The Committee Loves Blowouts. Remember when the BCS instructed the computer rankings to take out margin of victory? Remember how they didn’t want to see teams run up the score? The Playoff Committee isn’t like that. Last year Ohio State made its best case for inclusion by blowing out Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. It seems that several teams learned that lesson.
Oklahoma understood that. They turned Bedlam into a Blowout. 58-23 makes a statement to the committee. Ohio State remembered last year’s lesson. 42-13 probably won’t get the Buckeyes in, but if there is a non-champion, they’ll be right there. Michigan State was watching too. 55-16 was an emphatic way to end the regular season. If they win next week, they’ll be in.
Nobody Believes in Iowa. The Hawkeyes have finished an undefeated season and are going to the Big Ten Championship game. If they win that game, they’ll be in the playoff. Even so, there is very little confidence in Iowa. Last week they were a one point favorite over 5-6 Nebraska. That’s it; they were a solitary point over a team who won’t be going to a bowl game.
Nonetheless, Iowa beat Nebraska. Nebraska beat Michigan State earlier in the year, so Iowa will be a favorite over Michigan State, right? Nope, the Hawkeyes are about a 4 point underdog. Nobody believes in them and probably won’t, but as long as they keep winning, who cares?
Pac-12: Now Ruining Everyone’s Playoff Hopes: The Pac-12 spent the regular season beating up on each other and making sure they don’t have a viable playoff candidate among them. On the last day of the season, they decided to eliminate another team from outside the conference. Stanford beat Notre Dame to knock the Irish out of the playoff. Teams would be wise to stay away from the Pac-12.
Florida’s Luck Ran Out. The Gators weren’t supposed to be this good this fast. Jim McElwain looks like the SEC coach of the year, but everyone knew the Gators weren’t quite as good as their 10-1 record suggested. They were due to have a game where they missed Will Grier so much it hurt. They were due to have their offense retreat back to the Muschamp days. They had that day on Saturday in their 27-2 loss to FSU.
That isn’t to take anything away from FSU, who got its best win of the season, and it isn’t to denigrate Florida, who has had a wonderful year. However, at some point there must be some regression to the mean. At some point the flaws a team has will be revealed. It looked like that might wait until next week against Alabama, but the good breaks wore off a week early.
North Carolina is more of a mystery. North Carolina lost the season opening game to South Carolina, and we all knew UNC wasn’t going to be that good. Then they won a lot of games and looked better. Then their offense started blowing people out and they looked very good. On Saturday they held a four touchdown lead and allowed NC State to get back in the game. A week before the ACC championship game against another Palmetto state team the Tar Heels looked a little off. Who knows what UNC team will show up next week.
The ACC had a good day. Traditionally the SEC and ACC have four games against each other on rivalry Saturday. This year they did, and the ACC won 3 of 4. Georgia Tech lost to Georgia. That was expected. Clemson beat South Carolina. That, too, was expected. Then Louisville beat Kentucky, and FSU smashed Florida. Those weren’t as expected. It looks like the SEC East has fallen as far as some of us think.
Tennessee inches forward. In the off season Steve Spurrier how excited they were in Knoxville over a 7-6 finish to last season. It was a jab, but it was true. The Vols finished with a bowl win and a winning record, improving on the season before. It wasn’t where they wanted to be, but they were moving forward. Now, they moved forward again. Butch Jones and Tennessee finished the season 8-4 with a bowl game upcoming. They finished the season winning their last five. If they manage to win their bowl game, there will be a lot of hype surrounding this team next year. We still don’t know if they will deserve it.