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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Grey Satterfield

Column: College football's chaos theory

As we embark on the final weekend of the college football season, many debates seem to have been put to rest. But maybe, just maybe, 2007 will come and knock down the house of cards on the College Football Playoff committee’s table and they’ll be left to put together the pieces Sunday.

Here are the five games that actually matter next weekend:

  • Arizona takes on Oregon in the Pac-12 championship (Friday, 8 p.m.)
  • Alabama takes on Missouri in the SEC championship (Saturday, 3 p.m.)
  • Kansas State travels to Baylor (Saturday, 6:45 p.m.)
  • Florida State plays Georgia Tech in the ACC championship (Saturday, 7 p.m.)
  • Wisconsin fights with Ohio State for the Big Ten crown (Saturday, 7:17 p.m.)

Now! Let’s introduce a little anarchy. Let’s say Arizona beats Oregon, Missouri beats Alabama, K-State beats Baylor, GT takes down the ‘Noles and Wisconsin wins its third Big Ten title game in four years. Suddenly the committee would have no idea what to do with its burning heap of a ranking.

Also, the likelihood of all five results tripping this way is a bit much, but two or three… I can dream, right?

So if Oregon loses to Arizona, the Ducks would fall to 11-2 with two losses to the Wildcats who would also stand at 11-2. By any stretch of the imagination, you’d have to rank Arizona ahead of Oregon. There’s no way not to.

If Missouri knocks off Alabama, the Crimson Tide would fall to 11-2, and the Tigers would be right there at 11-2 as well. However, it’s hard to think a team that lost at home to Indiana would ever catapult into the Top 4. Also, side note, how the hell did Indiana win that game?

If K-State beats Baylor both of those teams would be 11-2, but TCU, barring a catastrophe at home to Iowa State, would have one loss and win the Big 12 outright.

If Georgia Tech can end the Noles’ winning streak at 27, FSU would be 12-1 and Georgia Tech would climb to 11-2.

Finally, if the Badgers beat the Buckeyes, you guessed it, both teams are 11-2.

The trend of everyone sitting at 11-2 is pretty exciting to me if you haven’t noticed. But I think it would be really compelling to see what the College Football Playoff committee values.

Also, if the current Top 4 all go down Saturday, what happens to the teams like Michigan State and Mississippi, who are both 10-2 but didn’t get to play for a conference championship? Would an 11-2 Wisconsin team jump a 10-2 Michigan State team? Would an 11-2 Missouri team jump a 10-2 Mississippi State team?

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Personally, I think there’s value in a conference champion. I believe teams should be rewarded for winning the conference. Sorry, Spartans.

If the doomsday scenario breaks accordingly, I think TCU, at 12-1 with a Big 12 championship, would rise to No. 1.

Next it all becomes a mess. You’d have Wisconsin, Missouri, Arizona and Georgia Tech—all 11- 2, all with conference championships. Here’s the fatal flaw of the College Football Playoff: There are only three spots left for those five teams.

Now, the more likely scenario is that everyone holds serve Saturday, and everyone moves along business as usual, but wouldn’t a little pot-stirring make it more fun?

Whatever happens, see you saturday.

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