LSU football fans often tire of Nick Saban’s College Football Playoff rants. However, his recent comments identify the system’s philosophical flaw.
LSU football ended Nick Saban’s chase for another College Football Playoff appearance in 2022. However, some believe the Crimson Tide belonged in the field of four despite losing games at Tennessee and in Death Valley. Saban stated his case during a recent interview with Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt.
“So but the problem is the way the whole system is, there’s no account for that, right,” Saban explained to Klatt. “So, all we do is take the teams that win the most games at the end of the year, put them in the playoffs. But do you really get the best teams?”
Saban’s latest gripe is fueled by his claim that they told him that Alabama would be favored to beat three of the four CFP teams in 2022. The Tide head coach did not elaborate on who they are, but we suspect the three teams he referred to are Michigan, TCU, and Ohio State.
Does the CFP committee want the four best teams or the most deserving teams in the country?
Many LSU football fans will verbally aim at Saban for (again) complaining about the CFP, but he raises a valid point. Does the CFP committee want the four best teams or the most deserving teams in the country? There is a difference.
The 2022 TCU Horned Frogs are an example of a team that was arguably among the most deserving of a CFP spot but not a top-four operation. TCU was a fun story, but a weak slate of conference opponents enabled their unblemished regular season record. Moreover, the Frogs dropped their conference championship game against Kansas State. The same Kansas State that Alabama obliterated in the Sugar Bowl.
Conversely, TCU beat Michigan in the CFP semifinals. However, their appearance in the CFP championship game did little to attract the national television audience.
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Like many, LSU football fans have racked their brains over the CFP committee’s approach to selecting the top four teams. Including a pair of conference title game losers in 2022 is the latest example of the committee saying one thing but doing another. The group also remains oblivious to the strength of schedule metrics and is oddly reluctant to consider 2-loss teams. Perhaps most aggravating is the committee’s blatant efforts to seed their top four to avoid conference title game rematches.
An expanded CFP field in 2024 is a giant leap in the right direction but doesn’t solve the issue of seeding philosophy.
Ultimately, the CFP committee must outwardly admit their purpose, to showcase major programs on the national stage and attract revenue. It’s also advantageous to embrace the attention drawn by controversy. Can you imagine Twitter last December if Alabama was ranked No. 4? We doubt ESPN would have had an issue with such.
LSU football fans must expect the steep ratings decline from the most recent title game to force the committee’s hand moving forward. The reality is the CFP is more about making money and less about crowing a champion. As such, much like the Super Bowl, the event is structured with the casual fans in mind. They know you’ll watch, regardless of the matchup, but attracting (and maintaining) the interest of the majority is the goal.
But of course, LSU football dropping games to Texas A&M and Georgia crushed our argument for their 2022 CFP appearance.