FOOTBALL

Cop out

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere.

Well, it was the playoff committee's first stab at selecting the four teams to compete for a title in the first college football playoffs, and I think they took a big swing and missed.

It was quite the puzzling week. They ranked TCU at No. 3, three spots ahead of Baylor--even though the Bears had an identical record and beat them head to head.

Despite the Horned Frogs thrashing Iowa State 55-3, the committee became prisoners of the moment and were instantly smitten by Ohio State's 59-0 demolition of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Because the Big Twelve Conference didn't have a championship game of their own, TCU was penalized and dropped three spots, allowing the Buckeyes to take over the coveted No. 4 spot.

To me, this was a complete debacle from start to finish.

All year, the committee continuously painted themselves in a corner by having TCU ranked ahead of Baylor despite the win.

Many argued that the Horned Frogs were more impressive against common opponents; that's the reason they should be ranked ahead of the Bears.

It's all hogwash. If you're not going to give credit for head-to-head wins, why play the games at all? That logic has rendered them meaningless.

When there is no head-to-head result to fall back on, that's when you compare common opponents. When you have a three-point win by Baylor over TCU staring you down, those comparisons are moot.

I don't care if they gave up 58. I don't care that it was just a three-point win at home. I don't care that they were down 21 in the fourth quarter.

It's supposed to be a bottom-line business and guess what? Baylor beat TCU. That's the bottom line because the final score said so.

However, the playoff committee didn't see it this way, so they continued to push Baylor back in the rankings until it was too late to jump them into the top four.

Instead, they were captivated by Ohio State's big win and threw them into the mix.

They say many things, but let's be honest here. The real reason they put Ohio State at No. 4 was because it was the easy thing to do.

They created a no-win scenario for themselves all year by ranking TCU over Baylor despite the head-to-head win. So, when it came down to the final vote, they didn't know how to handle the TCU/Baylor dynamic.

They just figured it would be a lot easier and their conscious would be much clearer if they went the easy route and gave Ohio State the open slot. It was a total cop out.

To me, it's quite simple: Baylor should have been the No. 4 team.

They beat TCU, they have better wins than Ohio State, played in a much better conference and have a less incriminating loss.

The committee virtually threw Baylor and TCU under the bus just because their conference didn't play a title game. That's not their fault, and it should not be held against them.

They spoke down on the Bears' weak non-conference schedule as if Ohio State went through some kind of brutal gauntlet.

The Buckeyes' non-conference tilt included: Navy (6-5), Virginia Tech (6-6)--which was a loss, Kent State (2-9) and a Cincinnati team that lost to 6-6 Miami by 21.

Baylor's lone loss to West Virginia wasn't pretty, but it was still a better defeat than the one Ohio State endured.

The Bears lost on the road to a Mountaineer team that is significantly better than the Virginia Tech squad that handed Ohio State a loss. The 6-6 Hokies beat the Buckeyes by 14 in Columbus.

I don't care if it was just T.J. Barrett's second game as a starter; that kind of loss is inexcusable. It's the worst defeat of any one-loss team (besides Marshall).

The committee keeps telling us about all of these magical bowl-eligible teams Ohio State beat during the year. This list includes juggernaughts like: Navy (6-5), Maryland (7-5), Rutgers (7-5), Penn State (6-6) and Illinois (6-6).

Their biggest win was very impressive--a 12-point road victory over No. 8 Michigan State, and it wasn't really as close as the final score indicated.

But their three best wins are not collectively as good as the three best by Baylor.

Besides Michigan State, Ohio State beat No. 25 Minnesota by seven on the road, and they destroyed No. 13 Wisconsin 59-0 this past weekend.

Baylor handed TCU their only loss and beat No. 9 Kansas State by 11 on Saturday. I think Kansas State is better than both Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Many are slamming Oklahoma because of their loss on Saturday to Oklahoma State. That's not fair. The Sooners played that game without starting quarterback Trevor Knight, and they played much of the second half without Samaje Perine--a guy that broke the record for most rushing yards in a game.

Baylor played Oklahoma in Norman when they were at full strength. The Bears beat them by 34. I think a healthy Sooners team could beat both Minnesota and Wisconsin by double-digits.

And if you want to go by common opponents like the committee loved to do with Baylor and TCU, Baylor has an advantage there as well.

Ohio State beat Minnesota by seven. TCU beat the Golden Gophers by 23, and Baylor beat TCU. I was never good at math but by using the transitive property, I think it proves the Bears should have gotten the nod over the Buckeyes.