by Kent Sterling
The group who will decide the four programs that will be invited to compete in the first college football championship in the winter of 2014 will be filled with big name experts on a variety of things – football among them.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will bring diplomatic heft. Michael Gould was the superintendent of the Air Force Academy. Archie Manning is the best father in history and a former All-American quarterback at Ole Miss. Tyrone Willingham, Pat Haden, Barry Alvarez, and Tom Osborne bring the football knowledge and a decided bias because of their current or former positions. There are others with similar resume’s.
That’s alright, this is work that children could accomplish. Picking the best three teams will be very simple, and then picking one of two or three to fill the fourth slot will be debated, but in the end it won’t matter much – not because they will be an easily digested meal for the top seed, but because it just doesn’t make much difference to anyone other than the teams, coaches, alums, and fanbases of those who are considered.
There is debate as to whether Rice belongs as part of this boys’ club. Why shouldn’t she? If Rice doesn’t know the difference between a single wing and a spicy wing, it doesn’t make any difference.
If you had to pick the four teams right now, Alabama is an automatic pick. There are 15 other teams among the top 25 that are undefeated. Oregon looks like a solid #2. They are faster than hell, and don’t just win but obliterate opponents.
Half the work is done, and it took only as long as it took me to type the paragraph. There are four other teams who look really good right now – Clemson, Ohio State, Stanford, and Florida State. Louisville is ranked eight, but play a weak schedule, so they are goners.
Ohio State ran the table last year, and have yet to lose in 2013. Their only real threat the rest of the way is the season ending tilt at the Big House, and then the Big Ten Championship. Despite a game that could have gone either way at Northwestern fell to the Buckeyes, so they get a nod. Clemson beat Georgia, so I like them too.
There’s your four as of right now.
Stanford has a case after beating two ranked teams in Washington and Arizona State. Both games were in Palo Alto. If they want to play their way into the top four, the game on November 7th is a good opportunity. Win and the Cardinal can bump Clemson.
If Florida State wants to crash the party, their game at Clemson next Saturday is their chance.
So not only can I name the four who get in today, but can foresee the road for others to nose their way in. Determining the four who should get in should require no more than a break between courses of a nice meal to pick the best four teams.
It might be easier to send the champions of the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, and Pac 12, but this is sexier if no more difficult.
Where, you might ask, is consideration for the Big 12? The better question is why the Big 12 should lay claim to any of the positions at any point. The Big 12 is continuing to unravel as Texas becomes irrelevant under the leadership of Mack Brown. Oklahoma is ranked #12 with a good win over Notre Dame, but even after running the table in conference, their resume’ will be only slightly more impressive than Louisville’s. Unless every team ahead of them loses one or even twice, the Big 12 is out of the conversation.
I’m no expert about college football, but I’m expert enough to pick the best four teams, and so is Condoleezza Rice.