Posted 12/04/2017 at 04:57 PM
Despite outcry in some circles the College Football Playoff committee remained consistent with what they have done in the past few years by taking 11-1 Alabama over 11-2 Big Ten champion Ohio State. A two-loss team has still never made the playoff field and last season the Buckeyes trumped their own division and conference champion for inclusion even with a head-to-head loss. Watching sound clips for Urban Meyer and Nick Saban from last year to this year making the exact opposite arguments is comical but neither can be faulted for fighting for their teams. Certainly Las Vegas agrees that the Tide is one of the top four as the favorite to claim the title from the #4 spot. College Football is still entertainment at its heart and ultimately the committee would have been crazy to turn down a semifinal rematch of what has been an amazing title game the past two years between Clemson and Alabama in favor of a rematch of what was the very worst College Football Playoff game, last season’s Clemson 31-0 win over Ohio State.
Bad losses hurt you more than good wins help you is a clear message in the committee’s approach though #1 Clemson’s loss at 4-8 Syracuse is certainly the worst caliber that any playoff team has had in the history of the format. Expansion to eight teams will be called for and while on paper that is appealing, we are yet to have a season where a truly deserving team has been left out, rather all controversy has involved is choosing between teams with losses and serious flaws. Had 13-0 Wisconsin been left out in favor of Alabama, a plausible scenario that some argued for before last weekend, the case for expansion would have some merit.
The current NFC playoff field would feature only one team that made the playoffs last season with 8-4 Seattle getting a huge win over Philadelphia last week to stay in wild card position. Half of the AFC playoff field from last season would turn over if the current placements hold. Oakland and Atlanta are alive to change that composition but it certainly looks likely that at least half the field will be new teams and currently all four NFC divisions would have new champions.
With four weeks to go several season win total tickets are being realized. We have three of our six over/under picks from the preseason Annual locked up as winners (Giants UNDER 9, Rams OVER 5.5, and Texans UNDER 8.5). Our remaining picks are all toss-ups at this point (Seahawks UNDER 10.5, Chiefs UNDER 9, Dolphins OVER 7.5). One of the most popular ‘UNDER’ bets last summer has been lost as the Jets reached win #5 last week with near universal pessimism for New York. The two 10-2 teams in the AFC were the two top teams in the AFC win total projections while the two 10-2 NFC teams were projected sixth and ninth in the NFC before the season started based on win totals.
This week might be the best remaining opportunity for the Browns to avoid going 0-16 this season, now losers of 29 straight Sunday games. Green Bay picked up an overtime win last week despite posting just 204 yards of offense in regulation and the Packers have averaged just 17 points per game under Brett Hundley who followed up his strong performance Sunday night against the Steelers with just 84 passing yards against a marginal Buccaneers defense. The Browns have their home finale with a surging Ravens team next week for a difficult matchup and the final two games are on the road, although a Week 16 date in Chicago will be a possible opportunity for a win as well. Josh Gordon returned last week and had 85 receiving yards and the defensive numbers for the Browns are far better than seemingly any 0-12 team would have. Turnovers as usual will be the key as the Browns have 30 on the season. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…