It’s not that they’re not in. It’s more the way they were left out.
The College Football Playoff selection committee revealed its first four-team bracket on Sunday and very conspicuous excluded the Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University.
Despite putting together one of the best seasons in school history, TCU looks in from the outside. The Frogs went 11-1 to earn a share of the Big 12 championship, a league with no conference title game. TCU was not even on the radar in the preseason, yet Gary Patterson led this entertaining bunch to a super season. TCU has followed through with its commitment to defense and made adjustments to their offensive attack that would catapult them right there next to the big boys.
A week ago the brain trust that ranks college football teams, not only put TCU in the top four but they gave them the three slot, ahead of undefeated defending national champion Florida State. TCU took that ranking into their final regular season game against lowly Iowa State and finished business soundly. The Frogs ripped the Cyclones 55-3 for a strong closing argument that they indeed deserve the lofty ranking bestowed upon them. But a funny thing happened on the way to the national championship.
Yesterday the committee unveiled the final Final Four around lunchtime and the announcement made many in the Lone Star State lose their appetites. Not only did Texas Christian drop from the three hole, they fell all the way to number six. A sensational season ends in bitter disappointment all because of a popularity contest. All season we’ve heard Baylor, the only team to beat TCU this year, say things should be decided on the field. Neither the Bears nor the Horned Frogs will get that chance in the end.
The new 13-member selection group has decided to go with Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. All are worthy for sure. The Buckeyes have persevered, winning all season with their second-string quarterback and then blasting Wisconsin with their third-string signal caller. FSU is the defending national champion and the only undefeated team, case closed. The high-flying Ducks, piloted by the probable Heisman winner, can put up points with anyone. And Alabama is well, Alabama. You can’t knock these choices. Again, it’s not that TCU isn’t there per se, but how the committee excruciatingly bid adieu.
This was supposed to be the year college football got it right. Gone are the computers and here are the cerebral thinkers who will give us the best four teams for an unprecedented, overdue two playoff game system for the title. Arguably they got the teams right. But why did they take this path? It appears the committee not only dumped the BCS, but their GPS along the way also.
Help me out. If TCU was number three in the nation and they win their final game by 52 points, how in the world could they be number six less than 24-hours later? It’s fuzzy math. I get it, Ohio State throttled the Badgers, Baylor won, the Seminoles squeaked by yet again, etc., etc. But that’s of no fault of TCU. Putting the final four and the Bears in front of TCU can certainly be justified, but then there’s no way the Frogs should’ve been elevated to three the week before. If the mighty, great selectors really thought TCU was the third best team in the nation, they would’ve kept them there.
The real shame of not having TCU in the mix is the fact that this group plays the game in a way that should be showcased. The attention to detail from Patterson and his staff is second to none. In their blowout win Saturday, TCU featured a trick play that demonstrates the team’s poise and attention to detail in microcosm. Junior quarterback Trevone Boykin threw left to wide out David Porter, who drew most of the defense to his side. Porter then tossed back to Boykin, who followed a convoy of blockers down the field for a score. The entire offensive line set up in front of the ball carrier, who took it all the way to the house. Each lineman had his splits, perfectly spaced from his teammate. It was a thing of beauty. This is what TCU does.
TCU plays the game not only with style but with class as well. Up 55-3 late in the game with a chance to score again, TCU elected to kneel it on fourth down in the red zone with better than four minutes to go. This, in a day and age when running up the score is not only not scrutinized, but deemed necessary, Patterson called off the dogs. Would 62 points have been enough? Shame on the committee if this was held against TCU.
So, the final four and the bowl picture is all set. While a quartet of powerhouse football schools will vie for the crown, TCU will settle for a Peach Bowl match-up with Mississippi.
Gary Patterson was extremely gracious after the final-four snub. The coach contends his squad controlled their own destiny all along and if they went undefeated they would’ve been there. That’s exactly why it’s too bad we won’t see TCU play for it all.
The NHL, NBA, and MLB decide things without the help of judges. High school football, D-II , D-III, and the NFL follow suit. Major college football, though, still does it figure skating style. You can say college hoops also leaves it up to opinion but 68 teams as opposed to four certainly leaves less chance for a debacle.
Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State all earned their way to the inaugural four-team playoff. TCU did as well. So did Baylor. They just weren’t pretty enough to some. Moving TCU down three spots after they win a game going away is cruel and unusual punishment.
Good riddance to the BCS and its computers. There’s a whole new flawed system run by real live people for us to complain about.