College football weekend seems primed to put pressure on the selection committee

By Dan Escalona

Here it is, folks: the impending arrival of possibly the most important weekend in the uneasy sprint to the College Football Playoff.

This weekend will either serve to slightly clarify the top four contenders or blur the race even further.

Not only will Nov. 21 be a season-defining week for many playoff hopefuls, it will also put the selection committee squarely under the microscope as Dec. 6 creeps ever closer.

The results of this coming Saturday can either maintain the status quo in the CFP race, or just as likely create infinitely more confusion.

Even a casual observer of college football will most likely bet on the latter. This is college football after all — where clarity of the top four teams is never definite.

The most recent playoff rankings have the top four as Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame, but these latest rankings will be upended depending on what goes down Saturday.

The weekend’s three biggest games are as follows: Michigan State vs. Ohio State, Baylor vs. Oklahoma State and TCU vs. Oklahoma. All three involve teams in the top 15 nationally.

The winners and losers of these three games will either be one step closer to the playoff or find those hopes firmly extinguished. Above all, though, these games’ results could just as easily unleash chaos.

If you are one to prefer more order — relatively speaking — root for the Buckeyes, Cowboys and Sooners. That way, the Spartans will be officially eliminated, as will the Horned Frogs and the Bears, by virtue of having two losses.

Therefore, Ohio State retains its perch in the three spot, while Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have a rivalry game to likely determine the fourth entrant in the playoff.

These results will probably make things easier to follow for you the fan and for the selection committee too.

Now, if you rather watch the world burn — as the Joker from Dark Knight would — then root for Michigan State, Baylor and TCU.

A Michigan State victory over the Buckeyes would put it right back into the thick of things, and make the Big Ten East that much more up in the air — potentially opening the door for Iowa.

A TCU victory over Oklahoma would recharge the Horned Frogs’ playoff chances, while simultaneously destroying the Sooners’ chances only one week after they had stormed back into the playoff hunt with a win over Baylor.

Likewise, a Baylor victory over Oklahoma State would serve to revitalize the Bears’ hopes, and stunt the momentum recently built up by the Cowboys.

Presumably, other crazy things could happen to the other top contenders. Yet, this is unlikely as Notre Dame, Alabama, Clemson and Iowa have winnable matchups.

The biggest benefactor of all the chaos would be the average college football fan, while the biggest loser would be the selection committee itself.

The selection committee is in the unenviable position of being criticized for whatever decision it makes — regardless of what logic seems to be applied. Just consider the case of Baylor and TCU last year.

Whatever happens Saturday will put greater heat upon the committee.

As the season enters its final three weeks, the selection committee will be forced to answer a slew of tough questions. One of the primary questions being: does being undefeated versus having one loss really matter?

The answer to this question will give great insight into the rationale behind why teams are ranked where they are.

To be honest, though, the selection committee probably doesn’t weigh undefeated teams above one loss teams. This is probably why Alabama and Notre Dame currently occupy the top four above undefeated teams like Iowa and Oklahoma State.

I think the bigger question is the following: is the selection committee’s method of choosing the top four the most reasonable?

Currently, the committee is made up of 12 individuals — which doesn’t strike me as democratic. It might be time to consider changing the way the committee makes its decisions.

It’s wouldn’t hurt to consider allowing a larger cross-section of journalists, coaches and athletic directors to vote for the CFP each week.

Given the unpredictable nature of the playoff every year, allowing individuals to vote on it may make for a fairer system.

Of course, consideration of that question will have to come later.

Saturday promises to be another topsy-turvy day in college football, and whatever craziness does ensue, the selection committee will have its hands full in making its selections.

?Dan is a senior in Media.

?[email protected]?

@danescalona77