Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes compete for fourth place in CFP –

Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes compete for fourth place in CFP


GRAPEVINE, Texas – The college football jump-off is reduced to two polarizing teams, and only one place remains.

Regardless of the decision made by the selection committee, whether it is a single loss Alabama that did not win its division, or an Ohio state with two losses that was embarrbaded in a 55-24 loss to Iowa, it is likely that a controversy arises behind the closed doors of "Selection Central" and, frankly, the 13 members of that room do not really care.

FiveThirtyEight will update its University Playoff projections after each game and the new selection committee ranking. Screenings »

" Our position is very simple, "committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said on Saturday," to enter and select the four best teams for the semi-final selection for the tiebreaker and that's What we will do Our discussions and our discussions about what has happened in the 12 or 13 opportunities we have had to see these teams play. "

For Alabama, it's 12. For Ohio State, it's 13 after the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin to win the Big Ten championship.

Nick Saban and Urban Meyer lost little time defending their respective teams.

"It should not matter when you lost," Saban told ESPN's Chris. Under Saturday night. "All you need to do is get the top four teams, and it's also supposed to be all your work, let's say we lost 30 points to Texas A & M, do you think we'd even be considered?"

Meyer cited the state of Ohio's schedule: "We played the first three teams and won two of them," Meyer said after the Buckeyes triumphed over the Badgers. "It's amazing how important this tie-breaker is and how everyone revolves around him, I hope we have a chance."

For the first and only time this season, committee members watched the games together on Saturday at the Gaylord Texan Resort as they met to discuss the final ranking, which will be revealed on Sunday (noon ET on ESPN and ESPN). Their jobs became easier after victories by Clemson (ACC), Oklahoma (Big 12) and Georgia (SEC) in their respective championship games of the conference, but their decision on which team will complete the first four will surely be one of the most controversial decisions made in the era of the CFP.

JT Barrett and Ohio State delayed Wisconsin to win the Big Ten championship. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama was not on any of the five flat-screen TVs they saw. Instead, Alabama badistant coaches remained in Tuscaloosa to entertain the recruits on official visits, while the players were free to meet on their own and watch the other title games together. With 11-1, his only loss to the SEC's three-game runner-up, Auburn, Alabama's last hope for playoffs depends on a debate with Ohio State. As far as public perception is concerned, it is a decision to lose and lose for the committee. Alabama and Ohio State are teams that many love to hate, and skeptics and critics of the system have been screaming brand biases for weeks.

For three years, Ohio State has been an atypical case in the system, for one reason or another, and both teams have obvious flaws this season. Despite their warts and their obvious curriculum differences, the next step for the committee is to determine if they are similar enough to call for tie-downs.

If the committee considers Alabama and Ohio State to be "comparable," a subjective determination in an already ambiguous system, then the CFP protocol requires that it be supported by criteria that include conference championships, strength of schedule, common opponents, and competition. head to head Only the first two would apply to a debate between Ohio State and Alabama, and only the Buckeyes have league titles, but even that might not be enough.

"This week, obviously, the selection committee thought that Alabama was the best football team," Hocutt said Tuesday. "If that changes, if Ohio State wins a conference championship, I do not know how the selection committee would make that decision until it happens, and I'm prepared to answer it next Sunday for sure."

First, we need to know how each committee member evaluates the value of a conference title, something that could vary between them. Would Ohio State win the Big Ten title by beating No. 4 and undefeated Wisconsin would change that perception? It depends on which committee member you request.

(All time ET)

• 9 a.m.-noon: Championship Drive Presented by Northwestern Mutual (ESPN2)

• 12 a.m.-4 p. M .: Football Playoff Selection College Show Presented by AT & T (ESPN)

• 6 pm-8 pm: SEC Now: Bowl Special (SEC Network)

• 6 pm-8: 30 pm: Championship Drive Presented by Capital One (ESPN2)

• 8:30 pm-11 p. M .: Championship Drive: Who was presented by Capital One (ESPN)

"To what extent, how will it be weighted that is subjective with each individual in the selection committee room," Hocutt said. "Then, when comparing comparable teams, like teams, the conference championship designation is important."

Note that some committee members will not be in the room for deliberations of certain teams. The Ohio State Athletic Director, Gene Smith, will refrain from any discussion related to the state of Ohio. Clemson AD Dan Radakovich and Frank Beamer, whose son, Shane, is an badistant coach in Georgia, will also have to leave the room when the Tigers and Bulldogs are discussed.

It is important to remember that a conference championship is a distinction factor and not a requirement. In the CFP protocol, nothing says that the teams have to win the title of their conference. If the committee thinks that Alabama is a loss it is better than an Ohio state with two losses, so be it. The Buckeyes know how this is going.

Last year, it was they who slipped into the top four without even winning their division. Penn State beat Ohio State during the regular season and went on to beat Wisconsin to win the Big Ten, but it did not matter because the Nittany Lions had two losses. The committee finally did not think PSU and Ohio State were comparable, so he did not feel compelled to rely on those tie-breakers. The committee thought that Washington and Ohio State were simply better than the PSU.

Will the committee finally determine that Alabama is simply better than Ohio State? The case of Crimson Tide is not helped by the fact that Auburn lost to Georgia in the SEC championship game, since the strength of the schedule will also be seen under the microscope. The best victories in Alabama are against LSU, Mississippi State and Fresno State. Meanwhile, Ohio State has two wins among the top 10 (Wisconsin and Penn State), as well as one against the No. 16 Michigan State.

Does that go beyond the fact that Alabama was ranked 1 or 2? by the committee for four consecutive weeks until his loss to Auburn? ESPN's FiveThirtyEight gives Ohio State an advantage, projecting a 40 percent chance of Buckeyes reaching the playoffs, compared with 28 percent for Alabama.

Oklahoma, Georgia and Clemson made it easy. There is only one place left for the debate, and it is a debate that the committee probably can not win no matter what argument it makes.

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