Sam Burnham, Curator
This season has been overshadowed by a global pandemic that has hindered any sense of normalcy throughout the entire year. The upheaval has brought about scheduling that has robbed us of many traditional rivalries. Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina, and Georgia-Georgia Tech, just to name a few.
The SEC and ACC cut out their cupcake games and opted for all conference schedules that promised some powerhouse matchups. Despite the meatier schedules, 2020 has been a bit “meh.” Honestly, it’s more than a bit. Looking back over this season the best two games have been in as many weeks: an improvised BYU-Coastal Carolina game and the annual Army-Navy game. Notre Dame-Clemson gets an honorable mention since Clemson was playing without QB Trevor Lawrence.
That brings me to the topic at hand. When the Big Ten made a power play earlier this year, they expected the other Power 5 conferences to follow their lead. They were caught up in their own hype and believed themselves to be the trend setters in college football. When the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 went on with their own plans, the Big Ten was left with a choice: play a meaningless spring season alone or find a way to make the fall. Immediately sycophants in sports media began pulling their strings, paving the way for Ohio State to make the CFB Playoff.
COVID-related cancellations and the utter collapse of the Penn Stare and Michigan programs has left the Buckeyes with 5 wins. Only one of those wins came against a team with a winning record. While Georgia fans have oohed and ahed over the performance of former Bulldog QB Justin Fields, no one is mentioning that his stats didn’t come against Florida, Alabama, or Auburn.
The Big Ten made a rule when they agreed to have their fall season. A team had to have 6 contests to make it to the conference championship game. They made the rule freely. No one forced it on them. But it did build a sense of legitimacy. Thei conference champion would have played at least half a season.
That sense of legitimacy was lost when the conference (predictably) repealed the rule this past week. It leaves us with the question of whether the same decision would have been made if the roles of Indiana and Ohio State were reversed. We all know the answer to that question. We would just like to hear the Big Ten admit it.
Now comes the task of building the four team playoff. We know Alabama is in, no matter what. Notre Dame is likely in as is Clemson. A Clemson loss in the ACC Championship Game would likely put Ohio State in.
Considering the dismal post season performances the Buckeyes have had against the SEC and Clemson, what is the argument for including them? The Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina have amassed 11 wins against a tougher schedule than the Buckeyes have faced. How are they omitted?
An Iowa State victory in the Big 12 Championship should propel them well ahead of the Buckeyes. Beating Oklahoma twice and also Texas is much more substantial than anything we’ve seen in five measly games.
If we take an honest look at Ohio State’s body of work this season, we see that it’s lacking. Even Southern Cal has mustered five wins. We could compile a enormous list of teams with five wins: Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas, Noth Carolina, Miami. But these aren’t the best examples. You want to really know the level we’re looking at? The winner of next week’s Ole Miss-LSU game will have five wins. I don’t think anyone is going to argue that the Tigers or Rebels belong in the playoff.
So it’s time to do the right thing. It’s time to tell Ohio State that this isn’t their year. They haven’t earned it. There are more deserving teams. It’s time to exclude them from the playoff. Its time to send a proven team and Ohio State hasn’t proven anything.
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