Friday, December 30, 2016

Merry New Year! - Pick Six

Final Regular Season Standings
1) Hoying              46-17        (4-9 upset)
2) Schweinfurth    40-18        (6-6 upset)
3) Draper               43-20        (4-9 upset)
4) Seeberg             42-21        (4-9 upset)

Urb lift us up where we belong...where the Buckeyes fly, over mountains high...on the way to Phoenix and then hopefully Tampa. That's right, Ohio State is back in the playoff, which means people might actually watch it this year, even though it's on New Year's Eve again (thank you NFL). Whet your appetite with a little Orange zest the night before, then ring in 2017 basking in another Buckeye playoff victory, or go to bed early should the unthinkable happen.

Orange Bowl: Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida State Seminoles
Draper: These two teams entered the year with preseason National Championship hype, but "stumble" into the Orange Bowl.  Removing the name of the bowl, I don't think many people would be able to distinguish this game from a playoff matchup.  FSU is clicking offensively at the right time with Dalvin Cook remembering how to play football and Deondre Francois's seemingly indestructible nature on display.  The Wolverines limp in after losing to the Bucks in an all timer...but do they have enough left?  I have a feeling TTUN will feel sorry for themselves and the "refs" killing their championship hopes whereas FSU believes this is a stepping stone.  The loss of Derwin James for the playoff game is huge for the embattled Nole secondary, but the defense has stepped up against mediocre offenses (see: Michigan).  The Wolverine's D is fantastic but will they care enough to play their best, I'm guessing (and hoping) no.  Go Noles! UM: 20--FSU: 24
Hoying: Last year Captain Crazy invaded the Sunshine State and demolished Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Can he do it again to the Gators' younger brother? One of these teams has a world-class defense, and the other...does not. Florida State hasn't lacked for points (outside of a bizarre early season faceplant against Louisville), even steamrolling a tough Gator D, but Michigan provides a new type of challenge. Chris Wormley, Taco Charlton, Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling (and the rest) will blow past Dalvin Cook on the way to grinding the reconstructed remains of Deondre Francois back into gooey paste. UM: 31--FSU: 16
Schweinfurth: One of the funniest things I have heard in the lead up to this game is that the Seminole players want to infuriate Harbaugh. We all remember Harbaughplaycard/headsetspike.gif from The Game (I can't get enough of that and the subsequent flag). I would love to see 'Noles players trash talk directly at Harbaugh just to see what that meltdown would look like. Hint, it would be EPIC! But seriously, this game will be sack city. The defensive front seven for both teams are really good while the offensive lines are not. Against my better judgement I'm going to take TTUN only because the B1G has been scorching hot (outside of Indiana) this bowl season. UM: 17--FSU: 10
Seeberg:  This game, like seemingly almost every New Years' Six big-game-around-January-1st bowl game features strength on strength (think Clemson O vs. OSU D, Washington O vs. Bama D, etc.) in FSU's offense against Michigan's D.  Like so many of the other games, however, it is likely to be decided when the less touted squads are competing.  I don't trust Michigan outside that horrible state very much, but I trust FSU's D even less.  Harbaugh guides TTUN to their sixth 11-win season since 1906 (yes you read that right) while Urban, preparing for the Fiesta Bowl, and his Ohio State Buckeyes have 11 such seasons since 2002.  Rofl.  UM: 27--FSU: 17

Cotton Bowl: Western Michigan Broncos vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Draper: One team is at the biggest bowl game in their history and the other is facing a 'little sister of the poor'--see last year's Peach Bowl in which the Fighting Tom Herman's defeated the big bad Noles.  The difference here is that Wisconsin didn't really believe their realistic expectations this year would supercede what actually happened.  Wisky is punching above their class and will fight for a nice bowl win.  P.J. Fleck will pull out all the stops to row the boat over the Badgers, but the team has not been tested all year.  The Badgers are too much and the Broncos fail to get that elusive 3rd B1G win.  WMU: 10 -- UW: 28
Hoying: Does Wisconsin want to be here? How much of the Badgers' stumbles in the B1G Championship can be attributed to Penn State's bull crap "five hundred!" offense and how much is a result of B1G coach of the year Paul Chryst losing focus? Is life really but a dream? I don't know the answers to those questions. I know this game looks a whole lot more like Georgia-Hawaii than Oklahoma-Boise State. I know Wisconsin shut down a much more talented LSU offense back in September. I know that no team ranked ahead of its opponent alphabetically this bowl season is later in the alphabet than Western Michigan. WMU: 13--UW: 24
Schweinfurth: How did we get a pre-season B1G game as a New Years' Six game? There is a reason the Group of 5 schools want to have their own playoff, it's because there is a pretty large talent gap. I don't know if the Broncos can handle the physicality that Wisconsin brings with them on both sides of the ball. Western Michigan's offense is enough to keep them in the game, but the Badgers can just grind teams into dust. WMU: 21--UW: 31
Seeberg:  See above.  Western Michigan can score it and score it often.  Wisconsin doesn't really allow teams to score all that much...ever.  But again it'll be Wisconsin's mediocre O versus Western Michigan's average-by-MAC-standards defense that will decide the game.  Give Chryst a month to prepare for a ho-hum defense and Wisconsin should get out to a lead that they can sit on, regardless of the signal-caller (which is good, because both Badger QBs are hot garbage).  Row the boat back to shore P.J., Broncos don't swim that well.  WMU: 17--UW: 31  

Rose Bowl: USC Trojans vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Draper: PSU has run the same offense each week and it inexplicably keeps working: go deep, chuck it, pray, TD.  The Trojans have been on fire lately, but look at the competition: Pac 12 garbage (see bowl season--Congrats on Utah's big win over 6-7 2).  USC was exposed early on by teams that hit you in the mouth...and the Lions tend to do that.  While the Trojans have better corners than Wisconsin, the Lions strategy of run Saquon followed by random bomb will be enough to take a very close and exciting Rose Bowl.  USC: 24--PSU: 27
Hoying: At the risk of becoming political, this game has a sort of Donald Trump feel to it. You watch Penn State and you think, there's no way this team is going to keep winning. Their offense is built on taking crazy gambles and they just seem to be chucking it deep with no plan for what comes next. Yet they keep beating opponents that really, really seem like they shouldn't be losing to the Lions. Everyone keeps talking about USC being one of the hottest teams in the country as the season closed, and like Penn State, they did beat a playoff team, but I don't see Penn State's 9 game winning streak ending anytime soon. USC: 27--PSU: 34
Schweinfurth: Hey, remember that one top ten out of conference game USC played this year, yea that didn't go so well. It's amazing what a team can do once they start playing against PAC-12 defenses. I'm still not sold on Penn State, but you can't argue with the resume. Having Saquon Barkley in the backfield doesn't hurt either. I fully expect some more "500 football" that the Lions have been playing since the OSU game, but it works when you have tall, lanky receivers. USC: 17--PSU: 38
Seeberg:  Hey a home bowl game for USC, surprise surprise.  Both of these teams are white hot- or at least they were before taking a month off.  The Lions needed some inexplicably non-Urban coaching to squeak out a win against our Buckeyes, and USC is as talent-laden as Ohio State in many areas.  The talking heads think USC could be in the playoff if it weren't, you know, for those pesky crooked numbers in the loss column.  Maybe I'm a stubborn old man (my birthday was yesterday, after all), but I just refuse to believe Penn State is the fifth best team in the country.  USC pulls away late.  USC: 38--PSU: 24

