Getting it right
Last updated 1/3/2024 at 10:57am
It certainly was a wild weekend for college football. Of course, if everything would have played out according to who was favored then we wouldn’t have such a controversial final four that was chosen by the committee on Sunday. But, as they say, that is why you play the game.
Friday night the final Pac 12 championship game was played and it was a great game. Washington beat Oregon by three for the second time this season and since they had already been a part of the chosen four during the week they were certain to be in the top 2 or 3 when the college football playoff brackets were delivered to the sporting public.
I remember just a few years ago when the Pac 12 was considered a substandard league and making it into the playoffs was a reason to garner a belly laugh from anyone who would listen. And this year the sporting world was saying that the best QBs were from the Pac 12. There were also a few that were saying that if Oregon beat Washington in a close game then maybe both teams would earn a spot in the final four. That wasn’t going to happen. I don’t care if the game went into four OTs. There are just some things that won’t happen.
So after a great game between two really good teams the ending of the Pac 12 conference football play is over. I know that there will be bowl games but I’m talking about the end of true rivalries. Yeah I know that Oregon and Washington and USC and UCLA will renew their rivalries as Big 10 foes a day or two after Thanksgiving but the death of the Pac 12 is sinister and something that should have been avoided. USC had way too much power in the final discussion of all things Pac 12. Their decline this season has actually been fun to watch by people like me that really don’t care for them. They may get a bunch of money moving to the new time zones but that won’t guarantee them championships.
It looks like WSU and Oregon State will be part of the Mountain West Conference at some point in time. If it will be the MWC or Pac something is yet to be seen but a conference where OSU and WSU could certainly be competitive.
The college football playoff will see #1 Michigan playing Alabama who upset the previous #1 Georgia on Saturday by 3. That game will be played in the Rose Bowl. The #2 Washington Huskies will play #3 Texas in the Sugar Bowl game. Texas edged out Alabama in the seeding because they beat Alabama in September on Alabama’s home turf.
Now Florida State was the #4 seed and won the ACC championship with their 3rd string quarterback in a lackluster offensive game but with really good defense. They complete their season at 14-0 and will play Georgia in the Orange Bowl. This is a very fitting match up since they would have played each other in the CFP had Georgia beaten Alabama. Had Georgia won Michigan would have been playing Washington in the Rose Bowl. Florida State is the odd man out for not blowing out Louisville in the ACC championship game.
Next year there will be an expanded playoff format which means that Georgia, Florida State, Oregon and Ohio State would have also received an invite if it was in place this year. Those teams that aren’t in the playoffs may see some of their guys opt out of playing in a bowl game which is a shame. They commit to play in big games yet a bowl games isn’t big enough anymore.
As an EWU fan, I have seen the FCS playoff format expand to 24 teams. Since there are no bowl games in the FCS a team usually needs to win at least 7 games but most need 8 victories to be considered as deserving of a playoff invite. Does every team that receives an invitation to make a playoff run have a chance to be champions? No but upsets happen and favorites fall and the ball sometimes bounces strange. Not every game is won by the favorite which makes it so much fun.
It will be interesting how the decisions will be made as to who will be playing in the expanded format. It will be easier but there will be teams that won’t make it and they will not be happy. Getting it right should be easier than getting it wrong.
— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].