Tag Archives: College Football Playoff

Would you take 75 to 1 odds?

By Kaleb Page

Let’s hop back in time for just a moment.

Let me take you back to a marquee game under the lights in Columbus, OH on September 6, 2014.

The game was between The Ohio State Buckeyes and Virginia Tech Hokies. A night game in the Horseshoe is a tall task for any team let alone Virginia Tech. However when the Hokies came to town they went all out on an Ohio State team that was still in the infancy stage in their season development.

The buckeyes just prior to the start of the season lost their center piece, the one everyone thought the entire season hinged on: Braxton Miller. When Miller went down, in stepped someone who everyone was scrambling to figure where he even came from. J.T. Barett took the reins and in only his second start faced off with the talented defensive mind of Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Foster also took advantage of an offensive line that was replacing four starters, three of which went on to be starters in the NFL.

All night Ohio State could just never seem to get it going. Whether it was dropped passes, poor blocking or even missed assignments on defense; there was a multitude of deficiencies to point out.

Upon losing the game 35-21 in a stunning home defeat, many looked to this team as a lost cause. A team that had no chance to even get anywhere near the college football playoff. The teams’ odds after the first game were 12 to 1. After the defeat, ESPN’s Darren Rovell found a ticket in Las Vegas that had the buckeyes at 75 to 1 odds to win the national championship.

Now I am no betting man but whoever had that ticket has to be doing a happy dance at this very moment.

Even though there were countless naysayers, tough road games, a loss of another quarterback and even the death of a teammate; this team became the ultimate definition of a team. Each and every week players on both sides of the ball stepped up to make plays and show how the team was growing. Even if I was not a fan of Ohio State I would have to be blown away with the resiliency and manner with which this team handled itself after so much adversity.

The college football playoff berth by the Buckeyes was set up after a 59-0 demolition with a third string quarterback (Cardale Jones) making his first ever start. It didn’t get any easier when the seeding gave the Buckeyes a match-up with the king of the SEC: Alabama. A game essential in Alabama’s back-yard, was just the second start for Jones but at the same time a coming out party for the talent, speed and physicality that this team developed from that loss early in September.

This past Monday night saw the improbable tale culminate the way it was meant to with Ohio State beating another stout team in Oregon. The first ever undisputed champion in college football history. Most teams that would have experienced the things this team did would have crumbled and maybe would have even struggled to go .500.

This team took that notion that they should feel sorry for themselves and threw it out the window. From “the slobs” (nickname of Ohio State’s offensive line) upfront developing into an unmatched force, Ezekiel Elliot fulfilling his potential to be a potent threat, a defense that found its mojo (the silver bullet defense is brewing up) and arguably the best coach in college football Urban Meyer; this team is complete. Their mantra of “The Power of The Unit” grew and grew as they needed everyone to make this dream a reality.

So do you want to take those 75-1 odds now…I sure wish I had way back when.

The Buckeyes mission is complete.

Who Spiked the Kool-Aid?!: SEC shocked, the miracle ride continues and more

By Kaleb Page

As the final days left in the college football season start to dwindle down, this bowl season gave us all some great moments, players and story lines. Whether it was the Camellia Bowl or the Rose Bowl this season of bowls and the inaugural college football playoff brought a great end to what was (at least for me) a season where almost every Saturday was a great slate of college football games.

As this cap played out over the weeks the theme of how dominant the SEC is took a huge hit. Even though the SEC did go 7-5 overall as a conference, the mystique of the conference left many in the sports world wondering what happened since the conference only went 2-4 against ranked opponents. Even though the piece was full of satire the title of Clay Travis’s piece on Fox Sports was something of interest. The title read “The SEC is Dead, Long live the SEC,” yes it is over the top and it is supposed to be, but there needs to be a discussion on this topic; discussion on is everyone else finally starting to catch-up?

With the introduction of the playoff and new varying bowl match making, is the SEC starting to come back down a bit? I would agree with some analysts who say that the conferences are starting to show parody but to say the SEC is completely terrible now is something I won’t go forth in saying quite yet. It is better in the end to see that more teams are coming into the fold and we aren’t being completely hammered with how the SEC is better than everyone else. Parody no matter what the sport is makes it that much more enjoyable because it makes things more interesting and competitive, instead of seeing the same old same old year after year.

The SEC has their bad teams just like every other conference. For those still over sipping on the SEC kool-aid and notice that nasty taste in your mouth don’t look at me, instead look at the Big Ten and other conferences that crashed the party.

The perception change that happened over the past few weeks to the SEC could really put in full effect by one team slaying the SEC’s biggest giant.

