We’re now more than halfway completed with the NCAA College Football Season and there are still quite a few undefeated teams ranked in the Top 25 per the AP Poll & the Coaches Poll. I have a suggestion I’d like to run by you that I’ve been considering for quite some time now. For certain, the number of ranked undefeated teams will shrink considerably in the next several weeks so that by the end of the regular season, before the four playoff contestants are chosen by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, there will more than likely only be a handful. But what if that handful of undefeated teams is greater than four, and even if it’s not greater than four, what if an undefeated, yet ranked, team is not selected as one of the four teams to play in the College Football Playoff and instead, another higher ranked team with one loss is selected? I would consider that a travesty, and here’s why.
To me, and perhaps your thinking is different but if it is I really don’t care, it’s one thing to discuss & analyze a team’s potential and to evaluate, in theory and on paper, which teams are better. Effectively, that’s the process behind the various respective polls. However, Execution is an entirely separate matter. What a team is capable of is mutually exclusive from what it actually accomplishes. In the end, when it’s all said & done, it’s about EXECUTION. You have to WIN. It’s not how you look (on paper), it’s how you play the game (execution). In otherwords, there are No Mulligans, or there shouldn’t be any Mulligans, so the College Football Playoff Selection Committee should take this into account and never, and I mean NEVER, select for a team with a loss over an undefeated team if both teams are ranked in the Top 25 in both NCAA College Football Polls.
I’m providing the current snapshot of both NCAA College Football Polls below as illustration and to serve as my example to emphasize my point.
There are no surprises here. Most of The Usual Suspects are represented in the rankings, i.e. Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, Oklahoma, etc., etc.. As you can see, as it stands now, each respective poll is nearly identical in its rankings with a few minor exceptions. More importantly and pertinent to the point of this blog post is, each respective poll contains eleven undefeated teams. As I mentioned above, this number will assuredly dwindle by season’s end, but, what if it dwindles to five undefeated teams when the regular season culminates, and one of those five, or two of those five, is/are not ranked in the top four and are not selected for the College Football Playoff? What if they’re ranked 6th, or 7th or 8th even though they’re undefeated and yet one or two teams selected for the College Football Playoff have a loss?
I would consider such an outcome a travesty. It is inequitable and selects for Potential over Execution. It selects for What Should Have Been over What Was. An undefeated team, if it’s ranked in the Top 25 per both respective polls, should be selected over a another ranked team that has a loss regardless of the Potential of the team with one loss. They’re both ranked teams so that necessarily means that all the hand-wringing, rigorous analysis and hard work has been done determining that these teams are worthy of a Top 25 ranking. The line of demarcation between these ranked teams is slim, meaning they are comparable in talent & potential, so the distinction that really matters is how each team has executed. There should be no question that an undefeated team has executed flawlessly or nearly flawlessly. It’s an incredible feat to go undefeated the entire year, not only during the regular season but also through the entire College Football Playoff. The National Champion is the pinnacle of excellence, and excellence doesn’t allow for Mulligans. Therefore, there should be No Mulligans, unless, of course, there are not enough undefeated teams at the end of the regular season from which to choose.
That’s my proposal to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee if this variable is not already taken into consideration. I’m including a couple of polls so you can provide feedback on the issue. Thank you for your cooperation in advance.