Through the first two years of the College Football Playoff, the committee has given us conference champions. That will almost assuredly change this year with the likely inclusion of Ohio State, which did not even win its own division.
While many people are up in arms about this, Doug Gottlieb and Dennis Dodd are not. After all, there’s a chance – albeit a slim one – that Florida, Virginia Tech and Colorado will all win conference championships this weekend. Well, even if they do, none of them will be in the playoff.
So maybe, just maybe, a conference championship isn’t as important as some people wish to believe.
“People just have to understand the first rule of all the rules that are written into that document for the CFP is four best teams,” Dodd, a CBSSports.com college football writer, said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “They can consider conference championships, they can consider head-to-head, they can consider schedule strength. But you can’t necessarily be outraged that two teams from the Big Ten would get in.”
Wisconsin and Penn State, who are both 10-2, will square off in the Big Ten Championship this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. The winner will have a compelling case to be included in the playoff.
“I could make a case equally for Wisconsin and Penn State,” Dodd said. “Penn State won the head-to-head (against Ohio State), but they lost to Michigan by 39. Wisconsin, if they win, will have played six top-10 teams at the time of kickoff and won four of them and gone 4-2.”
Still, Dodd’s top four teams, as of now, are Alabama (12-0), Ohio State (11-1), Clemson (11-1) and Washington (11-1).
“I think clearly those are the four best,” Dodd said. “They still have to win to prove it. Ohio State obviously is done, but what can the committee do to Ohio State? They told us for now three weeks that they’re not only the No. 2 team in the country, but also the best team in the Big Ten. So I think they’re in without playing Saturday. And if those other three teams win, I think they’re in. I think it’s easy to do it that way.”
But if Florida beats Alabama? Or if Penn State beats Wisconsin and gets left out? Well, sorry.
“The Rose Bowl (could be) a fall-back for the Big Ten champion,” Dodd said. “Now that speaks to the Big Ten’s excellence this year, but you never want the Rose Bowl to be a fall-back. But it has been since the BCS started in certain years. The value of a conference championship has just been diminished. Even a division championship – Florida was a survivor in the (SEC) East. I don’t think it was dominant.”