Posted on December 3, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When the different conference championships started to kickoff Saturday afternoon, the members of the CFB Playoffs Committee were probably hoping the results would make their job easy. Had Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin each won it would have been easy to pick the Final Four.
But our world isn’t perfect.
Clemson and Oklahoma did their respective parts with dominant performances over Miami and TCU. The game was so well in hand for the Tigers that they sat quarterback Kelly Bryant for the fourth quarter and let freshmen Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson play (final score—38-3, Clemson).
TCU put up a better fight than Miami. But the Horned Frogs were no match for Baker Mayfield (15-23 for 243 yards and four touchdowns) and Rodney Anderson (24 carries for 93 yards). After a 17-point second quarter, TCU was only down 24-17 at the half. But TCU didn’t score again, and Oklahoma won 41-17.
Auburn had its shot at making history by becoming the first two-loss team to make the CFB Playoffs. But, instead, Georgia exacted a little revenge and dominated the Tigers 28-7. Last time they played Auburn, their defense and the run game failed them. But this time, the Georgia defense held Auburn to 114 yards on the ground while the Bulldogs run good tallied 238 yards.
It certainly helped that Jake Fromm looked like a seasoned veteran completing 16 of 22 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
Wisconsin had a chance to prove they belonged with a win over a very tough Ohio State team. To win, the Badgers had to get their running game on track and keep J.T. Barrett off the field. The Wisconsin defense did do a good job of limiting Barrett (12-26 for 211 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions; 19 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown).
But the Buckeyes defense did a better job against Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor (15 carries for 41 yards). Alex Hornibrook is a good quarterback, but not good enough to win the game for you (19-40 for 221 yards and two interceptions). The Badgers had a chance late in the game to win, but the offense stalled at midfield. Hornibrook’s second interception and the Badgers third turnover sealed the win for Ohio State.
Who’s in and who’s out
With No. 2 Auburn and No. 4 Wisconsin losing, the CFB Playoffs Committee had their work cut out for them deciding who deserved to move up. Do they allow No. 6 Georgia to jump an idle No. 5 Alabama? What about Ohio State? Does winning the Big Ten make it possible for their two losses to be overlooked? Should they jump Alabama and move into the top four?
Or maybe Auburn should only slide down to No. 4, Clemson goes to No. 1, Oklahoma to No. 2, and Georgia to No. 3?
As it turns out, the Committee didn’t hold not playing in the SEC Championship against Alabama. But it did hold getting dominated by Iowa against Ohio State.
“As we saw Alabama play week in and week in out, the selection committee believed Alabama was the better football team,” CFP committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said (ESPN). “When we looked at Ohio State, when you looked at their résumé it was impressive, but it wasn’t enough for the selection committee to place them in above Alabama.”
The media will debate the Final Four until something more compelling happens. But as of Sunday afternoon, the top four college football teams in the country are:
Ohio State moved up to No. 5, Wisconsin dropped down to No. 6, and Auburn fell to No. 7.
Fans will get to see a rematch of last year’s national championship game with Clemson and Alabama playing in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma will face off against Georgia in the Rose Bowl.