this Ducks squad. Down to close to 50 scholarship players and in the midst of coaching turmoil. Oh well, Next Case!

No. 15 Iowa lost to No. 22 Kentucky, allowing a younger Stoops to tally 10 wins. Why was Iowa ranked at No. 15? It was no doubt entirely coincidental that the Iowa AD was the Committee Chairman, right?

How did ranked teams do by conference? (For this purpose, I am using the announced but not yet completed conference restructuring.)

Pac-12 – 0 and 2. The only good news for the Conference of Champions was that the NC State/UCLA game was called off and Utah put up a heck of a fight against Ohio State. Losing to MAC and Mountain West opponents? OUCH!

ACC – NC State – no contest. Wins by No. 17. Wake Forest, No. 19 Clemson and a loss by No. 12 Pitt.

B1G – 2 -2 – Wins by No. 6 Ohio State and No. 10 Michigan State with No. 2 Michigan and No. 15 Iowa losing their games. Michigan’s performance against Georgia in the Orange Bowl was probably the most disappointing of the entire post season.

Houston got it done…

B12 – 3-2 – Wins by Nos. 7 Baylor, 9 Oklahoma State and 20 Houston. Nos. 4 Cincinnati and 13 BYU lost. Pretty darn good for a conference that was falling apart to win the Sugar and Fiesta Bowls and to have a team in the Final 4. Bob Bowlsby is one heck of a commissioner. He saved a conference on the brink. In addition to Houston’s win, new B12 member UCF defeated Florida. Fortune Favors The Bold. Right, George?

SEC – 5-1. Wins by Nos. 1 Alabama, 3 Georgia, 16 Oklahoma, 21 Arkansas and 22 Kentucky. 8. Ole Miss lost its starting QB and a hotly contested Sugar Bowl game to Baylor. Georgia is -2.5 versus Alabama in the Champ Game. I want Coach Lanning coming west as a winner, but I’ll believe the Dawgs can take down The Tide only when I see it.

GET YOUR POPCORN READY! September 3, 2022, has Oregon versus Georgia in Atlanta, Utah playing Florida in The Swamp and Notre Dame opening against Ohio State in The Shoe. Mario, happy that you are MIA.


Jon Joseph
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Photo by Alabama Football Twitter

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