Sugar Bowl: Auburn Tigers vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Draper: Does anyone care about this game? Seriously? Auburn? Oklahoma is known based on the DISTANT 3rd and 4th place Heisman finalists and video game numbers...but Auburn? I don't think I've seen a second of the Tigers this year...and I don't regret it.  Oklahoma had preseason aspirations of the Championship, but those were squelched early by the Cougs and Bucks.  As of now, they are happy where they are with a Big 12 title and an overall nice season.  Auburn finished tied for 2nd in their own division (3 conference games behind first).  I do know that the Sooners can score in bunches and I think they'll enjoy being here so Big Game Bob might not fart it away.  Aub: 34--OU: 45
Hoying: Every year there's one eminently forgettable New Year's Six game, and welcome to the club, 2017 Sugar Bowl! Outside of Alabama, nobody cares about the SEC this year, either because they're all so mediocre, or they're all just so good that they've beaten each other down into obscurity. This game should tell us a lot about which is true. The Sooners are the only team with TWO (questionable) Heisman finalists, and they'll need all their weapons to navigate a stingy Auburn defense. No word yet on how basic (or acidic) the Tigers are. Baker Mayfield finally gets the big-game monkey off his back (no, not Bob Stoops) and the Sooners finish with a win. Aub: 31--OU: 34
Schweinfurth:  I have no respect for any SEC team outside of Alabama this year. As of this writing the SEC is 1-4 in bowl matchups (the pairings for the bowls usually favor the SEC too). Auburn has a decent defense but that offense? Not good. Deedee Westbrook is the real deal and a matchup nightmare. Big Game Bob takes the night off and Big Game Winning Bob actually shows up this year. This will be over quick. Aub: 10--OU: 42
Seeberg:  So Colorado (#10- 3 losses) and Oklahoma State (#12- 3 losses) are currently playing in the Alamo Bowl, yet Auburn (#14- 4 losses) gets a New Years' Six invitation?  Seems fishy SEC-y to me.  I assume the South was feared to rise up again and fight the Union had a second SEC team not been invited to the party.  In any event, it's strength on strength again.  Auburn does boast a good D that strangled Clemson and a decent rushing attack, but the Sooners O is just on fire.  Auburn's offense, meanwhile, is decidedly one-dimensional, and even Big 12 teams can stop an offense like that on occasion.  Expect Mayfield, Perine, Westbrook and Co. to do just enough to give the SEC's second best team a whopping- and hilarious- five losses.  Aub: 34--OU: 38

Peach Bowl: Washington Huskies vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Draper: The Huskies have the athletes and playmakers to hang with the Tide and likely beat  7 on 7.  The biggest discrepancy is the line play.  Bama has a MASSIVE advantage over everyone in the country with the big uglies on both sides (especially Jonathan Allen).  Washington's playmakers on the perimeter are special, but Browning tends to shrivel up in big games.  The pressure of the Bama defense is simply too much to ignore.  Washington matchups up with most teams in the country but not Bama.  Expect the Huskies to throw everything on the table early, but the slow inexorable crushing the Saban teams exert will be too much.  UW: 10--Bama: 24
Hoying: Ten years ago, I was one of a few (editor's note: as was Draper) who picked Boise State to upset heavily favored Oklahoma , and a little-known coach named Chris Petersen engineered arguably the most memorable upset of the BCS era (alongside Ohio State - Miami). Now the stage is reset. Can lightning strike twice? Alabama has been the team of seemingly no weakness this season. So, no. Just no. Expect Washington to pull out all the stops as they must realize they can't beat Alabama going strength-on-strength, but short of a lot of lucky breaks all in one direction, this one won't be close. UW: 13--Ala: 30
Schweinfurth:  What do we really know about Alabama? They beat a USC team that looked lost in week one and then rolled (no pun intended) through a very weak SEC. Do I believe that the Tide is the top team in the country, yes I do. Do I think they are unbeatable? Not at all. Look at their offense, it is very one dimensional. Shutting down the run game and making Hurts throw the ball is the way to go. Washington has a decent enough pass defense to cause issues if Bama has to throw the ball. Chris Petersen always has a trick up his sleeve in games like these (just ask Oklahoma and TCU) even if he doesn't use it. This game will test Bama and will be closer than the experts think. How will the Tide respond to a true test? We are about to find out. UW: 21--Ala: 24
Seeberg:  Hey looky here, strength on strength...again.  Washington can score it on O...about as well as Bama scores it on D.  Unfortunately for the Huskies, the PAC-12 plays as little D as any conference this side of the Big 12.  I don't expect a blowout, but I do expect Bama to wear down the U-dub defense in the second half and, sigh, win, sigh, again...SIGH.  UW: 20--Ala: 34

