Holohan: You’re up, selection committee

Published 3:00 am Thursday, October 30, 2014

By Sean Holohan

It took them long enough.

It’s odd to think that the sport of college football — a tradition started in 1869 — just now decided that a playoff to determine the national champion was a good idea.

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Well, better late than never, right?

After years of all the confusing formulas and befuddling analytics known as the BCS, college football released its first batch of rankings Tuesday night to determine the four-team playoff at the end of the year.

The results were not all that surprising: No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Ole Miss and No. 4 Auburn.

Should these rankings hold up until the end of the year — which they almost certainly won’t, given Ole Miss and Auburn play this weekend and the Egg Bowl is still ahead of us — the end of year playoff scenario would be an exciting one.

Think about it — a battle between two rivals for national and statewide supremacy and a rematch of last year’s national championship.

But that probably won’t happen, so let’s move on.

On the outside looking in are three deserving and intriguing teams: No. 5 Oregon, No. 6 Alabama and No. 7 TCU.

With either Auburn or Ole Miss almost guaranteed to drop out of the top four this weekend, that means the selection committee will have their hands full next Monday and Tuesday deciding who will slip into the top four.

All three are deserving in their own unique way.

No. 5 Oregon, who suffered injuries to their offensive line early in the season, fell to Arizona in week six, but has looked dominant since. With Heisman candidate quarterback Marcus Mariota returning to form in the second half of the season and key offensive lineman Jake Fisher back in the lineup, the Ducks seem to be almost a no-brainer to enter the top four, so you would think.

Alabama, who sits at No. 6 currently in the selection committee’s poll, was left for dead after their loss to Ole Miss and subsequent weak showing, albeit in a win, at Arkansas. Media pundits around the country proclaimed the end of the Alabama dynasty, which seemed to only fire up the Crimson Tide. The team responded by destroying Texas A&M 59-0 the next week.

But keep an eye out for Alabama. With a hefty schedule still left to play, including at LSU and at home against Mississippi State and Auburn, the Tide could either fall out of the conversation completely or make their way to No. 1, depending on how they fair the rest of the season.

Then there is No. 7 TCU. After seemingly coming out of nowhere to defeat Oklahoma and catapult themselves into the top 10, the Horned Frogs lost in a video game-like shootout loss to Baylor. TCU came back and won the next two games, including an insane 82-27 throttling of Texas Tech. Who wouldn’t want to see a team like that have a chance to contend for a national title?

But those three teams are really just scratching the surface. There a host of one-loss teams — 12 of them sitting behind TCU, in fact — who could make their own run at the top four. With all of November still to go this season, the chaos is just beginning.

It should be worth noting that at this point last year in the BCS poll — granted, a whole different monster — Auburn was not even in the top 10. Everyone knows how their season went.

There really is no knowing who the final four teams will be come December.

The lesson to be learned from this week’s inaugural unveiling of the selection committee’s top 25 is this: remain calm.

There is still so much football left to be played. And for all we know, the national championship could end up being decided between Utah and Ohio State. Probably not, but you never know.

College football is chaos. Beautiful, unrelenting chaos. And that is precisely why we love it.

You’re up selection committee.

Good luck with that mess.