There came a point last night, when I knew that neither TCU nor Baylor were getting into the playoff. TCU lost the head-to-head, had played better than the Bears post their early October matchup, and have a potential Heisman finalist on their team. Baylor, while they won the head-to-head, played slightly worse--this is subjective of course--than TCU, and had a dreadful non-conference schedule.
The committee had been sending messages about the above all the season--but it's no longer about TCU or Baylor. It's about how well Ohio State played with a third-string quarterback. Nevertheless, here we are, down three spots not even a week later. Where do we go from here? Does the Big 12 expand? Does it simply implement a Conference Championship game? Or is the playoff better off with 8 teams?
Marsh: We had to see this coming, right?
Melissa: Sadly, yes. I thought that the committee moving us up to three solved the Baylor debate - there was little to nothing the Bears could do to pass the Frogs at that juncture. But Ohio State looming at five, with a conference championship game against a top 15 team, scared the heck out of me. Someone needed to lose, or the Buckeyes needed to barely squeak by and Cardale Jones had to play like a third string QB. 59 points later... we drop three spots.
Marsh: What is this really about though? Florida State isn't one of the four best, that's pretty much unanimous thinking. But they are deserving...I guess? My question is, what's really going on here--in your mind?
Melissa: They played the least awful non-conference schedule out of the top teams, and didn't lose a game. No matter the system, wins trump all (if you're from a P5 conference at least). The blowback of leaving an undefeated team out of the playoffs would have been louder than even if TCU had gotten in over Baylor, and the committee must have decided that wasn't worth it.
Marsh: Say we had two losses and last night's Kansas State-Baylor game was the defacto Championship. Does Baylor get in with a win and a clear title?
Melissa: If OSU hadn't wiped the floor with Wisconsin, I think Baylor is in with a two loss TCU or TCU would have been in had Baylor lost. But after that performance in the Big 10 Championship? All bets were off. The big school, with the big name, and the big fan base, is going to win out over the tiny little private schools from the conference without a championship game every single time. Now, had this been OU and Texas as opposed to TCU and Baylor? Maybe it's a different result. OSU has inarguably the worst loss of anyone in the top ten, but one additional good win apparently means more than one inexcusable loss. At home. To a crud team.
Marsh: Had they lost Baylor would be in, and we'd still be out. Then all the complaints of the Big 12 and their process would be pretty much silenced. Does the Big 12 need change? What would it be?
Melissa: The Big 12 has to expand - but that will weaken the conference because the expansion options will be second tier teams. Adding a championship game with ten teams is stupid and won't solve the problem. But so is this tie scenario. Go get whoever you can - hopefully BYU and someone else like Cincy, or rewrite the bylaws to require a P5 preseason opponent, eliminate the FBS opponents, and hope for the best.
Marsh: We will hold onto to SMU, but should we do everything we can to ditch SFA? Maybe get Tennessee or Washington?
Melissa: Let me ask you this - would a win against Washington or Tennessee as opposed to Samford or SMU have made a difference this year for our playoff chances? Neither of those teams are very good, and the Minnesota argument only carried us so far - and they were good. I think OSU would still have passed us, all things remaining the same. So it's hard to say. Expansion would make more of a difference than another P5 opponent, but I am all for adding those guys in the future because it's better for football in general. OSU shows you can have a terrible loss against a P5 team (even an awful one!) and overcome it if you get an additional decent win late. So I guess the answer is yeah, let's go get them before Baylor does.
Marsh: I can see why Baylor's pissed off. And I see why Art Briles is too. The Bears are losing their quarterback, and TCU's--very likely--keeping theirs. Because of that, TCU will be the better team on paper next year. Texas will be better, Tech will be better, Oklahoma should be better, etc, etc. I feel like this is Baylor's best shot for the next three-ish years, thus why Briles went full Briles. Considering they've won two (one shared) Big 12 Championships in a row, did Baylor get more screwed?
Melissa: With the caveat that they too voted on these bylaws, yeah they got screwed. But they know the rules and the whining about them after the fact makes them look really stupid, frankly. I stand by my assumption that all that Briles putting the Big 12 and the committee on blast did was ensure that an OSU win knocked the Big 12 completely out. You can't complain when something you helped decide ends up working against you, just like you can't blame TCU for taking advantage of it for their benefit (at least for a while), either. It sucks, but the Big 12 made their bed, and now we are all laying in it.
Marsh: Would Boykin going to New York help this pain at all?
Melissa: I mean... it's totally separate things to me. Boykin's accomplishment is one of the ultimate in individual achievements, and he will be an exceptional ambassador for TCU as he makes the awards show rounds. I couldn't be prouder of a kid that has clearly worked his tail off to put himself in this position - with a big assist from a couple of excellent coaches and a deep core of receivers. I don't know that it erases the feeling I had this morning, but it should undoubtably be celebrated b the fans and the program, and he will bring a ton of positive publicity to TCU as a whole. And the best part? He will likely be back.
Marsh: For you, why does TCU deserve to be in the playoff?
Melissa: No one in college football had a tougher midseason stretch than the Frogs, and they came out of it with just a single blemish, and a very controversial one at that. It's arguable that no defense is playing better than TCU's right now (OSU had a great performance yesterday, but wasn't great in the weeks leading up to it). The Frogs have a Heisman candidate at QB, as deep a receiving core as anybody, are excellently coached, and I don't think there are many people that don't believe they are one of the best four teams in the country today - money and politics aside.
Marsh: Peach Bowl was just announced. Go--
Melissa: This is the best case scenario for a backup plan. Having the opportunity to play a good SEC West team in a great bowl salves my pain a little. I think Atlanta on NYE will be a ton of fun - we will turn that town purple for sure. The matchup of two aggressive defenses, and two really good QBs will be outstanding. I can't wait to see how we game plan against Dr Bo and company. Plus, it's kind of ironic - a team we rooted against in the College World Series, rooted for during Rivalry Weekend, now becomes the one we get to try and prove a point against. This is the best thing that could have happened after we knew we weren't in the Final Four, and I think GP and co will have the boys fired up for this one.