The Ohio State Buckeyes went into New Orleans, LA and faced the big bully on the block from the SEC: Alabama. As big as a nine-point underdog, it looked like the magical run by the buckeyes was doomed to be ended with such force that it might as well not even be played. Isn’t that why we play the game though? You play the game to prove that sentiment that the underdog has no chance wrong and for the buckeyes they did just that. Even though they got down early in the game, the buckeyes showed that they had the heart to win and continue their magical journey. The journey though still has another huge task in the way.

Monday night puts the end to all the talk on who the best team is in college football. Finally with the playoff we all will know that there is a definitive champion. Oregon off its impressive win versus FSU showed how potent their offense is and that the talk of them being “finesse” is something far from the truth. As mentioned above Ohio State looks to cap off an impressive season full of adversity by winning it all and showing what it means to be a complete team. It will be interesting to see these two teams play since both teams are full of great players and coaches. Making this game a battle more than just a physical one on the field, but one that is a mental chess match as well.

For the way this season will come to an end it pushes the old phrase “don’t drink the kool-aid” to the front. For all that we heard that the majority trend for people was to lean one way or the other (mainly on SEC teams), it truly shows at the end of this season that putting your full confidence towards one frame of mind is almost foolish. It also has shown that to essentially “drink the kool-aid or go only off of the thoughts of the majority,” is a habit we all need to break. To say I’ve been insusceptible to this would be foolish too, but I will say for the majority of this season I stayed away from the punch bowl so many others drank out of.

Hopefully next season we all can stay away from the kool-aid and make our own thoughts. Until then don’t drink the kool-aid too much…you’ve been warned.

The Power of the Unit: How this statement will be tested for Ohio State

By Kaleb Page

For the Ohio State football team the past few days have seen more adversity thrown their way than most teams might experience in an entire season. If you look at any photos, press releases, etc. the mantra for this team is “Power of the Unit.” A mantra that holds that everyone on the team makes the unit not just one single player, also that in order to be a success it is how strong of a bond the team has. This mantra is surely at its toughest test as we make it to the end of the college football season.

Saturday was something that everyone in the state of Ohio and Michigan would say is “The Game.” The rivalry was like most years of the game full of intense moments and a hard-fought match up despite the records. Despite the end result, with Ohio State pulling away late to win 42-28; the win felt empty.

In the fourth quarter J.T. Barrett was running a play he had run hundreds of times during the season. A read option play where he could hand it off or take off and in this case Barrett took off up the field. As he was tackled his leg fell under a Michigan player and then more fell on top. As the pile got up; Barrett did not. After being carted off the field it was discovered that Barrett wouldn’t be back for the rest of the season with a broken ankle, thus ultimately throwing another plot twist in already what was a season full of twists for the buckeyes.

Even though this could affect what Ohio State does for the college playoff and will be a test on how well the coaches can get the team to play despite a loss on the field, there was event prior to “The Game” that makes the one above pale in comparison.

Early Wednesday morning a walk on defensive lineman and wrestler at Ohio State went missing. Kosta Karageorge was known by teammates to be a funny, kind and a gentle giant. As a senior he was supposed to be honored at the final home game of the season against Michigan. Unfortunately for all the hopes and wishes to be found safely in time to be back with the team, Karageorge would not be there Saturday. This story ended with the ultimate sadness that Karageorge was found early Sunday morning dead of what was concluded to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

This heart-break and sadness will test this team in not just the way of losing someone to play. It will test how true this team is in its togetherness and ability to be there for one another. Urban Meyer said this week, “I can just say, this is an extremely close team that does a lot of things together and cares about each other.” If this statement is as true as Meyer says, then this team should be able to rally around each other in this tough time losing not only a teammate but a close friend forever. Something they will have to do relatively quickly for a big test yet ahead of them.

This Saturday night is the Big Ten Championship game between this Ohio State team and the Wisconsin Badgers. If Ohio State plans on making it out of Indianapolis with a win and the shot at being in the first edition of the college football playoff, then they better be as strong a team as they say.

One thing is for sure when it comes to this team in particular, they have all the reason to not show up Saturday. Whether it is because they have lost their second quarterback of the season, the pressure of doubters saying how can they even be in the playoff discussion or for the fact they lost more than a teammate but a friend forever over the holidays; this team has all the reason to fold in.

Hopefully they do play to their mantra of the “Power of the Unit” and show what it truly means to be a close-knit team willing and able to persevere through anything as long as they are together.

College Football Playoff Committee Faces Massive Media Scruntity

By Nick Muhl

This year’s NCAA college football season marks the first year of the new college football playoff. The four teams are to be selected by the college football playoff committee, which is made up of 11 individuals (originally was 12, Archie Manning stood down due to medical reasons) all coming from different backgrounds. Some of the committee includes members from the college athletic community like Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich and former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt. Others were questionably chosen because of their noted fandom of the sport, like former Secretary of State Condelezza Rice.

