Easy Pickings

Posted on December 7th, by Rob Scichili in All, College Football PLayoff. No Comments

What? No controversy? No angry coaches ripping the College Football Playoff committee? Heck, there was even a pizza party for 20,000 people on Sunday morning at Clemson.

hi-res-184784245-detail-view-of-the-college-football-playoff-logo-shown_crop_exactThis can’t be college football and the process to decide which four teams are worthy enough this season to get in the playoff. Ah, but it is. Could it be? Maybe, just?

They may have gotten this one right.

OK, so maybe we’re giving the College Football Playoff committee a little too much credit. After all, most of this fell right in their lap. No real upsets on Saturday in the conference playoff games.

Nope, Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma being named as the final four was no surprise to anyone. In fact, the only real drama (if you want to call it that) came when Michigan State leapfrogged OU to No. 3 and a date with the Crimson Tide in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31.

But they even got that right. Michigan State just went out on Saturday and dropped former No. 4 Iowa in the Big Ten title game, adding to an already impressive resume and sending OU to the Orange Bowl vs. Clemson instead.

bob-stoops-ncaa-football-oklahoma-texas-christian2-850x560I’m sure Bob Stoops doesn’t mind. In fact, if I were the Sooners, I would be thankful for the favor. Yes, a date in the Cotton Bowl would be somewhat of a home game vs. Bama, but Clemson is the team OU wants to face in the semis.

The Sooners are playing as good or better than anyone right now. Their biggest disadvantage might be the extended time off between games for them; they’ve been rolling since that loss to Texas in October (still quite the head-scratcher). They’re also the most balanced team of the four.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to compete for the national championship,” said Stoops. “My message to my team isn’t about getting to the playoff; it’s about winning it.”

I’m probably not giving the undefeated Clemson Tigers enough credit, but Stoops might be on to something here. I fully expect Oklahoma to win on New Year’s Eve and advance.

Then there’s that pesky squad from Tuscaloosa under Nick Saban. I think he’s a fabulous coach, but the guy wearing green on the other sideline is no slouch. This game will be a battle of tremendous defenses, combined with running games that simply control games. Something’s gotta give and the team that can withstand the other’s running game the best in the second half will come out the victor.

Have you seen Derrick Henry run the ball this season? The kid looks just as fresh in the second half as his first carry of the game. Look for Bama (and Henry) to pull away from a low-scoring tight game late in the second half.

Yes indeed – quite refreshing to be able to discuss the actual football match-ups instead of controversy. Imagine if North Carolina had won vs. Clemson, or Florida upset Bama? The committee would have quite the decision to make.

Lucky for them it didn’t happen. They spent the first five minutes of their Sunday morning final meeting talking rankings and the remainder eating eggs benedict and blueberry pancakes.

The decisions around what to eat for breakfast carried more thought and debate. Personally, I would have gone with the pancakes.

Rob Scichili

Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.

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