Sunday, January 1, 2017

Contenders and pretenders

Couple of brief thoughts this a.m. on the 2017 College Football Playoff, which looks a lot like the 2016 College Football Playoff and likely will have the same ending:

1. "We could have done better than that" (Any number of teams who are not Washington and Ohio State after watching Washington and Ohio State last night)

2. "Why were we here again?" (Washington and Ohio State)

The latter, of course, being the question everyone's asking after Alabama crushed the Huskies 24-7 with one hand tied behind its back, and Clemson flat-out embarrassed the Buckeyes 31-0. There were any number of folks who questioned Washington's presence in the CFP in particular, and those people were vindicated. So were those who wondered how Ohio State got in when it couldn't even get into its conference championship game, and lost to the team that won it.

Would Penn State have put up less of a fight against Clemson than the Buckeyes?

I don't know. But I seriously doubt it.

This is the ultimate folly of going by the fabled "eye test" instead of by hard results: The real eye test comes later, when you realize too late that the team you eye-tested into the playoff clearly didn't belong there. Because, yes, everyone in America could see Clemson simply was a superior football team in every way.

And now?

Eye test says Alabama in the rematch with Clemson. By (if we are lucky as we were last year) the thinnest of margins.

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