The criteria the committee will analyze during their decision in picking the final four teams is as follows: Wins, Head-to-Head results, conference championships, strength of schedule, common opponents, and injuries to key players. The final criteria listed, injuries to key players, may present the committee with one of the toughest decisions it has ever faced.

While the criteria for the each committee member to consider is listed, the amount each criteria applies to the to voter’s decision is entirely up to them. The process for the committee will be completely subjective, meaning some members may hold a season-ending injury such as Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T Barrett as more damaging to the Buckeyes than another committee members.

Jason Kirk, writer for SB Nation, published an article on October 28th, titled 9 Potential Problems with the college football playoff committee. Long before Ohio State Quarterback J.T Barrett went down to a broken ankle, Kirk predicted that the criteria for “key injuries” could be troublesome for the college football playoff committee to analyze and explain its level of importance.

“The committee will consider “other relevant factors such as key injuries that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.” That “postseason performance” part hasn’t been explained much, but it sounds troublesome.”

Kirk also cites the hypocrisy of the criteria itself. For instance, there is no criteria for factoring in Ohio State’s win over a Cincinnati team with a then healthy starting quarterback. Cincinnati now looks like a week non conference win for the Buckeyes, considering the Bearcats season deteriorated after losing starting quarterback Gunner Keil.

By no means am I a Buckeye supporter, in fact as a Michigan Wolverine fan I would somewhat enjoy to watch Buckeye fans cringe as they miss out on the first college football playoff. However, one has to wonder if the committee would factor in a season-ending injury to Jameis Winston, quarterback for the Florida Seminoles. The Seminoles have gone undefeated in a power five conference, but only have one team left on their schedule that they defeated – Louisville, who remains ranked. Compared to the Buckeyes, who do have one loss, strength of schedule should play a significant factor in the eyes of Buckeye fans. The same goes for TCU, and even Baylor, who despite defeating TCU trails them in the college football playoff standings. What if Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin, currently in the top 5 of the Heisman watch list, was to go down this week in practice? How about Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty who left their game early due to concussion symptoms while Baylor barely hung on to a victory over Texas Tech?

A college football playoff that was created to lower the criticism of who is named the national champion of college football, now has the NCAA facing possibly the most postseason scrutiny ever. With conference championships remaining, the committee has very little football left before they make their final decision. One has to question why the NCAA gave the voters the subjective choice on how to order their criteria by importance. Now the Ohio State Buckeyes and Baylor Bears, who were already possibly facing the outside looking in to begin with, may be punished and kept out of the playoffs due to their quarterbacks injuries.

No matter what the final decision is, the NCAA can look forward to the many questions it will receive from the media and fans regarding how they came about choosing the final four teams.

College Football Committee

By Kia Tyus

Dan Wetzel wrote an article on whether the College Football Playoff Committee is making fair choices, and if their choices are influenced by outside behavior.

Wetzel made a host of great points throughout the article, one of them being whether or not there is there a point in the Top 25 poll? Wetzel made suggestions that there is no longer a point in the Top 25 polls because of the recently new playoffs. With the new playoffs, the top four teams in the nation make it. Therefore, if I chose to agree with this thought, I would suggest maybe that the NCAA should start doing a top seven-team poll. That way the nation would have an idea of who would be the first four teams in and the next two teams out.

Another suggestion Wetzel had was criticizing how fair it would be if there were three to four Southeastern Conference (SEC) teams to make the playoffs. Wetzel stated that the teams that should make the playoffs should deserve to be there. My question to challenge this would be to think about the other undefeated teams in the nation. Many teams can’t help the conference that they play in.

I feel personally that the committee recycles the top seven or eight teams until they have two or more losses. Which isn’t fair to the few teams that continue to win games week in and week out.

Wetzel suggested that the committee might be influenced by the outrage that pours in each week. I feel like he may have a point because in a scenario of a low-level team matching up with a team with the skill level of Alabama, it wouldn’t be as entertaining for fans to watch. While there is a slight chance that the public influences the committee, it is still a thought to think about.

The final point that Wetzel made was the fact that the ranking system will probably not be changed in the near future. I completely agree with Wetzel with this. In reality, the top 25 ranking system gets college football fans talking every week. More and more people tune in every week to watch college football and every Tuesday to see who is ranked in the top four.

Ohio State Making a Case to Crash Playoff Party

By Matt Rogers

Over the weekend there were was certainly was no shortage of important games in college football. None of the outcomes to these games may prove to be more important than #14 Ohio State’s 49-37 victory over #8 Michigan State. The victory for the Buckeyes put them in the driver’s seat in the race for the Big Ten’s East Division crown, and in a promising position in terms of this week’s upcoming College Football Playoff Rankings.