Fiesta Bowl: THE Ohio State University Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers
Draper: Alone with the Orange Bowl, this has to be among the best matchups of the year.  Buckeye Nation needs to realize that the Buckeyes really have no business being in the playoff with the amount of talent that left for the NFL (and is DOMINATING).  This is the youngest team in the NCAA...and they're 2 games from winning it all.  That is a simply incredible inexplicable job done in recruiting and coaching.  Clemson is nearing the end of their reign at the top (I think) but this team is probably Dabo's best.  This game will feature the strength of the Tigers offense vs. the strength of the Buckeyes defense.  I think many points will be scored as JT will have a much better game throwing the rock than expected (no Jourdan Lewis on the other side) and the Buckeyes will be able to matriculate the ball down the field, but Deshaun Watson is no slouch and will make things happen for Clemson.  The matchup to watch will be Mike Williams vs. Marcus Lattimore on the perimeter as well as the Buckeyes ability to get pressure and force Watson into turnovers.  Expect a close game down to the wire but Meyer vs. Dabo? C'mon man.  BUUUUUUUCKS! OSU: 38--Clemson: 34 
Hoying: The 2014 Orange Bowl may have been inconsequential overall, but it was the biggest gut-punch loss I had seen since 2005 Texas (and I had been in attendance at the immediately prior Ohio State / Michigan State debacle). The Buckeyes overcame a horrible defensive performance to build a 9 point lead and seize all the momentum. Then Philly Brown muffed a punt and the game (and Braxton Miller's joints) fell apart. A sad final start for one of Ohio State's all-time greats behind center. Fast forward to this year. The Buckeyes, no longer an offensive juggernaut, have returned to their stifling defenses reminiscent of the Tressel era in result if not in scheme. Mike Williams is good, but he's no Sammy Watkins. JT Barrett can't quite run like Braxton, but nobody takes care of the ball better. Mike Weber isn't quite El Guapo yet, but he's on his way. And most importantly, Deshaun Watson has ball control issues. And he's going against Malik Hooker and company. If the Silver Bullets can keep up the heat, expect to see the Buckeyes keep their perfect playoff record intact (at least for now). OSU: 31--Clem: 27
Schweinfurth:  Fun fact, Urban Meyer is 10-2 in bowl games. Those two losses are Lloyd Carr's last game and with a very beat up team (and awful defense) against Clemson. Urban can get his teams up for these games. Look, Clemson is going to put some points up. They have a very dynamic offense. Remember that the last time Clemson talked trash about a QB, Lamar Jackson went for 400+ yards and the Tigers barely escaped. Watson has a tendency to throw the ball up for grabs. Bad news against this defense. Hooker and company will be licking their chops if Watson gets careless. JT and the receivers (and Isaiah Prince) have been working out the kinks over last month. Let's see if it pans out. Time for some revenge! GO BUCKS!!! OSU: 35--Clem: 31
Seeberg:  Ah yes, the main event before the main event.  And once again, strength on strength.  Clemson can score it, both running and passing.  OSU can pick it and score better than anybody.  I'm not worried about the silver bullets.  Watson will make a play or two with his legs and a play or two with his arm, but the BIG play will not be consistent for the Tigers- at least not as reliable as to which they are accustomed.  I am, however, concerned with the Buckeye offense that looked flat-out impotent for very large stretches against both teams from up north and for a half against Penn State and Wisconsin.  I don't think Clemson's D is quite as good as any of those units, but it's plenty good enough to cause havoc.  J.T. cannot be content to just take care of the ball every time.  Plays must be made.  SOMEBODY not named Curtis Samuel must get separation.  Weber and Samuel, combined, MUST get at least 30 carries.  If Urban game plans to his strengths (something he is phenomenal at) and then sticks to them in crunch time instead of just calling the QB run constantly (something he is lousy at) then it will be onto the national title game again.  Braxton, ye shall be avenged.  OSU: 35--Clem: 27

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Committee Got It Right...Again

Not everyone who writes about college football is as brilliant as the prescient minds here at Let's Go Bucks! For the second straight year, your favorite prognosticators predicted the playoff field exactly correctly. And other than flipping Ohio State and Clemson at #2 and #3, we would have chosen the exact same field ourselves.

But not everybody out there agrees with us. Take the talking heads at ESPN. Out of the 20 polled, all 20 agreed to put Alabama at #1 and Clemson somewhere 2 - 4, but the consensus ended there. 17 had Washington, 15 had Ohio State in, 7 had Penn State, and 1 had, well, you'll have to excuse Desmond.

You might notice that nobody had the Big 12 anywhere near the playoff. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby sure noticed, and while he didn't go all Art Briles and accuse the committee of putting in teams based on brand name alone, he feigned some confusion about why the committee picked the teams it did (I hope he's feigning; I'd hate to throw him in with Desmond). After all, Ohio State didn't win their conference, and Washington scheduled three wet paper sacks as their non-conference opponents. How will Herman and the 'Horns ever redeem the Big 12's honor when they can't predict what the committee wants?

The answer is quite simple. The committee wants the four best teams. How do you determine the four best teams? Look at the teams with the best wins against the best opponents, and the fewest losses.

That's it.

Somehow, in the last two years, too many people (including yours truly) lost the forest for the trees. We saw the committee's tiebreaker criteria and treated them like prerequisites:

  • Championships won
  • Strength of schedule
  • Head-to-head competition
  • Record against common opponents
What we forgot is that these are tiebreakers, used to distinguish "comparable" teams that "look similar."

Do Clemson, Ohio State, Washington, and Penn State look similar?

On their faces, no. You are your record, after all, and Clemson, Washington, and Ohio State each have only 1 loss, while Penn State has 2. This isn't Major League Baseball; every loss in college football is devastating when you only play 12 - 13 games a year. But not all wins and losses are created equal (the boat can only row so far, Broncos). Let's look at each team's wins, from most to least impressive.

Best four wins:

For Clemson:  @Florida State, Louisville, @Auburn, Virginia Tech
For Ohio State:  Michigan, @Oklahoma, @Wisconsin, Nebraska
For Washington:  Colorado, Stanford, @Utah, @Washington State
For Penn State:  Ohio State, Wisconsin, Temple, Iowa

Ohio State is leading the way, with Clemson following close behind. Penn State's not doing much to close the gap so far. They have the best overall win, to be sure, but no good road wins, and their second best win is a pale shadow of Ohio State's third. It's never a good thing when your quality nonconference win is Temple. Washington doesn't have any quality nonconference wins, but they do have four wins over Pac-12 teams with 4 or fewer losses.

Next best four wins:

For Clemson:  @Georgia Tech, vs. Troy, @Wake Forest, @Boston College
For Ohio State:  Tulsa, @Maryland, Northwestern, Indiana
For Washington:  Idaho, @California, @Arizona State, @Oregon
For Penn State:  Minnesota, @Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State

The only separation here is Washington fading fast. No bowl-bound Power 5 vanquished foes in this tier. But it's not like Penn State's slate is moving the needle either.

Remaining wins:

For Clemson:  NC State, South Carolina, Syracuse, South Carolina State
For Ohio State:  @Michigan State, Bowling Green, Rutgers
For Washington:  Oregon State, @Arizona, Rutgers, Portland State
For Penn State:  @Purdue, Kent State, Rutgers

My, my, how will Ohio State and Penn State compete without that 12th win over an FCS team? Clemson gets a point here for a win over bowl-bound NC State and a real live SEC opponent in South Carolina, and for not playing Rutgers.

And now, the losses:

For Clemson: @Pittsburgh
For Ohio State: @Penn State
For Washington: vs. USC
For Penn State: @Michigan, @Pittsburgh

So, by pure quality of wins-and-losses resume, the order seems to be something like this:

Ohio State > Clemson (better wins and better loss)
Clemson  >>> Washington (much better wins)
Washington >>  Penn State (1 loss vs. 2 and similar enough wins)

Ohio State and Clemson are clearly ahead of the pack. Washington and Penn State aren't "similar" to Ohio State and Clemson, so no tiebreaker is going to knock them out of being #2 and #3 in some order. Penn State would have the strength of schedule tiebreaker over Washington, but again, their resumes aren't similar enough for the tiebreakers to kick in.

So, Bob Bowlsby, what's a team to take away from the committee's decision this year?


An undefeated Power 5 team has never missed the playoffs. A Power 5 team with 2 losses has never made it in when sufficient undefeated and 1-loss teams were available. I don't see this trend reversing anytime soon.

Bad objections:

But what about Penn State's B1G title and head-to-head win over Ohio State?

