OK, so Alabama and Oregon are obvious for the college football playoff foursome.
FSU gets my vote - as much as I'd enjoy the schadenfreude - because I can't fathom an unbeaten defending national champ not making the playoff field. That's three.
That fourth spot -- the one that's going to get decimated by Alabama -- should not be Ohio State.
The Big Ten was a farce this season, and Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech, barely a bowl team. It's the worst loss among playoff contender resumes.
So it's down to TCU and Baylor, which is nearly impossible.
TCU has a slightly better overall resume; Baylor beat TCU head to head.
Here's where I net out, and I'll admit it's simplistic: What's the point, if the tiebreaker for extremely similar resumes isn't "Well, who won when they played each other?"
I know Baylor has engaged a PR firm -- to much derision -- to help lobby their case. That was a waste of money. I think it's a very simple message: "We played a playoff game with TCU and won."
(And I know I am clearly not discounting nearly enough that Baylor beat TCU in Waco, not in Fort Worth or on a neutral field. This wasn't a true playoff between the teams, like we got with Alabama-Mizzou, Oregon-Arizona, Ohio State-Wisconsin or FSU-Georgia Tech. TCU, of course, should simply sit tight with "You're right, Committee: Resume matters.")
Foursome I'd pick:
But if the committee goes with TCU over Baylor, I won't be outraged. (Personally, I'd rather see TCU play Alabama or Oregon than see Baylor play Alabama or Oregon.)
I will be slightly more outraged if the committee decides to sidestep "TCU vs. Baylor" entirely and goes with Ohio State. That's just a cop-out, because OSU's resume is so flimsy.
And if they keep TCU and take Ohio State over FSU, I will merely chuckle at the inanity of it all. Ohio State fans in 2002 sure had no problem with "close wins in games they probably should've lost."
Foursome I think WILL be picked:
*I think the committee will punish Baylor for its seemingly soft strength of schedule (nevermind that Ohio State's CONFERENCE schedule was a joke).
*I can't see a scenario where they drop TCU from 3 to "out" after TCU destroyed a team they needed to destroy.
*I can't see a scenario where the committee excludes an unbeaten defending national champ for a team from a mediocre conference with a really ugly loss on their resume. (But it could happen!)
A few takeaways:
*This is still way better than a "clean" two-team decision that would have left us with Alabama and Oregon and not even a nominal discussion about the others. (Except maybe regional outrage about snubbing an unbeaten defending champ.)
*The problem with the "four team" solution isn't the argument at the margin; it's the way it basically locks in at the top. Here's what I mean:
If you give Alabama and Oregon and even Urban's Ohio State (in a Big Ten year that isn't beyond mediocre) an annual mulligan for that one fluky loss -- rather than having that fluky loss seemingly derail their title chances -- that will be three of your four playoff teams almost every year, short of FSU going unbeaten and crashing the party (which is unlikely in non-Jameis years). The worry is less about "Who gets snubbed?" than creating an enduring (and boring) three-team playoff oligopoly of Alabama-Oregon-Ohio State, thanks to a system that offers a built-in mulligan.
*We're getting an 8-team playoff sooner than you think.
*As always, post-selection sound and fury will signify nothing, and we'll all settle in for the novel three-game process to determine a national champ, of whom we will all universally recognize.