Though the College Football Playoff Rankings have not yet been released, Ohio State has gained a substantial amount of respect from numerous members of the media and from the voters in the Associated Press Poll, jumping into the #8 ranking in the latest AP poll.

The one thing that may be the straw that breaks the Buckeyes’ back is their 14-point loss to Virginia Tech in the second game of the season. This loss is considered by most in the media to be a “bad” loss because the Hokies of Virginia Tech have gone on to lose five of their last seven games since that game. The Hokies have also posted a 1-4 record in the ACC, which most in the media consider the weakest of the Power Five conferences (Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Pac-12, and Big 12).

As far as that loss to Va Tech goes, some members of the media claim that Ohio State should be given a mulligan because the team was only a few weeks removed from their star player and Quarterback, Braxton Miller, suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. The team had to turn to a redshirt freshman Quarterback, JT Barrett, who hadn’t played in a game since the fourth game of his senior season of high school football. Not to mention that the team was also breaking in four new starters on the offensive line. The Va Tech game was only Barrett’s second college start, the first being against what most consider to be an inferior opponent in Navy.

Since that loss, OSU has rattled off seven straight wins and accumulating a 5-0 record against Big Ten opponents. The media outlets, namely ESPN, that are covering the release tonight’s upcoming College Football Playoff Rankings have speculated that the Buckeyes will not only enter the top ten in the new rankings, but will be squarely in the conversation to be part of the four teams that will ultimately be a part of the brand new College Football Playoff that the NCAA has implemented this season.

There are still a few weeks that remain in the college football season. There is bound to be some chaos, as there always is. Only one thing is certain; nothing that the members of the media and the so-called experts say has any bearing on what the 12-man committee will vote. The CFP rankings for this week will be released at 7:30 ET.

College Football Playoff Committee: Lose-Lose Situation

By Kaleb Page

This Tuesday night the College Football Playoff Committee releases their highly anticipated playoff rankings (to this point). These rankings will be the first set of the year done by this class of committee members. With these rankings however there is certain to be a high amount of scrutiny, and it is only the first one.

That is why I beg the question: Is this committee in a lose-lose situation? Already I am reading an article with the headline “What the College Football Playoff Committee is already getting wrong.” To think the BCS had people going bonkers, could pale in comparison to what people might do after Tuesday nights reveal and even later on when the final four is set in place.

To some and to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports who wrote the article above, a committee releasing rankings at this point is a bad idea. I think that rankings should not be released anywhere in the beginning of the season even for the AP Poll or the Coach’s Poll. Seems ridiculous to me to make out where you see a team ranked even before they hit the field. However, I think that right now in this point of the season you know what you are getting from teams, and a good barometer of where you stand in the playoff hunt is a good thing to know. This may be one small victory in my mind for the College Playoff Committee, in waiting awhile to get a sense of the whole picture before making a judgement.

When it all comes down to it though, this committee of 12 individuals is probably fighting a battle they can’t win. They can try to justify their procedures and processes for seeding and eventual selection for the playoff, but they will never be right.

Right now if you take a look at the landscape of college football you probably could not tell me one team that is complete, lock-down, or dominate on both sides of the ball. Yeah we may have two undefeated teams in Mississippi St. and Florida St., but they are not untouchable by any means and could topple over in coming weeks. When looking at the records of the top 25 at the moment, there are 15 teams out of the 25 with only one loss and a legitimate chance of becoming an option to be in the playoff. Then by the end of the year there could be no undefeated teams which makes things even harder. Then when looking at how the SEC and PAC-12 are valued higher, what happens when a two loss team in either conference has an impressive resume and is still sitting behind a one-loss Ohio State or Michigan St.; what will they do then?

Think about that or better yet place yourself in the board room right now as the committee. Feel the pressure? Knowing that you have to somehow dwindle down a list as long as Santa’s to just a mere four teams. Oh and I forgot no matter what you pick to have in your playoff, you will have somebody (or fan-base) out there screaming for your head on a platter.

This group of members has a lot of homework to do and will obviously have a lot of explaining after their release Tuesday night. With this little sample being thrown our way, it will have (for me at least) a big deal of excitement. This will ultimately have me on the edge of my seat even more as this college football season starts to wind down toward the playoff.

As for the teams with a one out of a million shot to make it in the playoff like East Carolina, Marshall, and Duke; keep the mindset of a wise guy by the name of Lloyd Christmas and say, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?!” Maybe just maybe this committee will select you guys to join the party at the end of the year.

Either way, have fun College Football Playoff Committee becoming the new BCS and something a majority of people love to hate.