As stated above, these are tiebreakers used to differentiate similar teams. Ohio State and Penn State do not have similar resumes. Also, Penn State has a conference title in large part because of their head-to-head win over Ohio State. Penn State didn't have to do anything that Ohio State didn't in order to lock down the title. They finished tied atop the East standing, and then Penn State beat a team at a neutral site that Ohio State already beat on the road. Making a big deal out of "Penn State, Big Ten Champions" is practically counting their head-to-head win over Ohio State twice.

Washington didn't challenge themselves out of conference and still made the playoff. Why should any Power 5 team bother to schedule a big name conference opponent? Isn't there an inconsistency in Washington making the playoffs when Baylor didn't in 2014?

First of all, Penn State, you didn't exactly go for the gold in scheduling Pitt. Yeah, Pitt's not Rutgers, but there's a reason nobody's particularly impressed with your loss. Yes, if Penn State schedules Villanova instead of Pitt, they probably go to the playoff instead of Washington. But by the same token, if Ohio State schedules Youngstown State instead of Oklahoma, maybe they don't make the playoff. Putting together a weak schedule is a bet that the other guys will schedule hard and lose. Putting together a strong schedule is a bet that the other guys will schedule easy and win. There's an element of gamesmanship to the process. But there's no way before the season starts to know whether the weak schedule strategy will burn you (2014 Baylor) or save you (2016 Washington). And there's no way before the season starts to know whether the big name you scheduled will be 1-11 California or 10-2 Oklahoma.

Monday, December 05, 2016

How the CFP SHOULD Look...and Why it Doesn't Look That Way

Well kids, another college football regular season (save Army vs. Navy) has come to an end.  Lots of things happened that NOBODY saw coming (anyone have Michigan State at 4-8?), and our Buckeyes are once again in the playoff with a shot at a national title.  We're already one for one, why not make it two for two?

The playoff is a very exclusive club.  Just four of the 128 FBS are invited to play for a national championship.  Seems like a paltry number, doesn't it?.  For comparison's sake, 68 teams make the March Madness tournament out of 347 teams, or 19.6%, give or take.  The FCS (sorry NCAA, but it's 1-AA, FCS just isn't catching on) has 24 of its 125 members in their football playoff, good for 19.2%.  But the FBS is just 4/128, a measly 3.125%.  So what gives?  I'll get to that in a bit.

So instead of just four teams, let's suppose the playoff were 16 teams.  Every conference champion gets in, six at-large teams fill in the field.  First-round games are played at the higher seed's stadium.  I will put the seeds next to the teams based on where I think they should/would be placed. Here's what that would look like:

AUTOMATIC BIDS (Conference Champions)
(1) Alabama- SEC
(7) Penn State- Big 10
(6) Oklahoma- Big 12
(4) Washington- PAC-12
(3) Clemson- ACC
(13) Temple- AAC
(15) Western Kentucky- Conference USA
(14) San Diego State- Mt. West
(16) Appalachian State- Sun Belt
(12) Western Michigan- MAC

AT-LARGE BIDS (six best non-conference champions- using current CFP rankings)
(2) Ohio State
(5) Michigan
(9) Wisconsin
(8) USC
(10) Colorado
(11) Florida State

So there's your field.  Now let's look at the first round, the FIRST ROUND, you get Florida State at Oklahoma, Colorado at Penn State, Wisconsin at USC (basically a Rose Bowl), and maybe the best matchup to watch is that Western Michigan gets a shot at UM.  Who wouldn't watch that?  Can Donnell Pumphrey run rampant and lead SDSU to an upset of Clemson?  Can Temple's staunch D shut down Washington?  Definitely chances for the "group of 5" teams to pull an upset.  After the first round, there are just seven playoff games left and we already have the "New Year's Six" plus the national title game anyways, so those bowl games all rotate through those rounds and then the final is still the national championship.  It works seamlessly!


1.) No More Whining- Be honest, read that list of teams above.  Does ANYBODY think there is a team not in the field that would have even the slightest chance of winning four games against the rest of college football's elite?  No shot.  Everyone worthy now has their opportunity.  (Disclaimer:  The No More Whining, unfortunately, does not apply to post-game crying about officiating).

2.) You Can Have the Other Bowl Games Too!- On Friday, December 23rd, Ohio plays Troy in the Dollar General Bowl.  On a typical Saturday, nobody watches that game not directly affiliated with either of those schools.  But it's a bowl game, so you know we're watching, because after the bowls, college football is over!  We already watch TONS of bowl games that have absolutely no bearing on even the top 25, let alone the national championship.  All these cities/sponsors still get their influx of cash, the teams get their extra few weeks of practice for making a bowl game, so that portion of the system essentially remains unchanged.

3.)  Money The CFP has generated massive ratings in its first two years of existence.  Sure, a few first-round games won't be huge TV audiences (I'm looking at you, Bama vs. Appalachian State), but after the first round, all the matchups would be high-level clashes with everything still on the line.  Compare that to the current system where Michigan is playing Florida State- two highly talented, potential national title contending teams- with literally a 0.0% chance of winning a national title.  More eyeballs on the product=more money for everyone involved- and this is the key element nobody seems to comprehend given the ONLY reason the playoff doesn't look like this.  It would work, and it would be profitable, but the powers that be are too short-sighted to change.


1.)  Money- More to come.

2.)  Money- See above.

3.)  Money-  This is the first, last, and only reason the playoff doesn't already exist in the fashion in which I have presented.  According to cliche, money makes the world go 'round.  In this case, however, money is actually preventing progress.  At present, the teams that make the national championship game play a grueling 15-game schedule: 12 regular season games, a conference title clash, and two playoff contests.  This year's Buckeyes are an exception to that as they did not have to play in a conference championship, but generally 15 is the number.  In the scenario laid out above, eight teams would have to play 15 games, another four would play 16, and two would play a whopping 17 games- and that will never happen for the NCAA to maintain its well-rehearsed facade of student-athletes, protecting the players, etc.

As a result, the regular season would have to be shortened by two games (or one game and remove conference championship games- dealer's choice) just like all other college football divisions with a 10-game regular season.  Every conference would play two non-conference tilts and eight conference games across the board.  Not a single athletic director would allow such a change, losing revenue from one or potentially even two regular season games.  I mean, who doesn't want to see EVERY Big Ten team play at least one MAC opponent annually?  Or how about the annual SEC vs. 1-AA weekend, doesn't that get your juices flowing?  Not so much- but it lines the home team's pockets.

But would all teams actually take such a crushing financial loss?  I'm not so certain.  I truly believe that in the 16-game playoff I have laid out, the only teams that would be adversely affected from a monetary standpoint would be Power 5 teams that consistently do not make the playoffs (think Arizona, Rutgers, Kansas, etc.).  The revenue generated by such a playoff would filter to all schools (just like it does at present), the top eight teams each year get an extra home game to make up that lost revenue, and group of 5 conference teams all get a piece of the pie from revenue sharing since every conference champion makes the playoff.  Group of five teams rarely play significant out-of-conference home games anyway, so it is likely many would profit more from this setup than the current system, particularly if a team like, say Western Michigan, advanced.  And let's be honest Buckeye Nation, watching the Broncos take down TTUN would likely be the best day of your life since former 1-AA Appalachian State went into the Big House and took them down nine years ago.

