The College Football Playoff field is set, and it wouldn’t be worth its weight in publicity if there wasn’t a healthy dose of drama. This year, Clemson and Oklahoma each maintained lengthy periods of success en route to relatively easy conference championships, making it an easy decision to select the two. Georgia won the SEC, the best conference in college football, and punched its ticket to the playoffs.
With only one spot left up for grabs, the committee had to consider Ohio State, the winners of the Big Ten, and Alabama, the golden child of college football who’s only loss came in the fiercely contested Iron Bowl. Ohio State had two losses, Alabama only had one. Ohio State had a conference championship, Alabama was sitting at home this past weekend.
In the three year history of the College Football Playoff, Alabama has never stayed home, and this year will be no exception. The committee decided to go with two SEC teams, rather than the Big Ten winner, and fans of college football everywhere began to debate the merits of the decision.
When evaluated from a football perspective, it is next to impossible to truly compare teams with nearly no comparable opponents. Resumes don’t paint the picture necessary to distinguish one from the next. But from an entertainment and fan base perspective, there are a few considerations.
On one hand, it would have been good for the game of football to have a midwestern representative in Ohio State. But, in Alabama, you get one of the most divisive teams in the country. You either love the Tide or despise them, there really isn’t much in between. That pedigree and that history will only serve the playoff well. Plus, the ability to market a championship rematch of the past two season’s final game will help to sell viewers on tuning in for a collision of powerhouse schools.
There is no way to know whether or not Alabama or Ohio State is a better football team. But Alabama is almost certainly better for college football, making it a fairly easy decision to put them on the bracket for a championship. Midwestern football fans will just have to sit and watch as the Southeast battles for college football supremacy.