This is our second season of the College Football Playoff on MNC Wednesday, and again we see the challenge with taking the existing results and applying our usual criteria. But the CFP is still better than the Bowl Championship Series was, for many reasons. Expanded access is never a bad thing.
On with the college football roadshow for this week!
The 2015 MNC: The CFP would rather be lucky than accurate, especially with cash on the line
Here is the Associated Press Top 10, including final record with key bowl results:
1. Alabama (14-1): Won CFP Bowl, 45-40
2. Clemson (14-1): Lost CFP Bowl, 40-45
3. Stanford (12-2): Won Rose Bowl, 45-16
4. Ohio State (12-1): Won Fiesta Bowl, 44-28
5. Oklahoma (11-2): Lost Orange Bowl, 37-17
6. Michigan State (12-2): Lost Cotton Bowl, 0-38
7. TCU (11-2): Won Alamo Bowl, 47-41
8. Houston (13-1): Won Peach Bowl, 38-24
9. Iowa (12-2): Lost Rose Bowl, 16-45
10. Mississippi (10-3): Won Sugar Bowl, 48-20
The Crimson Tide won the SEC and the two CFP games it played to be our first team to move on to the final round of analysis here. The Cardinal won the Pac-12 and the Rose Bowl, despite being left out of the CFP in favor of the Sooners. So, Stanford advances, but the Buckeyes didn’t win the B1G, as they lost to the Spartans. The Horned Frogs did not win the Big XII, as the Sooners earned that honor.
The Cougars won the American Conference, so they move on, as well. Any other teams we’re missing? Appalachian State finished 11-2 with a bowl win, and Western Kentucky finished 12-2 with a bowl win, as well. Both were conference champions, too, but the respective SOS ratings are a joke (124th out of 128 for Appy State, and 98th for Western Kentucky), so we can leave them with a hearty pat on the back.
So that is that, however, and it leaves us with just 3 teams to scrutinize more closely this time out. These are the respective SOS ratings for our “top” teams, after applying the analyses above:
- Alabama: 14 Division I-A opponents, 7.46 SOS rating, 1st of 128
- Stanford: 14 Division I-A opponents, 5.17 SOS rating, 11th
- Houston: 13 Division I-A opponents, -3.04 SOS rating, 90th
Two things stand out to us here, and maybe three: First, Houston didn’t belong in this comparison, and second, Alabama will be winning the MNC, clearly. However, an injustice was done to Stanford in being bypassed for the CFP in favor of Oklahoma (SOS 25th). Michigan State’s SOS (5th) warranted at least the No. 3 seed, and the Cardinal should have been given the final spot over the Sooners.
We all know the BCS and the CFP have been driven by revenue: Stanford fans don’t travel well, because they have better things to do. Oklahoma fans travel well, because they have nothing better to do. That is probably what sealed this continued bias against the Best Coast schools we saw repeatedly throughout the BCS.
Maybe Stanford in the CFP could have changed things; maybe it would not have. This is that familiar case of the CFP getting it right even while getting it wrong. It is what it is, though, and we’re confident that the Crimson Tide deserve this title: But again, it’s only the third one we have granted to Alabama over this entire analyses (along with 1965 and 2009).
Congratulations to the 2015 Alabama Crimson Tide, the mythical national champion!