In short, the 16-game playoff benefits fans and smaller conference teams, maintains the status quo of the rest of the coveted bowl system, and may potentially generate even more cash for the "non-profit" NCAA, an organization that has had, at minimum, a $60 million surplus in each of the last four years.  Will it happen?  Absolutely not- the power five conferences are more likely to break away from the outmoded NCAA.  So for now let's sit back, enjoy another still-appealing bowl season, and daydream about what could be.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

2016 Playoff Should Be / Will Be

The die is cast. At around 12:30 this afternoon, we'll learn the fate of our beloved Buckeyes and the other playoff contenders. While you wait, let your favorite predictors from Let's Go Bucks! tell you what what the final four should be, and will be.


Let's Go Bucks Index
1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Washington

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington

1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Washington

1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Washington


Let's Go Bucks Index
1. Alabama 
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington

Friday, December 02, 2016

Week 14 - No Rematches This Year!

1) Hoying              41-15        (4-9 upset)
2) Schweinfurth    36-15        (6-6 upset)
3) Draper               38-18        (4-9 upset)
4) Seeberg             36-20        (4-9 upset)

Normally, Conference Championship weekend is a pile of suck because of pointless rematches essentially invalidating one or more regular season games. This year, it's a pile of suck, not because of the rematches (there are none) but because our beloved Buckeyes are once again stuck at home. 

MAC: Western Michigan Broncos vs. Ohio Bobcats
Draper: I know very little about these teams, but I know that there's been a lot of boat-rowing in Kalamazoo.  This is all about an interview for Mr. Fleck and the hot WMU Broncos.  But wait, Ohio is coached by someone who has been in a real life national championship game (let's ignore the fact that he got blown out).  Ohio has been overlooked much of the year, but they've earned a spot here and could really mess with the Group of 5 (not to mention costing the MAC a lot of money), but the Broncos are 'too hot to handle'.  WMU rows to a MAC Championship, a likely New Year's Six shellacking, and a new coach next year.  WMU: 41--OU: 31
Hoying: Hello, mismatch. The Broncos are clearly the superior team here, and they have the prize of all prizes for a MAC school in front of them: likely win-and-into the Cotton Bowl. They've proven they can handle the pressure so far, but there may be a problem: where is PJ Fleck's head right now? The Oregon job is open, the Purdue job is available, Indiana just fired Kevin Wilson, Brian Kelly is "exploring his options". . . Is PJ going to keep rowing the boat or sail off into deeper waters? The Bobcats have shown up for every game this year, nearly scoring a big upset over Tennessee, but I think the Broncos will still have the focus to take care of business and boost PJ onto the big stage with a chance to prove that the Texas Longhorns hired the wrong young hotshot. WMU: 38--OU: 31
Schweinfurth: Hooray for MACtion! Ok, in all honesty, I really don't care about this game even though this has some serious New Year's Six implications. PJ Fleck has the Broncos believing and playing very well all year. The committee has had them underrated all year. This is WMU's last chance for a statement and OU is just a speed bump. UMU: 42--OU: 24
Seeberg:  Honestly, Frank Solich has done a great job at OU since being unceremoniously canned from Nebraska over a decade ago.  He took a perennial MAC bottom-feeder and turned it into a near-perennial bowl team.  P.J. Fleck, however, is the midwestern Tom Herman, having resurrected the Broncos, putting them on the path for a big payday come January 1st (or 2nd this year since the NFL will take over New Years- so sacrilegious).  My guess is the nerves of the moment keep the Bobcats in it for a half, but too much Bronco offense eventually wins the day.  Enjoy the MACtion!  WMU: 38--OU: 24

Pac-12: Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington Huskies
Draper: The Pac 12 has been a pillow fight all year with no real dominant team other than the Huskies...until they were blasted at home by USC.  Utah, Colorado, Wazzu, and USC have been nice teams, but there is simply no way to tell if there is any substance here (with 0 good out of conference wins by ANYONE).  The Buffs have had a great season, but I don't think Sefu Liufau has enough juice to keep up with Jake Browning, Pettis, and Ross.  UW heads to the playoff and a likely showdown with Bama....good luck with all that.  CU: 27--UW: 34
Hoying: For the better part of a month, Buckeye Nation has been rooting for these teams to lose in order to avoid this exact matchup. The Pac-12 continues to suck this year but these teams are actually kind of good, both playing stellar defense and getting terrific play out of QBs Sefo Liufau and Jake Browning. Fortunately, the committee still hates them both, barely putting Washington at #4 ahead of Meeeeeechigan and Colorado trailing well behind the rest of the B1G elite. I don't even know who I want to win this game. A Buffalo victory all but locks the Buckeyes into the playoffs, but it also greatly increases the chances that our friends up north get in as well, and I don't want to see them again this year (rematches are dumb, see above). Speaking of the Maize and Blue, Colorado went into Ann Arbor and played them to a standstill for 3 quarters while U-Dub was busy with Rutgers. The Buffs come into this battle tested and score the big upset on their the Rose Bowl. CU: 31--UW: 27
Schweinfurth: Let me say that the PAC-12 has been all over the map this year. There is no "great" team in this conference. Washington was a great story until USC blew their doors off and game Colorado the blue print to beat them. I really want to see this upset just for Colorado's sake. This once proud program has been through a lot of heartache since joining the PAC-12. Washington, you had a great season, but Buffs are going to pound this one out. Last second field goal FTW! CU: 38--UW: 35
Seeberg:  And here is where the potential playoff chaos begins.  A Colorado win puts them at 11-2 (comparable to 10-2 TTUN), and obviously ahead of Washington should it win.  Will the committee put the Buffs ahead of we-are-giving-them-an-inexplicable-pass-for-losing-twice-in-the-last-three-weeks TTUN squad?  Colorado lost to the Wolverines 45-28, but were leading and looking good before Liufau was sidelined with an injury.  Thankfully for the committee (and those of us who would just as soon walk blindfolded into traffic as see TTUN make the playoff), it won't be an issue.  Browning and Co. are just too good offensively to drop this one, especially on a neutral field.  Onto the #4 seed to get pasted by 'Bama for the Huskies.  CU: 27--UW: 42

