The weird thing about the conference championships this weekend is that only one team in each game has a strong opportunity to continue on to the real championship, which you get to by going through the College Football Playoffs.
If #10 Missouri (all rankings my own) wins the SEC championship, they will go to a consolation game, and it won’t even be the SEC-tied Sugar Bowl, since that’s a playoff game this year. Yet somehow, Mississippi State, which didn’t even win its own division, could get in.
If #8 Georgia Tech wins the ACC championship, they’ll go to the Orange Bowl, and their season will end there. And, if Florida State wins and goes undefeated, they might not even make the playoff! Look, I’m no Florida State fan, but let a team lose before you end their season. Their schedule wasn’t that soft.
If #5 Arizona wins the PAC-12 championship, they have a 37% chance of making the playoff, according to Nate Silver’s projections. By the way, that’s lower than the projected chance of Alabama making it in if they lose their championship game. Equal number of losses, I get it–but it’s a championship game, which is supposed to be a chance to move on.
If #4 Ohio State wins, they have a 60% chance of making the playoff, according to Silver. And #14 Wisconsin has no chance whatsoever, even though they would have
And of course, in the Big 12, there’s Two “One True Champion”ses.
I really enjoy watching college football, including the championship games. The College Football Playoff is a step in the right direction. I’m excited to watch the playoff games on January 1. But I would love to see a system where teams qualify in a transparent manner. A 4-team playoff is not enough when you have 129 teams playing 12 games each. And there should be no subjective opinion. For goodness’ sake Baylor hired a PR firm to lobby for its team. Simplify the system so teams know what they have to do to get in. Don’t make it about brand names and PR firms.