Every Saturday for the last three months, and pretty much every day in between, when ESPN promoted college football and the road to the four-team playoff, they'd end with the question, “Who's In?”. We finally got the answer Saturday, and although no one is really saying the selection committee got it wrong, the fourth and final choice garnered substantial debate.
Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame all completed undefeated seasons, and are ranked as the top three respectively. Fans, coaches, reporters, and pundits (whoever those people are) thought the committee had three relatively good choices for number four. Those three were Georgia, Oklahoma, and Ohio State.
If you are a Big 10 fan, and think Ohio State deserved to get in over the other two just because the Buckeyes scored 62 points in their win against rival Michigan, who was ranked fourth at the time, sorry but you're wrong. Ohio State was ranked tenth when they beat Michigan, and moved up to sixth before defeated Northwestern in the conference title game. They were always ranked behind Georgia and Oklahoma, and if previous rankings mean anything, they were not about to move ahead of the Sooners, who won their game this weekend against Texas. They didn't. Case dismissed.
Georgia and Oklahoma, though, is a great argument. As sports talk show hosts like to do, ask yourself if Georgia is one of the four best teams in the country. Your answer might very well be yes. They just lost to top-ranked Alabama, led by double digits in the second half, and played the best any team has played against the Crimson Tide all year. But they lost.
Oklahoma won a shootout with Texas in rhe Big 12 title game, avenging their only loss. The Sooners loss came early in the year to a team they eventually beat. Ohio State lost to Purdue. Purdue!! Georgia has two losses now—one to top ranked Alabama in the SEC Championship, and a loss to LSU, which is much better than losing to Purdue. Everything points to Oklahoma as the right answer, and that was the committee's choice. However...
ESPN was on for four hours Sunday morning with their selection show, and not once (well I didn't watch all four hours) did they mention the real reason the committee picked Oklahoma. Okay, it may not have been * the * reason, but it is a significant one, and (I did see the interview with the committee chair, and) this was never brought up. Whichever team was selected fourth, would play number one Alabama in one of the semi-finals (December 29 on ESPN). Clemson-Notre Dame (two versus three) is set.
If Georgia got in, they would play, Alabama. Again. We just saw that on Saturday. Great game. And if Jalen Hurts doesn't come off the bench to lead the Tide to two touchdowns, Georgia would have won. If it could have been finagled somehow that Georgia and Alabama could possibly meet in the grand finale, that would be one thing, but two games in a row, albeit four weeks apart? A wise choice to pass. We've seen Georgia try to beat 'Bama. Now let's see if Oklahoma can do it.
Smellin' like a Rose: This may be one of the best non-championship related Rose Bowl matchups in quite some time. With Ohio State out of the top four, the 'Grandaddy of them All' gets the traditional Big 10-Pac 12 matchup. New Year's Day in Pasadena will feature #6 Ohio State against #9 Washington. UCLA and USC should be very comfortable in front of their television sets.
More than sleepless: Do you remember when Jerry DiPoto was a relief pitcher for the New York Mets (1995-96)? Now, the Seattle Mariners GM and Jersey City, NJ native, who has made well over a dozen trades during his tenure in the northwest, has made two deals in one day, including a blockbuster in Queens. The Mariners have sent their young stud closer Edwin Diaz and eight time All-Star second baseman (and steroid boy) Robinson Cano to New York for five players, including outfielder Jay Bruce and pitcher Anthony Swarzak. Hours later, DiPoto finalized a deal with Philadelphia, sending Jean Segura and two other players for first baseman Carlos Santana and shortstop J.P. Crawford. Expect program sales to go way up at Safeco Field next year. You can't tell the players without a scorecard.
More baseball: We thought it was 'announced' more than a week ago, but today it became official. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California hired Brad Ausmus as their new manager and the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles signed manager Dave “Doc” Roberts a four-year contract. If Roberts gets paid by the pitching change or the double-switch, he will be a very wealthy man.
Back to football: My mom's sports dream is a Dodgers-Angels World Series. When I told her this weekend that a Rams-Chargers Super Bowl was a real possibility, she made some sound of enthusiasm, but not really.