They’re crying in Georgia, wailing at Ohio State and verklempt at UCF.
They all need to press mute on the outrage because they’re all wrong.
The College Football Playoff selection committee got it right Sunday in awarding the fourth and final up-for-grabs spot to Oklahoma, following the wholly expected 1-2-3 of unbeatens Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame.
The two national semifinals on Dec. 29 will include one in the Orange Bowl game at Hard Rock Stadium, with the two winners playing for the championship Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif.
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Maybe someday soon the Miami Hurricanes will be back in this lofty conversation, but a 7-5 season puts UM in a medium bowl game and on the sidewalk watching the CFP parade party on past.
As for the three legitimate wanna-be’s left out Sunday, here’s why your team was not cheated or wrongly denied:
Georgia — Two losses and no conference championship bounces you from the conversation, Dawg. Forget the “eyeball test.” Results matter. You had ‘Bama beaten on Saturday, you were in control, and then you blew it, thanks largely to coach Kirby Smart out-Smarting his team right out of the playoff with that dubious and failed late fake punt.
Ohio State — You were No. 6 to Oklahoma’s No. 5 and did nothing to leapfrog the Sooners and replace Georgia in the final four. The Buckeyes beat 5-7 Maryland by one point this season and lost by 29 (!) to 6-6 Purdue. Their coach, Urban Meyer, was suspended three games for trying to cover up a domestic abuse allegation against an assistant. Go away quietly, please.
UCF — This hurts. For me, the Central Florida Knights would be ahead of Ohio State and Georgia, with a 12-0 season that makes it 25 victories in a row. They are the 17th team in the Associated Press poll era with a win streak that long, and 15 of the previous 16 have played for a national championship during the run. Sorry, though, the schedule in the American Athletic Conference is such that UCF’s only Top 25 opponent was No. 24 Cincinnati. (An oddsmaker buddy said Oklahoma would be favored by nine or 10 points over UCF on a neutral field, and that’s if the Knights still had a healthy McKenzie Milton at quarterback).
The funny thing about the consternation over who would be No. 4 in the CFP is that whomever it was would play the lamb or fatted calf being sent to slaughter against top seed Alabama. This is the semifinal Miami gets at Hard Rock, while Clemson-Notre Dame plays as the Cotton Bowl in Dallas..
Miami gets a delicious matchup nonetheless, though. We love rooting against Nick Saban down here. And in Oklahoma we get a Heisman-level quarterback, Kyler Murray, who is able to score about 60 points to make up for the Sooners generally lacking anything having to do with playing defense.
This is the fifth year for the College Football Playoff and it has been great for the sport because it serves all needs.
It satisfies what was the eternal cry for a playoff that decided the champion on the field, not in somebody’s poll. Clearly four teams is not enough, of course. Imagine if there were eight? This year you’d add Georgia, Ohio State, UCF and (based on the final CFP rankings) Michigan.
The playoff is great, too, because it lets live the argument and debate that are a lifeblood of the sport. That will exist as long a committee of human beings is deciding the rankings that decide who gets in the playoff. It is good for the sport that three programs and fandoms all had a case to be No. 4 and all feel cheated today.
That happens when the No. 4 team is celebrated and anointed to join the exclusive championship party while the No. 5 team is the college equivalent of “Mr. Irrelevant” from the NFL Draft. Being No. 5 is like missing the Lotto grand prize by one number.
So Oklahoma won the day.
But the biggest winner was college football.