AAC: Temple Owls @ Navy Midshipmen
Draper: Again, Navy looks to totally mess with bowl season as a win here puts the Group of Five representative into question...and thereby putting all minor bowls into question.  Navy has been on fire lately (I believe they punted TWICE in the month of November) and loves to just drain a game with their running attack. On the other side of the ball, I guess Temple is playing football this year...and that's cool.  I know nothing about them, but Navy is usually fun to watch.  Midshipmen represent Murika well and take down the Owls.  Temple: 20 -- Navy: 41
Hoying: I'm surprised that this one is a noon kickoff on ABC rather than on ESPN 2, 5, and 6. For the second straight season, Temple finds itself in the AAC championship game, and for the second straight season, they're going to lose. In the month of November, Navy's efficiency on offense would put the U.S. fleet to shame, as the Midshipmen took the field 40 times, scored 29 TDs and one FG, and ran out the clock 6 times. Ask Notre Dame what it's like to get ground into paste by 10 minute TD drive after 10 minute TD drive (aaaaagggghhhhh, Juice Williams flashback...). The entire bowl-seeding world may be rooting against Navy, since a win this weekend makes Army-Navy relevant for the first time since about WWII and delays the whole New Year's Six process, but Owl be surprised if the Middies don't take this one. Temple: 17--Navy: 28
Schweinfurth: I always have a soft spot for the armed forces teams (Go Air Force! 2016 Commander-In-Chief Trophy Winner). Navy runs the triple option better than anyone and no coach knows his team better than Coach Ken. Navy could get in trouble if Temple gets up by 2 TDs, but I just don't see that happening. Navy's offense keeps the game short so this won't be a total blowout in numbers terms. Navy makes the Selection Committee's job a bit more difficult (Let them play in a New Year's Six!). Temple: 10--Navy 24
Seeberg:  Hey, remember when this game was going to be Houston vs. who-gives-a-damn?  Oops.  Navy left a lot of opponents in its wake the last month of the season (#seewhatIdidthere?) and Temple is not the defense it was last year that carried the team to the conference title game, dropping a well-contested game to the Houston Hermans.  Watching Navy pulverize the now second-best golden-domer team in Notre Dame was fabulous, and this one will likely be similar.  I'd set the over/under at 9 pass attempts for Navy...and take the under.  More New Year's Six chaos abounds!  Temple: 16--Navy: 38

Big 12: Oklahoma State Cowboys @ Oklahoma Sooners
Draper: Points and points and points.  The Sooners have been rocking since the beatdown by the Bucks but the Pokes look to throw a wrench in their rival's season (which they have done many times before).  Mike Gundy and his fantastic mullet have 2 losses (1 of which really shouldn't have counted...but it does) but they haven't faced the Sooners yet. Dede Westbrook and Baker Mayfield will continue to give opposing defenses nightmares...but the Sooner defense does the same for those in Norman.  Bob Stoops doesn't lose much in Norman, but I think the quota for OSUs beating OU in Norman has been met this year.  BOOMER!!!!  OSU: 45--OU: 55
Hoying: Has any top 10 team gotten less respect or coverage lately than the Cowboys? After a devastating loss to CMU and a disappointing showing against Baylor, the Pokes have run off 7 straight wins (and Mike Gundy's hair has run off 7 straight inches). All the Big 12 love has focused on their hated rivals in Norman, who have been putting up big points (so have the Cowboys), blowing out West Virginia (so did the Cowboys) and racking up crazy numbers at QB (so get the idea). Chris Spielman has moved on to FOX (which is showing this game), but fortunately he's doing the NFL and not college, or he would weep big ol' sad dad tears watching these teams try to play defense. The winner? When in doubt, go with the home team. OSU: 48--OU: 52
Schweinfurth: Hey look, the Big-12 has a championship game a year early! The Sooners have turned it around after the pasting Ohio State put on them (mostly because Big-12 defenses are bad). This game will be a shootout for sure. Neither team really plays much defense. Mixon and Perine are just too much to handle for the Cowboys and we all know Mayfield can make plays. OSU: 49--OU: 56
Seeberg:  Unlike the B1G title game below, this one should be lots of fun to witness.  Of course watching the Sooners rip off a bunch of wins has helped the Buckeyes' cause, and in the title game/bedlam they meet a mirror image:  A team from Oklahoma with a noteworthy offense and technically a defense only because they're required to line up against opposing offenses.  The Sooners may try to outperform their insane first half against West Virginia- and they might manage it.  A turnover or two will go Boomer's way, and they will desperately hope for gargantuan amounts of chaos to sneak into the playoff.  OSU: 44--OU: 52

SEC: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators
Draper: Bama/Florida....again.  This time is different...Bama is far maybe it isn't that different from the recent past.  Saban >> any coach not named Urban so this will likely not be close.  The real question is whether UF will score...or cross the 50.  Bama may not be unbeatable, but the Gators aren't that team. I'll call the shut out because Gators suck.  Bama: 24--UF: 0
Hoying: Oh look, it's Alabama-Florida. Again. For the 9th time. Florida is still the last SEC East team to win this 2008. Hmmm...who coached that team... Corch Irvin Meyers might make an appearance in the Georgia Dome this year, but not until the Peach Bowl on December 31st. In his absence, this will sure be a football game! Ala: 31--UF: 6
Schweinfurth: I'm not going into too much detail here. Florida is a mediocre team playing in a mediocre conference. Alabama has shown that they are the best team in the nation so far. This is going to get ugly quick. Bama: 35--UF: 3
Seeberg:  Alabama hasn't allowed an offensive touchdown in 17 quarters (13 against actual FBS opponents).  Florida's offense can best be described as "only mildly putrid".  This is a lousy combination for anybody sick of Saban (read:  everyone not in Tuscaloosa).  First to ten wins!  Which *sigh* will be *sigh* 'Bama *enormous sigh*.  Ala: 27--UF: 6

ACC: Clemson Tigers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Draper: Virginia Tech has been a very interesting team this year with some very nice performances followed by monster clunkers (see Syracuse).  Clemson had the traditional Clemsoning versus Pitt, but I don't expect any more.  Coach Dabo has the team hyperfocused since the Pitt loss.  I just don't see Deshaun Watson and the best WR in the country, Mike Williams, dropping another before the playoffs.  It would be FANTASTIC for #TeamChaos to have a Hokie win, but I just don't see it.  Clemson...Tigers....Clemson....Tigers   Representing the ACC! (worth your time)  Clem: 52--VT: 27
Hoying: Well, Clemson Clemsoned already against Pitt, so we can't count on that being a factor here. Unless, it's the dreaded Double Clemsoning, in which Clemson Clemsons even harder since nobody expects them to Clemson! This isn't like last year, where an explosive UNC offense had the tools to stand eye-to-eye with the Tigers and trade blows (bad calls on onside kicks notwithstanding). Much like the SEC championship, we're only here because the conference wanted another paycheck and a tiny chance of disaster befalling their last playoff hope. Won't happen. Clem: 45--VT: 20
Schweinfurth: Virginia Tech has had a resurgence! Well, okay they have beat up on some meh competition lately. I just can't look past Clemson in this game. This is the time we see Clemson play to their potential this year. the ACC Title and Playoff bid are sooo close they can taste it (which would make a second Clemsoning not surprising). Deshaun Watson just wins. This game will be close because the Hokies are playing good football right now. I just see Watson making one or two big plays late to pull it out. Clem: 35--VT: 31
Seeberg:  This is good...real good.  I'm still angry at Clemson for beating Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes that should've been playing for a national title except for some horrendous play-calling against MSU in the B1G title game that left Urban to eat cold pizza disconsolately.  Va Tech is borderline relevant again, but Clemson managed to not go all Clemson (except for NC State...and Pitt...and Troy, but they won two of those miraculously) and are in prime position for a rematch of the 2014 Orange Bowl.  Deshaun Watson woke up just in time to see himself get invited to New York again, and Clemson rolls into the playoff again.  Clem: 42--VT: 24

