We’re all a bunch of chumps. We fell for it. We bought it. We drank the Kool-Aid. We believed, with every fiber in our beings, that the College Football Playoff Selection Committee was going to choose the best teams, no strings attached.

Well, the committee was pulling strings, plotting their playoff—our playoff—so it fit what they want and need more than anything else.

Hell, they had us all fooled. Up to the minute they announced their decision. They egged us on, we being Hansel and Gretel, them being the witch. They dropped breadcrumbs for us to follow, ranked TCU third just a week ago, and then baited us into their gingerbread house. A house made or broken by money.

Chairman Jeff Long and the rest of the committee let college football down. (USA Today Sports)
Chairman Jeff Long and the rest of the committee let college football down. (USA Today Sports)

There was no way the committee was ever going to let TCU or the farmhands from Baylor play for their shiny new trophy. Why?

Ohio State, who leap-frogged Baylor and TCU to sneak into the playoff, is the third most popular college football team in America according to a 2013 Harris Poll. Neither Baylor nor TCU is the most popular team in their own state, and it’s not even close.

Ohio State has, after Nick Saban, the most recognizable coach in college football. Baylor has a country boy from Texas, and TCU’s Gary Patterson doesn’t need a hat or sunglasses to detract attention; he’s not getting any.

Ohio State gives ESPN the “third-string QB” storyline. With both their starter and backup out for the season, the Buckeyes need their third stringer to step up, and he did during the Big 10 championship game, routing the Badgers of Wisconsin 56-0.

All Baylor and TCU have is the underdog storyline. That gets old real fast.

Third string out of nowhere QB+Urban Mayer=ESPN's version of an all-you-can-eat buffet
Third string out of nowhere QB+Urban Mayer=ESPN’s version of an all-you-can-eat buffet

Say what they will, Ohio State isn’t playing in the championship because they played in a league championship, and the Big 12 doesn’t have one. It’s not about Ohio State being a better team—they’re on their third-string quarterback!!! The Buckeyes’ only loss (coming at the hands of a 6-6 Virginia Tech team) was worse than either Baylor’s or TCU’s. Heck, the Big 10 isn’t even as tough a conference as the Big 12.

It’s so painfully obvious, though. How could we not see this coming?

The committee was never going to give Baylor or TCU a second-thought. They weren’t going to pass up the ESPN slob-fest of a group that is Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. Swap Ohio State out for the Bears or the Horned Frogs, and your playoff becomes one of those “which one does not belong?” questions.

When I tuned in to the radio simulcast of the committee’s announcement while driving home from tennis on Sunday, I wanted to be pleased. I wanted to be able to put my faith in this committee. I wanted them to do their job, to pick the best team. They didn’t, so now they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

When they are there, they’re going to steal the soul of college football, put it in moneybags, and we’ll pretend nothing changed.



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