“Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs. Are you kidding me? Playoffs?”
The above quote was uttered by then-Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Jim Mora after his team in 1994 lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 40-21, dropping Mora’s team to 4-6 on the season.
Next season, just like the National Football League, the top level of NCAA college football known as the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and previously called Division I-A, will have its first playoff.
Too bad those playoffs don’t start until 2014 because it’s looking very possible that
if when Ohio State goes undefeated after the winning the Big Ten title, the Buckeyes just might get left out of the BCS national championship game.
Yes, we’ve already gone over Ohio State’s non-conference schedule before, but the main problem is how weak the Big Ten is outside of Columbus.
Ohio State’s main rival, Michigan, is 5-1 but could very easily be 3-3 with losses to Akron and UConn. Penn State is in year two of NCAA sanctions. Wisconsin, Michigan State and Nebraska are teams worthy to be ranked in the Top 25, but not much else.
In the past few days, Erick Smith of USA Today, Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com, and Tom Dienhart of BTN released their bowl projections. All three have Ohio State playing in the Rose Bowl, not the BCS national championship game. Smith and Dienhart are forecasting that the Buckeyes will take on UCLA, while Palm has OSU facing Stanford in Pasadena.
All three had Ohio State in the national title game prior to this week. Smith stated that “Oregon moves into the BCS title game against Alabama after handling Washington,” while Dienhart wrote that teams like “Alabama, Oregon and Clemson are primed to likely finish ahead of Ohio State if they remain unbeaten. So, I’m moving the Buckeyes from the BCS title game to the Rose Bowl.”
I get that. And as of right now, I’m fine with that reasoning. But the problem is, there are still seven weeks left in the regular season along with conference championship games from the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC.
At this time, Ohio State is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press top 25 college football poll. The three teams ahead of them – Alabama, Oregon, and Clemson – all have several tough games left. Let’s take a look:
Alabama – vs. Arkansas, vs. Tennessee, vs. LSU, at Mississippi State, vs. Chattanooga, at Auburn, plus either against Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, or Georgia in the SEC championship game.
Oregon – vs. Washington State, vs. UCLA, at Stanford, vs. Utah, at Arizona, vs. Oregon State, plus either UCLA or Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game.
Clemson – vs. Florida State, at Maryland, at Virginia, vs. Georgia Tech, vs. The Citadel, at South Carolina, plus either Virginia Tech or Miami (FL) in the ACC championship game.
As you can see, there’s a lot of football yet to be played. And anything can happen between now and December 7.
Last season, there were just two undefeated teams and one of them was Ohio State, who would of been in the BCS title game if not for a one-year bowl ban.
If there was a four-team playoff this season, Ohio State is basically guaranteed a spot if they finished undefeated.
Granted, it’s not much of a playoff since it will only consists of four teams, but it’s a start. Someday, I hope that the College Football Playoff (CFP) will include 16 teams, similar to what the FCS (Division I-AA) football has had since 1986.
The CFP will replace the Bowl Championship Series, better known as the “BCS,” which was formed in 1998 after six years of failed attempts by the Bowl Coalition (1992-1994) and the Bowl Alliance (1995-1997) to pit the top two teams in college football.
The problem with the Bowl Coalition and the Bowl Alliance is that neither of those two systems included members of the Big Ten Conference, the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) Conference, or the Rose Bowl. The winners of each league still met in Pasadena, regardless of rankings, which led to the demise of both the Bowl Coalition and the Bowl Alliance.
Ohio state is tied with Oklahoma with the most BCS bowl appearances (8), and the Buckeyes are also tied with Florida and Southern California with the most BCS wins (5).
One other thing of note since most of the 2010 season was vacated, Ohio State’s win over Arkansas was stripped from the record books, so the Buckeyes are officially one less in both categories.
But nonetheless, that’s a very good accomplishment over a span of 15 years, especially since last season was a washout due to a one-year post-season bowl ban thanks to NCAA sanctions due to violations under a former head coach and several former players.