The College Football Playoff committee has an unenviable job as fans and analysts second-guess and question decisions throughout the process before 13 members ultimately decide which four teams have a chance to compete for the national title.
The committee made its decision Sunday afternoon, with unbeaten Georgia and Michigan being joined by one-loss teams TCU and Ohio State. The SEC champion Bulldogs, the tournament’s top seed, are the lone to representative for the typically-dominant conference — with Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide left out of the playoff as the first runner-up.
College Football Playoff committee chairman Boo Corrigan, the athletic director at North Carolina State, was asked following the reveal why the the Buckeyes were given the nod ahead of the Crimson Tide. Corrigan, as many others did leading up to the announcement, hinted how a few lackluster wins by 11-2 Alabama played a role in the decision.
“I think you have to look at the big wins as well, as part of this,” Corrigan said during ESPN’s “College Football Selection Show” on Sunday afternoon. “The win that Ohio State has over Notre Dame (21-10), the win they have over Penn State (44-31) compare that Alabama with wins over Texas (20-19), Mississippi State (30-24), some other close games (Texas A&M, 24-20). And keep in mind that the Michigan game did get away from them (Ohio State), but it was a one-score game early in the fourth quarter. And as we looked at the total body of work that we had, the committee was comfortable with Ohio State at No. 4 and Alabama at No. 5.”
The Horned Frogs, who lost in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, rank No. 3 ahead of Ohio State. The standings prevent a semifinal-round rematch between Michigan and Ohio State, though Corrigan explained how a potential Big 10 rematch didn’t play a role in the decision-making.
“Again, you’re looking at body of work,” he said on ESPN. “It really wasn’t discussed as we went into it. Our goal was to get the top four teams right and make sure that we believe that, you know, Georgia No. 1, Michigan No. 2, TCU No. 3, Ohio State No. 4 for the reasons I was just talking about with regards to TCU and Ohio State. Again, our goal was to get the right four, ultimately the right (top) 25, as we go through this and make sure we got them in the right order regardless of matchups and conferences and the rest of it.”
The College Football Playoff will begin Dec. 31 with Georgia and Michigan viewed as the betting favorites to win their respective matchups.