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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Selection committee gets College Football Playoff right while kids from Kalamazoo headline final week

Alabama+celebrates+a+54-16+win+against+Florida+in+the+Southeastern+Conference+championship+game+at+the+Georgia+Dome+in+Atlanta+on+Saturday%2C+Dec.+3%2C+2016.+%28Hyosub+Shin%2FAtlanta+Journal-Constitution%2FTNS%29
Hyosub Shin
Alabama celebrates a 54-16 win against Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

There was plenty of debate when the selection committee announced this year’s College Football Playoff field on Sunday. No. 4 Washington will take its shot at No. 1 Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, while No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State do battle in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl—all with a trip to the national championship on the line.

The committee got it right

The four teams selected to appear in this year’s playoff have been the top teams in college football all year. In a season that was filled with many competitive teams, the four playoff contenders have more than earned their stake in the playoff.

Alabama has been the best team in college football over the past two seasons. The Crimson Tide were the top ranked team from start to finish this season and rarely showed signs of slowing down or putting that No.1 ranking in question.

Led by a championship caliber defense and electric freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, head coach Nick Saban’s Tide seem primed to make yet another appearance in a title game. If Alabama can win the championship, it would be Saban’s sixth and Alabama’s 17th.

ACC champion Clemson returns to college football’s biggest stage for the second straight year, searching for revenge after coming up short in last year’s title game. Though head coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers haven’t looked as dominate as last year, they are still one of the best teams in college football and may get another shot at the Crimson Tide.

Ohio State has become the odd team out in the top four. The Buckeyes finished the season with one loss, though unlike their playoff opponents, the Big Ten powerhouse failed to win their conference title.

This no doubt drives people mad, considering a conference championship is among the four points of criteria the committee looks at when determining playoff teams. But it should be noted Ohio State’s lone defeat came at the hands of the Big Ten champion, Penn State.

No college football fan, analyst, or coach can deny the fact that Ohio State has proven itself as not just a playoff-worthy team, but as one of college football’s best teams.

Wins over Michigan, Wisconsin and Oklahoma topped with the No.1 ranked strength of schedule gave Ohio State the edge over Penn State and Michigan for a seat in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes have more than earned their place in the top four, regardless of not having a conference title.

Probably the most unexpected playoff team and one of the biggest surprises of the year hails from the Evergreen state. The Washington Huskies have taken this season by storm and now find themselves competing in the program’s first ever playoff, looking to capture a national title for the first time since 1991.

College football’s new kids on the block will face their toughest test to date in a semifinal game against the undefeated Crimson Tide. Don’t write the underdogs off just yet, as they sport an outstanding offense and defense that will give everything they have to dethrone Alabama.

The Broncos go bowling

The Western Michigan football team reached new heights in 2016. The Broncos finished undefeated and booked a ticket to the biggest game in school history, a Cotton Bowl matchup against Wisconsin.

By earning a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl via being the highest ranked Group of Five team. Western Michigan’s season has been one of the best college football feel-good stories in a long time.

Players such as running back Jarvion Franklin—who may be the best running back you’ve never heard of—and quarterback Zach Terrell have catapulted the team to a prominent bowl bid. Both Franklin and Terrell have contributed greatly to an offense that averages 43.5 points per game and ranks eighth in the country.

Facing Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl will be no easy task, but Western Michigan has talent on both sides of the ball and is led by an outstanding head coach in P.J. Fleck, a rumored coaching candidate for the Oregon Ducks.

Hoping for the best

Despite ESPN’s many attempts to create a New Year’s Eve and day unlike any we have ever seen, the Disney-owned company failed miserably as the New Year’s Six bowl games resulted in blowouts.

Multiple factors played into last year’s disappointing bowl season, the main one being that both semifinal playoff games were played late on New Year’s Eve—arguably one of the busiest days for restaurants, bars and people in general. The poor scheduling wasn’t helped by the fact the combined margin of victory in both playoff games was 58 points.

The fallout continued the next day as the remaining New Year’s Six bowls followed the same pattern as the combined margin of victory from the Rose, Sugar and Fiesta Bowls was 73 points.

The playoff semifinals will be played on New Year’s Eve again this season despite large outcry to move the games to the following day. It should also be noted that no bowl games will be played on New Year’s Day. Instead, the remaining New Year’s Six bowls will be played on Monday, Jan. 2.


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