Well, here we are.
Nearly a decade after its institution, the College Football Playoff is already becoming outdated.
The final selections were released on Sunday morning, and Oregon fans all over the nation groaned. Not just because Washington was sitting in one of the coveted spots, but also because Oregon’s Fiesta Bowl matchup was, er, a tad underwhelming.
The Ducks will face Liberty (oh, you hadn’t heard of them either eh?) on January 1st, and yes, its a head-shaker.
But I’m not saying it couldn’t be a good game. Non-power five schools treat these games like their Super Bowl, and the Ducks can’t be dragging their heels about not getting into the CFP. Because the truth is...they never had a chance.
Oregon’s second loss to Washington was just as much their own fault as the one in October. You can’t fall behind 20-3 against a team like that. You can’t allow your top-rated offense to be almost non-existent for nearly an entire half. If you’re a defensive-minded team, your defense has to come through in the clutch.
But even if a few of the factors had leaned Oregon’s way and they’d held off the Huskies, Oregon wasn’t headed to the CFP anyway.
Yep, I said it.
The proof is in the roar of rage issuing from Tallahassee, where Florida State experienced one of the biggest robberies in recent sports memory. The Noles are 13-0, conference champions, have a signature win over LSU, and have defied all the odds being down to their third-string quarterback and relying on their absolutely stellar defense.
And yet, they’re not in.
So it makes you realize, if an undefeated ACC team can’t get in, what chance does a one-loss Pac-12 team have?
Georgia coach Kirby Smart argued for his own team claiming that despite the SEC championship loss to Alabama, they were still one of “best” four teams.
His argument couldn’t hold up against UW, who didn’t have a loss and beat a Top 10 team twice. But what about a one loss team that had only one win over a Top 10 opponent? Not only that, a team that he had waxed 49-3 the year before?
You think the undefeated Seminoles would be kept out to a one loss Pac-12 Champion either?
Oregon wasn’t going to Pasadena or New Orleans no matter what they did. Only chance they might of had would have been obliterating Washington, but that was never going to happen, the Huskies are just a bad matchup for them.
So here we sit, watching the final season of the four-team model; at first brilliant, now, a mess.
With the proper 12-team playoff forthcoming, Oregon will eventually get its shot at the ultimate prize. And if player departures and recruiting are any indicator, they won’t have to worry much about Washington after this year.
But it wasn’t going to happen in 2023. The selection committee would have made sure of that.