College Football Playoff
I know I may be in the minority, but as I tweeted out Sunday, TCU got screwed over by the playoff committee. In my opinion, Ohio State and the Big Ten should not be in the playoff. I have scouted the Big Ten for most of my career. When I started in the business in the early 1980’s the Big Ten was a powerhouse conference. But in the last five to six years, I can’t believe how bad the league has gotten. As compared to other Power-5, the Big Ten is big and slow. Top-to-bottom it is average at best.
US PRESSWIREDoes Ohio State deserve to be in the playoff?
There really are only two good teams in the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan State. As far as I’m concerned, you can have the rest. Wisconsin proved on Saturday night that they are a one-man team. Stop Melvin Gordon and Wisconsin has nothing. Their quarterbacks are so bad that any pass over five yards is an almost impossible task to complete.
Who has Wisconsin played this year? Out of conference the lost to an average LSU team, then they beat W. Illinois, South Florida and Bowling Green. Wow, that’s tough competition! In conference they lost to a 5-7 Northwestern team. Wisconsin may be ranked but they don’t deserve to be.
Who has Ohio State beaten other than Michigan State? Their out of conference schedule was nothing special. They beat Navy, Cincinnati and Kent State then lost at home to Virginia Tech. If I can read correctly, Virginian Tech finished the season at 6-6. Put Ohio State in the SEC West and they may be a .500 team!
When the committee made their final choices they went on tradition and politics, not who the best teams are. When you look at the makeup of the committee, you will see a Big Ten AD and a former Big Ten AD. Do you think they had a bit of a bias? They looked at an Ohio State-Alabama matchup being better for television than Alabama playing TCU. Personally, I think they are wrong as Ohio State won’t come within three touchdowns of Alabama. Like I said earlier. For the greater part of my scouting career, I had the Big Ten area as my main scouting area, so I know the league. Right now watching the Big Ten is like going to a horse race between the Budweiser Clydesdales, not top Thoroughbreds.
I understand that the Big 12 did not have a conference championship game (they can’t with it being a 10 team league), and they also don’t play the toughest out-of-conference schedule. But I also KNOW that the athletes on both TCU and Baylor are far superior then those on any Big Ten team.
The purpose of the committee was to get the right four teams in the playoff. Politics and TV ratings aren’t supposed to influence the decisions. If the Committee can’t get it right, why have the Committee?
After last night’s thrilling 43 – 37 Green Bay win over Atlanta, each club has three games left in the 2014 season. In the NFL, it’s not how a club starts the season, it’s how a club finishes it that counts. The best team in September generally isn’t the best team in December. The hot clubs in December and the first few rounds of the playoffs are the teams that make it to the Conference Championship and Super Bowl.
Right now, their records might not say it, but Seattle and Green Bay are the two best clubs in the NFC.
Seattle lost three out of five games early in the season and could not play with consistency. In recent weeks, they have turned things around and have won three in a row and six out of their last seven. That is getting hot at the right time.
The Seattle defense is playing like it did down the stretch last year, and you need to look no further than their 24 – 14 win at Philadelphia Sunday to see that. Arizona, which for a good part of the season looked like the best team, is struggling some right now. The loss of quarterback Carson Palmer may be too much to overcome. They have lost two out of their last three games and every game for the last month has been close. Injuries to key players have hurt this club as much as any team in the league. While the Cardinals still should make the playoffs, they need to turn their performance around if they want to get past one game.
Green Bay is playing outstanding football. They have won five in a row and are averaging 40 points per game during that stretch. Included in those five wins are victories over New England and Philadelphia, two of the best teams in the NFL. The Packers very easily could win their final three games, and if that happens, they will most likely have home field advantage in the playoffs. With the way the Pack have played at Lambeau Field this year, home field advantage could be their ticket to the Super Bowl.
In the NFC East, Philly entertains Dallas next Sunday night. The winner of that game will most likely win the NFC East.
Though New England and Denver are tied with the best overall records at 10-3, New England is the better club right now. The Patriots have won eight of their last nine games and Tom Brady looks as good as ever. The mark of a Bill Belichick team has always been good defense and the Patriots' defense is playing very well right now.
I feel Denver has looked sloppy in recent weeks and Peyton Manning has lost zip on his throws. In Sunday’s home win over Buffalo, Manning did not throw a touchdown pass and threw two interceptions. I don’t think he threw a tight ball the entire game and his deep balls looked weak. This could be cause for concern down the stretch.
Looking at the rest of the AFC, I don’t see another team that could challenge New England for the Conference Championship. The AFC North clubs are busy beating each other, and no team wants to jump up and take the title. In the AFC South, Indianapolis may have a 9-4 record, but they don’t look very good. Unless some team can really turn it up in the next three weeks, the AFC race is over.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe