The College Football Playoff is Rigged
*Editor’s note: This blog, which alleges bias against the CFP Committee, was written with extreme bias of its own and does not attempt to be impartial in the slightest. Furthermore, the only rankings that matter are the final rankings.
The College Football Playoff is a joke. It is rigged. And the committee proved it with their newest rankings released Tuesday night.
The College Football Playoff (CFP) selects the top four teams every year to an invitational tournament to determine an NCAA champion for FBS football. The problem is the CFP is not a playoff. It’s a Power 5 invitational. There is simply too much name-brand and money involved with the Power 5. The committee refuses to respect the non-Power 5, and the bias makes it impossible for an outside team to have a chance at the exclusive invitational.
For the second week in a row, undefeated 8-0 Cincinnati dropped a spot Tuesday night. They are ranked 9th, behind 2-loss Iowa State, Florida, and Georgia.
2-loss Florida lost this past week at home to a bad unranked 4-5 LSU team. They shouldn’t even be in the conversation. The committee ranked them 7th.
2-loss Georgia lost two games by a combined 33 points, and they haven’t beaten a single ranked top-25 team. CFP Committee chair Gary Barta said Cincinnati dropped because “they don’t have a win against a top-25 team.” Well, neither has Georgia. And guess who Florida beat for their only top 25 win. Georgia.
Then Barta said, “In the Central Florida game [Cincinnati] struggled, if you remember or recall. They were behind, I think, in the third or fourth quarter and had to come back.” It is very interesting that trailing a 6-3 UCF team on the road is such a bad thing for the committee. Somehow, it’s not a problem that Georgia was tied with 2-7 Mississippi St with less than 10 minutes left at home. It’s not a problem that 6th ranked Iowa State was trailing by 14 to 2-7 Baylor in the second half. Cincinnati won the Central Florida game easily and could have won by double digits if they didn’t decide to run time off at the end of the game.
Now, let’s look at 2-loss Iowa State. They lost to 9-1 Louisiana-Lafayette and 7-3 Oklahoma State. Louisiana of the Sun Belt, not a Power 5 conference, beat Iowa State by 17 at Iowa State. Louisiana is ranked 19th with their only loss coming to undefeated 12th ranked Coastal Carolina, also from the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt played three games against the Big 12 this year. They won all three of those games. So, when Gary Barta said Iowa State jumped Cincinnati last week because “they’re in first place in their conference,” that shows the system is rigged. The Big 12 is not good. They lost all three of their non-conference games against the Sun Belt. They don’t deserve a playoff spot, especially from a two-loss team. How is it fair that Louisiana is ranked 13 spots below Iowa State?
This week, the committee said they dropped Cincinnati because they haven’t played since November 21st. Ohio State played one time since November 21st, and they have played 5 games all year. I guess they’re allowed to not play and create data points for the committee. It’s clearly all about the name-brand of Ohio State. Ohio State brings TV viewers and a lot of money.
Cincinnati gets a chance at top-25 Tulsa team this weekend. It won’t matter because the committee will quickly drop Tulsa out of the rankings if they lose. Coastal Carolina plays Louisiana again. It won’t matter. These teams were eliminated when the season began. They aren’t in the Power 5. They don’t bring the money and name-brand of the power conference schools. It’s not fair to the players, coaches, and fans of the non-power schools. They are playing for nothing.
The committee, primarily made up of Power 5 athletic directors and former players and coaches, will do anything it can to keep undeserving Power 5 teams in the conversation while eliminating non-Power 5 teams. Florida was ranked 7th this week after losing. Florida’s athletic director is one of the 13 members of the committee. The AP poll, made up of 62 sportswriters and broadcasters from around the country, is released weekly for college football. Florida was not ranked above #8 in any of the 62 ballots this week. Florida was ranked ahead of Cincinnati in 1 of 62 ballots, Georgia was ranked ahead of Cincinnati in 2 of 62 ballots, and Iowa State was ranked ahead of Cincinnati in 2 of 62 ballots. The rigged College Football Playoff committee has all three schools above Cincinnati.
It’s time for something to change. Perhaps, the invitational playoff could expand. All five Power 5 conference champions could receive an automatic bid, the highest ranked non-Power 5 champion could receive a bid, and two at-large teams. This would allow the non-Power 5 a realistic chance at competing for a championship. The non-Power 5 needs an automatic bid to any expanded playoff. If they don’t have the automatic bid, it won’t change anything. The biased committee will still find a way to keep any non-Power team out of the playoff. Even the old BCS rankings, which combined polls and computer rankings, would be better.
The Power 5 bias needs to be eliminated. In 2011, Utah initiated an antitrust lawsuit claiming the BCS was a monopoly for college football. The lawsuit sought damages for schools “that have lost out on millions of dollars over the years because the existing system keeps non-preferred conferences at a competitive disadvantage.” Well, that sounds a lot like how Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina are being left out by the College Football Playoff because they are in non-preferred conference. Back in 2012 when the case was dropped, Utah Attorney General said, “We’re very suspicious that a selection committee picking four teams is still going to be an antitrust problem.” It is now. Another antitrust lawsuit might be unlikely, but change needs to happen. It is ridiculous that the NCAA does not have a playoff system of maybe 8 or 16 teams in place for FBS football. They have given the authority of determining a champion to the College Football Playoff Administration, a Power 5 invitational.
Because it’s all about the money, a non-Power 5 school will never receive an invitation to the Playoff under the current system. Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated sums it up best, “Call the College Football Playoff what it is: of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.”