The CFP Selection Committee reportedly took until after 1:00 AM Sunday morning to reach whatever consensus is necessary to put Oklahoma in the CFP as the #4 seed joining Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame in the tournament. Personally, I would have preferred to see Georgia in that playoff slot based on my eyeball test; but I agree that Oklahoma has a strong case for playing in the tournament. And as is always the case, there is controversy and angst afoot in the land over who got jobbed and/or who paid off whom to wind up with these four playoff teams.
Take a deep breath everyone:
- The CFP is not a perfect system; it may be improved upon one of these days.
- The CFP is a whole lot better – in terms of determining a national champion – than any of the methods used in the past to make that determination.
Please do not yearn for a return to the days of the BCS. Even worse, do not recall fondly those days when conferences had contracts with various bowl games which – more often than not – precluded any possibility of the two best teams playing one another. After the bowl games ended, the national champion was selected by a vote of people who had barely ever watched all the possible candidates play football.
There are simple answers to the fans of the schools that believe they were snubbed in this process. Let me list a couple of them:
- For Ohio State fans: Do not lose to Purdue by 29 points. Purdue’s record was 6-6. And do not give up 51 points to Maryland who went 5-7 for the season.
- For Georgia fans: Do not lose to LSU by 20 points.
- For UCF fans: Stop pretending that playing a slate of AAC teams is equivalent to playing a slate of SEC teams or ACC teams or Big-10 teams or Big 12 teams or PAC-12 teams. It is not.
The announcement of the 4 CFP teams puts the announcement of the myriad bowl pairings in the shadows – – where most of them belong. The good news this year is that there are no bowl games where the powers that be had to dip below the level of “six-win teams” to fill all the slots. Unless I have misread the schedule, there is only one bowl game this year where both teams hit the field with 6-6 records. [That would be the Texas Bowl in Houston on December 27 where Baylor and Vanderbilt will meet to decide which team will end the season with a losing record.]
Out of the panoply of bowl games this year – not including the CFP games of course – there are only a handful that will make me pay anything more than passing attention:
- New Mexico Bowl (Dec 15): North Texas and Utah State are both 9-3; North Texas has gone north of 40 points six times this year; Utah State has scored 50 or more points six times this year.
- Armed Forces Bowl (Dec 22): Houston and Army will play in this game. I enjoy watching Army play football. If Holiday scheduling permits, I will tune into this game.
- Peach Bowl (Dec 29): Florida and Michigan should put on an interesting defensive game. I believe I will be away from home that weekend and I am not sure the game is worth recording for later viewing – – but we shall see.
One big news item from the NFL yesterday is that the Green Bay Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy after losing at home to the Arizona Cardinals. Recall that the Packers were 14-point favorites in that game despite entering the game with a 4-6-1 record. There has been plenty of reporting that McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers were on different wavelengths regarding the style of offense and the play-calling this year. If that is correct, then the onus is on Aaron Rodgers to play a lot more effectively in the remaining 4 games of this season and to be actively engaged in the team’s OTAs and training camp next year under a new coach and a new offensive system. I don’t know if Rodgers and McCarthy had any significant difficulties, but it certainly has looked to me as if Rodgers has been less intense in his demeanor and approach to games this year.
Another big news item from the NFL over the weekend is the Kareen Hunt situation. This is a “Ray Rice incident” in the sense that we have indisputable video evidence that Hunt hit and kicked a woman. There is no doubt about that. However, there is another sad similarity to the “Ray Rice incident” from several years ago.
- This assault happened 8 or 9 months ago. There are reports that the Chiefs were aware of the incident and were waiting for the legal process to sort itself out. When the Chiefs released Hunt, they said it was not evident that he had lied to them about the incident. I can shed no light on any of that; so, I’ll take it at face value.
- There are also reports that the NFL has been “looking into” this matter for a while now. And here is where the similarity to the Ray Rice incident from several years ago gets creepy. Once again, the NFL with all of its investigators and security mavens is unable to find and review an existing video tape of the incident but TMZ Sports is able to do so.
Here is part of the official statement released by the NFL on this matter:
“Consistent with standard investigatory processes, the NFL continues to pursue a complete understanding of the facts. The NFL’s ongoing investigation will include further attempts to speak to the complainants involved in the incident. It will include a review of the new information that was made public on Friday – which was not available to the NFL previously – as well as further conversations with all parties involved in the incident.”
The wording “further attempts to speak to the complainants” implies to me that the NFL has not been able to talk to them yet. The wording “further conversations with all parties involved” implies to me that they have at least exchanged pleasantries with the complainants. Which is it?
And the elephant in the room is the tape evidence. The NFL investigators were never able to get their hands on the tape. Is that because they never thought to ask if one existed?
Normally, one would offer the benefit of the doubt to the investigator here as he/she seeks all pertinent information. However, the NFL’s history when it comes to dealing with incidents of this type – and incidents where no “indisputable video evidence” ever surfaces – makes any benefit of the doubt difficult. The cynic in me says this is a likely outcome:
- Hunt professes contrition for the incident and acknowledges that he has anger management issues.
- Hunt checks himself into “anger management rehab” and upon emerging from it says that he will undergo continued therapy supervised by Dr. Joseph Flabeetz.
- No charges are ever pressed related to the videotaped incident and the complainants never reveal why that is the case.
- The NFL investigation never collects any pertinent information.
- The NFL punishes Hunt for some or all the 2019 season and then he is reinstated as an eligible player in 2020.
Finally, here is a definition from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Automobile: An individual land transport vehicle used mainly to provoke the extension of the human middle finger.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………