B1G: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Draper: I have no clue who to pick here.  Honestly, I wouldn't be shocked by anything short of a Wisconsin offensive showcase.  There may be some playoff implications but likely not unless Washington or Clemson nosedives.  PSU has been hot as the Sun lately while Wisky keeps plodding along and rolling over their opponents with an oppressive defense.  PSU's signature win over the Buckeyes on a fluke play is one of the top wins in the country, while the Badger's premier win is over an LSU team that now has 4 (albeit good) losses.  With that being said, neither of these teams has another win worth patting themselves on the back (Iowa?...nah.)  They keep living on the 'good loss' narrative, but that's not enough to leapfrog the Buckeyes.  I hate that the Bucks aren't in this game, but the resume is simply better than either of these teams even with a win here.  What will happen? Trace McSorley and Saquan Barkley have been on fire, but the Wisky defense will rise up and do just enough for the Badger faithful to emerge with their 3rd B1G championship title game win (2 of which they were nowhere near the best team in the conference).  Enjoy Pasadena.  UW: 17--PSU: 16
Hoying: A small part of me is actually happy the Buckeyes aren't playing in this game. After such an all-consuming victory over the Crying Harbaughs, I don't know what our Bucks could've mustered on just a week's preparation. But the larger part of me is disgusted because I hate Penn State and the thought of them as Big Ten champions makes me violently ill. QB Trace McSorley and B1G Offensive Player of the Year Saquon Barkley (lolololol) have been shredding their opponents since their get-lucky win over Ohio State, including racking up 45 against a spent Michigan State last weekend. Meanwhile, the once-impenetrable Badger D has looked oddly vulnerable in recent games against Purdue and Minnesota. I've believed all season that Wisconsin is the better team, but PSU keeps picking up steam, and I don't trust the Badgers to slow down one of the nation's best second-half comeback teams without 80,000+ strong at Camp Randall to rally them. Penn State...gets to go to the Rose Bowl to face Colorado, and freaking Michigan goes to the playoffs for a super-sexy matchup against Alabama. UW: 20--PSU:24
Schweinfurth:  So, for the record here, I have picked the Pac-12 Title game upset. That brings us to this game. The winner of this game joins OSU, Bama, and Clemson in the playoffs. Seriously. Despite both teams losing to scUM, this win will catapult the winner over the Wolverines. I have no faith in James Franklin as an in-game coach. Saquon Barkley has a banged up ankle but will play. The Badgers have faith in both QB's so Hornybrook's injury may not be an issue here. Trace McSorley is the second coming of Brady Quinn (chuck the ball as high as you can and pray a WR runs under it). That will not fly against an aggressive Badgers defense. Wisconsin puts Penn State back into their rightful place. Remember Wisconsin lost close ON THE ROAD at scUM. A decisive victory knocks the poor Harbooger back to a New Year's Six game (and yes, the tears will sustain me). UW: 35--PSU: 14
Seeberg:  This is what happens when you separate your divisions geographically and you put easily the three best teams historically (OSU, TTUN, PSU) in the same freakin' division.  Dumb conference decisions aside, this one may not be a pretty watch.  Both teams play solid D, Wiscy may also be out its starting QB, and Penn State has looked downright competent on offense the last few weeks.  Like my colleague Mr. Hoying, I believe Wisconsin is the superior team, but Penn State is the superior team right now.  All the fabulous play-calling in the world from Paul Chryst (who only has one week to prepare and doesn't have a home crowd) still won't be enough.  Lions win the Big Ten title *bleh...sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little*  UW: 17--PSU: 23

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Shut Up and Enjoy This

For the third consecutive year, the Buckeyes did not finish the regular season undefeated. For the fifth year in the last six, Ohio State is not the champion of the Big Ten. For the eighth year in the last nine, there's a chance Ohio State will not play for a national championship.


All season long the Buckeye faithful have been carping about how Urban has run out of ideas for the offense, how the team has stagnated after a fast start, how he can't develop a quarterback, how the Bucks will never really be special again until we get Tom Herman back. It's startlingly reminiscent of the chatter in the 2013-14 offseason, when, after a 24-game winning streak came to an end, way, way too many Buckeye fans said that Urban left his best years behind him at Florida, and why did he pick up this bum offensive coordinator from Iowa State of all places?

Then Urban won a national championship after he and Herman made a freshman QB into a Heisman candidate and his playoff replacement into an offensive juggernaut. I thought that might buy him the benefit of the doubt. It did. For 11 months. Now the Buckeyes have lost in back-to-back years to top ten and possible playoff teams, and suddenly the sky is falling again.

Urban Meyer is 61-5 at Ohio State. That's a .924 winning percentage. Better than Knute Rockne at Notre Dame. Better than Bear Bryant at Alabama. Better than Barry Switzer at Oklahoma. Better than Fielding Yost at Michigan. Better than Saban. Better than Bo. Better than Woody. Buckeye Nation is truly in a true golden age.

Big deal, you say. This is Ohio State. We win a lot because we should win. That's how it happens at the elite programs around the country.

Is it? Let's take a look at the top 11 programs in the nation and how they've fared in recent years.

Per Winsipedia, the following 11 real programs are the tops in all-time winning percentage (there's a sizable drop-off after #11).

1. Michigan
2. Boise State Ohio State
3. Notre Dame
4. Alabama
5. Oklahoma
6. Texas
7. USC
8. Nebraska
9. Penn State
10. Florida State
11. Tennessee

1. Michigan

I don't need to tell you what happened here, do I? After opening the 2007 season with the most embarrassing loss in program history (App State), the program decided to move on from Lloyd Carr and kicked off a 46-42 stretch from 2008-2014, including six losses to Ohio State, six losses to Michigan State, three losing seasons, and zero conference championships. Jim Harbaugh seems to have righted the ship (still waiting for that win over Ohio State), but the Bucks haven't had such a stretch of futility in about 100 years.

2. Ohio State

More on this later.

3. Notre Dame

On January 1, 1994, Notre Dame beat 10-1 Texas A&M to cap an 11-1 season and a #2 final ranking. The Irish didn't post another double-digit win season until 2002, and they didn't win a bowl game until the 6-6 2008 team beat Hawai'i in the Hawai'i Bowl. The one time Notre Dame sniffed a national title, they got pasted by Alabama 42-14 (and then the rest of their wins from that season got vacated, but who cares). They went 5-7 in 1999, 5-6 in 2001, 5-7 in 2003, 6-6 in 2004, 3-9 in 2007, 6-6 in 2009, and just finished a 4-8 turd this year. Oh, and the Golden Domers have played Ohio State 4 times during that span, and the Silver Bullets have drilled them 4 times. The once - gold standard in college football is no more.

