The College Football Playoff killed the Bowl Championship Series and its infernal computers.
No one benefited more from the new system’s reliance on the human element than Ohio State.
The Buckeyes were the big winner Saturday night, destroying Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten title game, and then the even bigger winner Sunday, jumping into the fourth and final CFP spot and into a semifinal matchup with No. 1 Alabama.
The committee had dinged unbeaten Florida State week after week for not passing the “eye test” but finally did right by the Seminoles by giving them the No. 3 seed.
While FSU was winning close games all season, albeit still winning, the other CFP contenders almost always were winning in more convincing fashion.
Other than a double-overtime slugfest with Penn State, Ohio State led the pretty parade, with its 49-37 win at Michigan State even giving them one up on the sexy second-seeded Ducks, who beat the Spartans at home.
It’s fitting that Ohio State was the belle of the ball Sunday. So much of this college football season has been about Urban Meyer’s third team. There was the injury to star quarterback Braxton Miller in August, which if you remember, supposedly was the end of its national title hopes.
In stepped redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who after a disastrous performance in a home loss to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6, led the Buckeyes to 10 straight wins.
Barrett went down in a 42-28 win over Michigan on Nov. 29, and the Buckeyes supposedly were sunk again.
Not so. In came ginormous third-string quarterback Cardale Jones, all 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds of him, and he throws for three touchdowns in a walk over Wisconsin.
According to Jeff Sagarin’s rating, Texas Christian played a tougher schedule than Ohio State, 42nd in his ranking, compared with 52nd, and certainly had a better loss (to Baylor), but it was the Horned Frogs who dropped from third in Tuesday’s penultimate poll to sixth in Sunday’s.
Ohio State began last week ahead of Baylor, whose schedule was ranked No. 56 by Sagarin, but the Bears had a better win (against TCU) and certainly a better loss (at West Virginia).
About that Virginia Tech loss. The Hokies limped to a 6-6 finish, including a 3-5 ACC finish, but they were completely healthy in September and a step better than Ohio State’s inexperienced offensive line.
Jeff Long, the head of the CFP committee, agreed on the ESPN selection show that the Buckeyes had the worst loss.
“But we think they overcame that,” Long said. “They had nine wins over teams that were bowl-eligible.”
Only five of Baylor’s and TCU’s wins were against bowl-eligible teams.
If there’s anything prospective playoff teams learned from Ohio State, it’s finish strong. It also helped that all 13 of Ohio State’s opponents were from the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Those wins against 9-3 Cincinnati and 6-5 Navy came in handy for the Buckeyes, compared with throw-away wins by Baylor against Southern Methodist, Buffalo and Northwestern State or TCU against Samford and SMU.
Of course, Ohio State’s reward is a date with Alabama in New Orleans. Google “Ohio State” and “SEC” and “bowl,” and you’ll figure out the Buckeyes aren’t going to be be given a shot Jan. 1.
The way the season has consistently come up Sloopy, don’t be surprised if they’re still hanging around Jan. 12.