Yesterday was Conference Championship Saturday in College Football. At noon today, the 39 game Bowl barrage will be unveiled. This will include the four top teams that will play off to the National Championship.
What is intriguing about this year’s annual hand picking, is the fate of the University of Alabama. Despite their loss to Auburn in last week’s Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide was placed in the number five spot in the polls. Of course the number five placing gives them a chance to enter the top four, and of course, a spot in the National Semi-Finals.
The University of Georgia celebrates winning the SEC Championship.
Coming into yesterday’s championship fest, Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin occupied the top four spots in the polls. All four teams played for conference championships, with Alabama’s loss last week the Tide was idle yesterday. Auburn lost the SEC Championship Game to Georgia (who sat at 6 in the polls) 28-7.
Now I have a question for the pollsters. How is it that Alabama is sitting on the outside looking in without winning a conference division? (6) Georgia, (7) Miami, and (8) Ohio State all began the day behind Alabama. All three of these schools were division winners and were in action yesterday. So how does Alabama get the “on deck spot,” if you will, to the National Semi-Finals when there are three other schools that actually played for conference titles?
Ohio State University celebrates after defeating Wisconsin for the Big 10 Championship.
Auburn, Wisconsin, and Miami all lost yesterday. Miami is no longer a factor and Clemson will hold on to the number one seed in the CFB Championship, following the Tigers 38-3 win over the Canes in the ACC Championship Game. Wisconsin should also drop out of the playoff picture after losing to Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship Game.
Here’s where things get dicey, Auburn’s loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game should drop them out of the field. Common logic tells me that Georgia, by virtue of winning the SEC championship should replace Auburn in the top four. The same logic would hold true with Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Top ranked Clemson celebrates after defeating the University of Miami in the ACC Championship Game.
The University of Oklahoma began the day ranked third in the polls and took care of business in their conference championship game. The Sooners 41-17 drubbing of TCU in the Big XII Championship game should cement their spot as the second seed.
Now back to common logic. Clemson and Oklahoma are slam dunks at 1 and 2. Given the fact that sixth ranked Georgia beat second ranked Auburn, wouldn’t the Bulldogs have a spot in the top four? Given the fact that the eighth ranked Buckeyes defeated fourth ranked Wisconsin, wouldn’t the same fate hold true for them? There is a fly in this ointment, however, Alabama, who didn’t fit anywhere in this conference championship scenario, began the day at number five. Does the Crimson Tide creep into the hand-picked field? Is this what the pollsters put into motion last week? How does a team that finished second in their conference division trump one of two conference champions?
University of Oklahoma celebrates after winning the Big XII Championship Game.
In this writer’s opinion, Nick Saban and Company seems to be the ambassadors for the pollsters and the NCAA’s sponsors. The Tide has a national following and is apparently a good draw in the ratings. Why should something like Ohio State and Georgia actually winning major conference championships stand in their way?
A pretty big local story unfolded in Boca Raton, Florida yesterday. The up and coming Owls of Florida Atlantic University hosted the Conference USA Championship Game. Not only did they host it, the Owls defeated the Mean Green of North Texas 41-17. FAU’s victory was the program’s biggest to date. The Owls victory in the Conference USA Championship Game was extra special for me and my family. As many of you know, my son Justin passed away this past February. What many might not know is that he was a senior at Florida Atlantic and was closing in on his Bachelor’s Degree. Robin and I received his degree posthumously this past May.
Justin was a big fan of FAU’s football program. I’ll never forget the phone call I received from him when the news broke about Lane Kiffin being hired as the programs head coach. Kiffin was Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama. Something was missing when Kiffin was doused with Gatorade in the game’s final moments. Somebody was missing, Justin was missing. I know he was celebrating somewhere when his beloved Owls were giving a celebratory dousing to the coach that he was thrilled that they hired.
I am dedicating today’s blog to Justin. The Conference USA champion Owls will be hosting someone from the American Athletic Conference (most likely the University of Central Florida who won the conference championship yesterday) in the Boca Raton Bowl on December 19th. I know Justin was celebrating somewhere last night.