A Fitting Football Final Four

Alabama's TJ Yeldon
A Fitting Football Final Four
Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat. The Big-12 didn’t screw itself when it comes to the college football playoff.
With the dust having settled and the remaining competitors preparing for the first ever final four of football, it’s time to come to this realization. The Big 12 didn’t screw itself. It never had a chance.
When Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State were the final selections by the playoff committee, people were up in arms over what had happened to TCU and Baylor. The common refrain was demeaning the conference for fumbling the One True Champion moniker. That was the biggest deal-breaker. That was the reason neither TCU nor Baylor made it into the elite club.
Yet this is ridiculous. Having one champion would not have mattered, and it’s annoying that most people didn’t realize this. If TCU had lost its final game of the season, making Baylor the One True Champion, would the Bears have gotten in? No, of course not. If anything, their resume would have appeared worse as their big win was suddenly over an inferior foe.
The same goes for the reverse. If Baylor had lost its final game, guaranteeing TCU sole possession of a Big 12 championship, would the Horned Frogs have gotten in? No, definitely not. Their resume would have been significantly worse as the only team that defeated them wasn’t so good after all.
It wasn’t the co-championship that kept Baylor and TCU out of the playoff. It was their schedules, specifically out of conference. If you don’t play anyone good, you better not lose; just ask Florida State.
The Seminoles probably knew all season that a single loss would remove them from the playoff picture. Their schedule was so poor that they barely survived an undefeated season of close victories. By the immortal eye test, FSU is probably not one of the four best teams in the country. But at least it never lost.
The final hurrah for the Big 12 faithful and the up-in-arms crew was the supposed flip-flop that occurred during the committee’s final ranking. The week prior, TCU was the third best team in the country. How can they drop a few spots after a dominating win?
This is yet another case of uninformed fans complaining about the wrong thing. The reason TCU “dropped” after its win is because each week’s ranking had nothing to do with the week prior. Every Tuesday (or Sunday for the final batch), the committee sat down and addressed the best teams in college football. It didn’t matter where one team was a week ago. Things are different this week.
When TCU was third, Florida State hadn’t won its conference yet; Baylor hadn’t defeated a good Kansas State team yet, etc. etc. Things hadn’t happened that affected each team’s resume. The reason people were upset is because this wasn’t normal. They weren’t used to rankings being so dialed in. They weren’t used to rankings making so much sense.
The college football fan was used to a poorly designed system where teams only rose and dropped based off an almost arbitrary preseason listing. Any change would be a shock. It appears it will take more than one season to realize the change was actually beneficial.