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Classification of college football playoffs: how Oklahoma, Ohio State, UGA enter



Ohio State coach Urban Meyer did not want to hear any questions about style points or the University Football Playoff on Monday. In fact, when a question arose, Meyer moved into a very specific discussion about the trends of the Northwestern punt return team.

"His punt table, they rushed 12 times in the table run," Meyer said, without suppressing a smile. "So we have to be prepared, they skinny the short edge, too, so we have to be really solid in that."

Meyer has been through this before. He tried to politick this week in 2006 while training in Florida, but the most effective argument his Gators did was a 38-28 win against an Arkansas team that came in 10-1. That, plus the loss of USC to UCLA, made Florida enter the game for the BCS title against Ohio State. In 2014, he had to enter a new starting quarterback (Cardale Jones) in the Big Ten title game, and the Ohio State 59-0 victory jumped to the Buckeyes over Baylor and TCU and into the playoff. Meyer knows that the best thing he can do to help his team enter the college football playoff is to prepare him as best he can for Saturday's Big Ten game against Northwestern. He can not control anything else. Nor, for that matter, can Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma. The Sooners have already lost to the rival of Big 12 Title Texas. Any second spent worrying about the playoff is a second that is not spent trying to beat the Longhorns.

Three games on Saturday (the Big 12 championship, the SEC championship, the Big Ten championship) must decide who gets to the playoffs. So let's examine the potential scenarios and the potential results …

The status quo scenario

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma wins close in a game that has tons of points and yards from both teams.
Championship of the sec Alabama beats Georgia by two touchdowns.
Big Ten Championship: The state of Ohio beats northwest by 10.

What the committee could do: The committee will likely have Oklahoma above the state of Ohio when it publishes its ranking on Tuesday night, and it is likely that this set of results will not change anyone's opinion. With Oklahoma, the committee knows what it is getting: great offense and sometimes terrible defense. With Ohio State, the committee still will not know which team will be presented. The Buckeyes need to replicate their performance against Michigan to show how high their roof is, and they have not done so in the scenario described above. (But keep reading for one in which they do it.)

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Notre Dame
4. Oklahoma

The Texas stage is back

Big 12 Championship: Texas beats Oklahoma again.
Championship of the sec Alabama beats Georgia by two touchdowns.
Big Ten Championship: The state of Ohio beats northwest by 10.

What the committee could do: All this debate about Oklahoma and the state of Ohio may be in vain, because it is entirely possible that Texas will again beat Oklahoma. If we are talking about the probability of a disorder of the Las Vegas line, the Longhorns are more likely to defeat the Sooners. And if that happens and the Buckeyes beat the Wildcats, none of this discussion matters. (But please read on anyway.)

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Notre Dame
4. State of Ohio

The stage of fitz magic

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma beats Texas
Championship of the sec Alabama beats Georgia.
Big Ten Championship: The northwest overcomes the state of Ohio.

As good as Ohio State showed on Saturday against Michigan, this is still the same team that lost by 29 losses to Purdue. So it's not unreasonable to think that Pat Fitzgerald could find a way to help Northwestern get a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl as a player and as a head coach. In this scenario, Big 12 Oklahoma champion would get the last place.

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Notre Dame
4. Oklahoma

The Party-Like-It-2014 scenario

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma beats Texas for five on another high scoring issue.
Championship of the sec Alabama beats Georgia by 13.
Big Ten Championship: Ohio State opens the doors of Northwestern as it did in Wisconsin in 2014. A second dominant performance in two weeks suggests that the Buckeyes have corrected the problems that tormented them for most of the season and convinces committee members to consider your maximum limit.

What the committee could do: This is where Ohio State could benefit from the "better" vs. "more deserving" argument. If the committee members think that the Buckeyes are now playing according to the level of talent on the list, who would they prefer to face Alabama? Ohio State and Oklahoma have great players, and the Sooners probably have the best individual player in Kyler Murray, but the Buckeyes list is better from top to bottom and is more likely to match the Alabama list better. The question that worried Ohio State throughout the season was whether the Buckeyes could get all that talent to play as a cohesive unit. If the committee thinks they have done it, then you could see exactly what happened in 2014. The Buckeyes then hope to double their result against Tide in the Sugar Bowl after that season. (Although Blake Sims is not walking through that door, Tua Tagovailoa is). Meanwhile, Big 12 would face a crisis similar to the one it faced when the Buckeyes jumped to TCU and Baylor in the final standings in 2014. However, it results in any expansion exploration. The 12 great leaders would only have to decide if they wanted to press for an extended playoff.

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Notre Dame
4. State of Ohio

The Doomsday Dawgs stage

Championship of the sec Georgia beats Alabama.
Big 12 Championship: No matter
Big Ten Championship: No matter

What the committee could do: It will make Alabama number 4, and nothing in this debate will mean anything. This would force the leaders of Big 12 and Big Ten to seriously consider their access to the playoff. The Pac-12 should already be, but it also has other problems.

1. Clemson
2. Georgia
3. Notre Dame
4. Alabama

The 2012 scenario, or the playoff of eight teams in the 2020 scenario

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma beats Texas 54-52. The quarterback of Longhorns, Sam Ehlinger, throws 450 yards, but Kyler Murray takes to the Sooners by the field for a field goal winner of Austin Seibert.
Championship of the sec Alabama beats Georgia 32-28 thanks to a goal position in the final seconds.
Big Ten Championship: The state of Ohio beats northwest 42-36. The Buckeyes' defense that yielded just one play of 30 yards or more against Michigan falls back to the middle and allows three, along with several plays over 20 yards or more.

What the committee could do: George Schroeder, of USA Today, commented on Sunday that the former coaches of the selection committee are the guys who value much more having a great defense than a big offense. Clashes such as the Big 12 and Big Ten title games described above make them mock. In this scenario, questions about the defenses of Oklahoma and the state of Ohio and a problem between Georgia and Alabama could make them decide they want to see the Bulldogs, which allow 17.2 points per game and do not allow more than 36 games. The crimson tide again. This would annoy the leaders of Big Ten and Big 12, and could push them to change the playoff to ensure their champions are on the support each year.

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Notre Dame
4. Georgia

The scenario of the Holy Forking shirt

Big 12 Championship: Texas wins.
Championship of the American Athletic Conference: UCF wins (even without McKenzie Milton).
Championship of the sec Georgia wins.
Big Ten Championship: Northwestern wins.
ACC Championship: Pittsburgh wins.

What the committee could do: Escape from Gaylord Texan and board the first flights departing from DFW. This last scenario of chaos is not a triumph for the committee. But if there was ever an opportunity to give an unbeaten team of the Group of Five the opportunity to prove itself, it would be this. So the committee would do UCF No. 4 and so sneak silently.

1. Georgia
2. Notre Dame
3. Alabama
4. UCF


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