There’s no need to second guess the committee or talk about what might have been. There’s no need to question whether or not Notre Dame or Oklahoma are good football teams. It is clear they are. But this year we have a tier of good football teams and a tier of championship caliber teams. And the latter is small. What is important at this point is that the two teams who earned the right to play in the finals are there.
For all the talk of playoff expansion, it’s worth mentioning that this year it could have contracted. Once Bama beat Georgia, it was an event for the Tigers and the Tide. The BCS would have worked this year.
We’ve got an an interesting match up ahead. Keep an eye on ABG CFB for a special title game Curator & Coach.
curator & Coach returns for one more skate of games. Here’s our thoughts on the CFB Playoff and New Year’s Day (oh...and Florida-Michigan)
Sam Burnham, Curator
When I started covering college football on this site I immediately decided to not cover the hype of the race for the Heisman Trophy. I’ve grown to hate the entire fiasco. I don’t remember the last time I saw the award ceremony and I couldn’t tell you who won previous to last year.
But there’s a lot of uproar this year. Alabama fans are livid the award did not go to Tide QB Tua Tagovailoa. We can look at the stats and opponents and argue between Tagovailoa and winner Kyler Murray. But the spotlight on these two takes me back 31 years to another presentation of a trophy that allegedly goes to the most outstanding overall player in college football.
In 1987, Notre Dame wide receiver Tim Brown won the award based on an impressive season - catching 39 passes for 846 yards, 34 rushes for 144 yards,
23 kick returns for 456 yards, 34 punt returns for 401 yds and 7 total TDs. He played on a talented team that finished the regular season 8-3 and played in the Cotton Bowl.
But that year there was another player who deserved the Heisman Trophy more than Brown. At the much smaller Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts you would have found the rightful winner. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Gordie Lockbaum’s stats: 77 receptions for 1152 yds, 85 rushes for 403 yds, 2041 all purpose yds, 22 total TDs. AND he was a 1st Team All-American defensive back. That’s right, he played on offense, defense, and returned kicks. But he didn’t go to a high profile school or play on a Top 25 team. So he finished 3rd in the Heisman voting.
Thats the problem with the Heisman. It’s not about finding the most outstanding overall player, as it is intended to. It simply goes to the flashiest player on a major program. Yes, there was that one year that Houston’s Andre Ware won. But that was an anomaly and isn’t likely to ever happen again. A player on a non-contender doesn’t stand a chance.
Dont believe me?
Lets look at something.
Kyler Murray - QB Oklahoma
241/340 4053 yards 40 TD
123 rushes 892 yards 11 TD
Tua Tagovailoa - QB Alabama
199/294 3353 yards 37 TD
48 rushes 190 yds 5 TD
David Blough - QB Purdue
283/425 3521 yards 25 TD
Rondale Moore - WR Purdue
103 catches 1164 yards 12 TD
18 rushes 203 yards 1 TD
I’ve tossed Purdue’s David Blough and Rondale Moore into this conversation, not to say that either was robbed of The Heisman, as Lockbaum was, but to prove the point of fairness and feasibility. Blough and Moore put up numbers that would have them in the conversation...if they were at Michigan or Ohio State. Blough outpassed Tagovailoa and put up comparable total yards. Moore’s yardage dwarfs the numbers that won Tim Brown the trophy (admittedly in a different time.) Their names never even entered the conversation. They got their numbers on an average Big Ten team. Murray’s stats were gotten on the best offense in the worst defensive conference in the country. Tagovailoa’s stats were gotten on the best team in the country, period. Murray and Tagovailoa played equal or lesser teams every week. Blough and Moore were punching up almost every week.
All that being said, if the award is about the player and not the team, you cannot have a legitimate conversation about that trophy that doesn’t even mention Blough or Moore. Again, not saying either should have won, but for them to not get a passing glance proves the trophy is illegitimate for its stated purpose. Either redefine the thing or get back to the roots.
And until one of those happens, we return to not covering the Heisman Trophy.
At the end of Championship week we find this Top 10, the final one until Bowl Season is complete. The combined ballots chose the same four teams as the committee, with the next three teams each just one vote from the other.
And now for Bowl Season.
Rank Team Points Last Week
1. Alabama 50 (5) 1
2. Clemson 45 2
3. Notre Dame 39 3
4. Oklahoma 33 5
5. Georgia 26 4
6. Ohio State 25 7
7. UCF 24 6
8. Washington 14 10
9. LSU 9 NR
10. Michigan 7 8
Also receiving votes: Kentucky 2, Washington State 1
This Recap is a bit different than the previous ones. Thhis week there were only two games that mattered in the scheme of determining the playoff teams. Really there was only one. Clemson took care of business as expected and that’s really the only takeaway from the ACC Championship.
The SEC Championship is the one that really mattered. Alabama’s remarkable come from behind win, enabled by the galactically stupid fake punt attempt that gave Alabama the ball at midfield, sealed the Tide’s place in the playoff. Georgia proved they could stay on the field with Bama but can their presence in the playoff be justified?
Looking at the résumés of Oklahoma, who struggled with Texas again, and Ohio State, the options are Georgia and two teams who aren’t prepared.
It could be justified to just let Clemson and Alabama play, or even have the Tide play the winner of a Clemson/Notre Dame bowl game. After today, it’s likely anticlimactic.
This is why expanding the playoff is a terrible idea. In some years there just aren’t the teams to fill a bracket. The trophy was cheapened last year when the national champion not only failed to win their conference, yet didn’t even win their division. If the goal is to crown the best team that season, excellence is a priority. If it’s just about ticket sales and flashy ceremonies, by all means, expand it.
As of now, only three teams have qualified for a four team playoff. The fourth spot will be awarded to a Georgia team who can compete but didn’t win their conference or to a conference champion who can’t compete on that level.
The committe has a difficult task ahead of them.