4. Alabama

SEE? you scream. Alabama gets the same level of recruits as Ohio State and they actually do something with them! 4 national titles in 7 years! OK, sure. There's no denying that we've all been living in Alabama's world since Nick Saban took over (except this guy). But do you remember the coaching carousel that preceded this tyranny? After national championship-winning coach Gene Stallings resigned in disgrace in 1996 having crippled the program by falsifying the eligibility of one of the Tide's players, Alabama endured 24-23 under Mike DuBose (including a 3-8 season in 2000 in which the Tide were preseason #3, and more violations and sanctions), 17-8 under Dennis Franchione (before promptly spurning the Tide for Texas A&M of all places), 0-0 under Mike Price (whoops), and 26-23 under Mike Shula (16 of those wins went bye-bye after, you guessed it, more violations). Kinda makes Tatgate, 6-7, and a bowl ban look like no biggie.

5. Oklahoma

Yeah, not much to criticize here. Oklahoma's probably the second steadiest hand in the nation after the Scarlet and Gray. The Sooners have won at least 7 games every year under Big Game Bob and have won at least 10 games 14 times, but before (and after) Ohio State was ESPN's trendy championship choker, it was Oklahoma that was faceplanting on the big stage. The Sooners won the title in 2000, then proceeded to get run out of the building by USC* in 2004* and Clemson in 2015, and lost tough battles to LSU in 2003 and Florida in 2008. And with a couple more upsets next week, the Sooners might get the chance to blow it again. Also, before Stoops's arrival the Sooners did suffer the following five year streak from 1994-1998 while Ohio State fans were whining about top 5 finishes under John Cooper: 6-6, 5-5-1, 3-8, 4-8, and 5-6. Yikes.

6. Texas

Now we're getting into the more obvious tales of failure. The Longhorns haven't been to a bowl since getting backhanded by Oregon in the 2013 Alamo Bowl, and they haven't won 10 games in a season since Colt McCoy was sacrificed to secure Alabama's unholy rise to power in 2009. They just closed the door on an abject failure of a coaching stint (for real, though, Charlie Strong seems like a great guy and I hope he lands on his feet). Texas was as steady as anyone from 2001-2009, but that must feel like an eternity ago to the Burnt Orange faithful. We'll see if Tom Herman is the panacea Buckeye Nation believes him to be.

7. USC

After the death of Da U, and before the rise of the Saban Death Squad, a little private school from Los Angeles ruled college football. Except, no, they really didn't. Their BCS title from 2004 has been vacated along with Reggie Bush's Heisman, leaving the Trojans with a big fat zero consensus championships from the BCS era. (Nice everybody-gets-a-trophy prize from 2003, USC. Have a seat next to 2012 Ohio State.) But vacated titles aside, people forget how bad USC sucked before Pete Carroll showed up. The kings of Pasadena went to a total of one Rose Bowl from 1990-2002 and had two losing seasons and two .500 seasons in that period. And after Carroll bolted to the NFL and his house of cards collapsed on the program he left behind, they've had to endure Lane Kiffin, the drunken antics of Steve Sarkisian (get well soon, Sark), and two interim coaches, one of whom they jerked around and the other they're now pretending to take seriously. Remember when USC was preseason #1 in 2012 and then finished 7-6? Remember when they got drilled by Alabama 52-6 just 3 months ago? We haven't seen a complete season out of this team in 8 years.

8. Nebraska

Now we're starting to get to the teams that may never recapture their former glory. From 1969 until Tom Osborne's retirement in 1997, the Huskers never lost more than 3 games in a season and never finished unranked. Then Frank Solich went 7-7 in 2002 and everybody panicked and fired him after going 10-3 the next year. Since then, the Huskers haven't cracked the top 10 in the final rankings and haven't lost fewer than 4 games in a season (remember to mark your calendars now for a Nebraska bowl loss). I guess you could consider it a kind of consistency; other than last year's transitional debacle, Nebraska has won at least 9 games every year since 2008. But would you be happy with 9-4 as the new normal and no conference titles this millennium?

9. Penn State

Amazing what joining a conference can do to a paper tiger. The Lions entered the B1G (then the B11G) in 1993 and were expected to dominate. Then they won 1 conference title in their first 12 tries. You may recognize that as 2 less than John Cooper over that same period. As the century turned, Penn State enjoyed 4 losing seasons in 5 years before more or less pulling out of the nosedive to close out JoePa's career. And that's about all that needs to be said. For crying out loud, you haven't woken up any day in the last 5 years and said, "Gee, I wish I were a Penn State fan," have you?

10. Florida State

Uhhhhh...hmmmm...well, in the 1990's, when all the teams I talked about above were busy sucking, the Noles finished in the top 5 fourteen years in a row. But since losing to Oklahoma in the 2001 Orange Bowl, they've done so just twice, coinciding with the Famous Jameis era. No losing seasons, no disasters, but FSU did go from 2004 to 2009 without winning 10 games, and there's no guarantee they'll do so this season (I bet they do).

11. Tennessee

Welcome to the real tragedy on this list. In 1998, Tennessee won the national title after finally being rid of Peyton Manning. Since then, they've won zero SEC championships and have endured 6 losing seasons, including 5 of 6 from 2008-2013. Before last year, they hadn't lost fewer than 6 games in a season since Fulmer was still coaching in 2007, which is also still the last time they won 10 games. With the wide-open SEC East title in front of them this season, they crapped the bed hard against South Carolina and Vanderbilt to return to obscurity for yet another season. I'm sure Rocky Top longs for the days when they would always be #2 in the SEC. But now, they're languishing behind Florida, Georgia, and the entire SEC West.

Back to 2. Ohio State

Back to the Buckeyes. Do you feel a little better about your team now? You know, the one that, other than one season where our coach was forced out 3 months before the season started, has lost more than two games exactly once in the last 11 years? The one that closed out Jim Tressel's career with 6 straight Big Ten titles and 7 straight wins over Michigan? And then, after the aforementioned hiccup, did not lose a single game until two full regular seasons had pased? And then won the national championship with a third-string quarterback? And, but for the 2011 blip, hasn't lost to the Wolverines since 2003? The Navy-Notre Dame rivalry isn't even this one-sided anymore!

Ohio State is the most consistently dominant team in the history of college football, and NOW is its greatest era. No, we're not going to win every single game. Yes, we're going to win the vast, vast majority of them. We may even win another national title or two by the time Urban is done. It might even happen this year, which would be nothing short of miraculous after we sent approximately our entire starting lineup from last year's team to the NFL. But good grief, people, on the heels of Thanksgiving weekend, take a step back and be thankful for where we are right now and what this team has accomplished over the last year, or 4, or 16, or 127. Just about every other team in the NCAA has had it much, much worse.