TCU head coach Gary Patterson spoke with a small group of reporters on Thursday, and it’s pretty clear that he’s still a little miffed about being left out of the first college football playoff.
“I was told why we had a committee was we were going to take all that stuff out of it. I remember talking about the championship games and they shouldn’t have mattered,” Patterson was quoted by the Dallas Morning News. “Their job was to watch all this film and pick the top four teams no matter where you played and what you did. And then, all of a sudden in the end it got down to they played a championship game and we didn’t. That’s not what we were told. We were told they would pick the four best teams.”
“You can ask [Iowa State coach] Paul Rhoads. We were on the field before the ballgame and he said he hopes if we ended up winning for us to have good luck. I told him, ‘Paul, we weren’t going to the playoffs.’ We were the first team playing on that Saturday and haven’t seen anybody else and I told him we weren’t going to the playoffs. I’m pretty good at gut feelings and I watched all the articles going through the week. I actually thought it was the kiss of death when we got moved to third.”
Patterson has a point. Of the six teams in the running, TCU had perhaps the strongest argument to be number one (let alone fourth). The horned Frogs had the ‘best’ loss to fifth-ranked Baylor. It’s similar to the argument that led voters to put Alabama into the National Championship game over Oklahoma State in 2011.
“There was that motto out there, if we would have been an Oklahoma and Texas with a larger fan base and sold more T-shirts, that we would have been in the playoffs,” Patterson said via CBS Sports. “I think we gained more possibly by not being in the playoffs — and how we handled it — than by being in the playoffs.”
Truth be told, I’m not sure I can say Ohio State didn’t get in because of the logo on the helmet. How in the world did the school in the weakest conference (according to ESPN), and with the worst loss of all six teams, get in the playoff above TCU (or Baylor for that matter)? Because they manhandled Wisconsin?
If you head over to the College Football Playoff Overview, the very first thing mentioned is “Every Game Counts”. Maybe, in light of how things turned out, that statement needs to be amended. ‘Every Game Counts Unless You Play Virginia Tech’, or ‘Every Game Counts, But The Last Game Counts More’.
Why was Alabama ranked 1st? Simple. They’re Alabama. When you think about it though, there wasn’t a huge difference between Alabama and TCU on paper. Alabama had the second best loss of the six teams, and according to ESPN’s conference power rankings, played in the toughest conference. TCU on the other hand, played in the second toughest conference, and as I stated above, had the best loss. Is that really the difference between first and fifth, or did reputation have something to do with it?
Ohio State went on to win the National Championship, so obviously the College Football Selection Committee got it right… right? Wrong. Ohio State was in the conversation because they were clearly a great team, but the Buckeyes winning it all shouldn’t bail out the selection committee. As long as there are five power conferences and only four playoff spots (let alone a Boise State trying to get into the mix) there’s going to be controversy. It’s unavoidable, so we have to be able to trust the system.
“Here’s the thing, what I found the one consistent is that it will never always be fair,” Patterson said. “No matter what we’ve called it during my 33 years of college football coaching, whether we had the BCS or the coaches’ poll, whatever they had, somebody has felt like they got screwed. That will go on.”
It’s a little bit of an easier pill to swallow if you can point to a specific criteria and say ‘this is why’. However, if the selection committee is just making it up as they go, and there’s no rhyme or reason to their decision, then we have to condemn the process. How is this any better than the BCS? If it was a clear-cut these four teams belong we wouldn’t need the selection committee. Their unexplained differences in week to week rankings drew criticism from around the nation. Despite that though, the committee announced earlier this month that it will be business as usual in 2015.
“You can’t say that the reason [the committee] moved us to third was because body of work they saw on film,” Patterson said. “Now they became a head coach. …
“You can’t say it was the body of work, then … we beat somebody 55-3 and dropped from three to six. That means you studied everybody in the country and the body of work moved us to three. But we won 55-3. The other people’s body of work moved so much that they moved everybody up — and us down — in five days.”
Ironically, the Big 12 being left out in 2011 led to the College Football Playoff, which led to the Big 12 getting shafted in 2014. Much better. Can we really trust the process to be any better this season?
– Cover Photo Credit: College Football Playoff Trophy | AP | Tony Gutierrez