BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The two College Football Playoff semifinal games on Saturday left some people wondering, did the CFP committee get it right?
Clemson and Notre Dame played first in the Cotton Bowl. Clemson dominated Notre Dame 30-3 with Clemson gaining 538 total yards to Notre Dame’s 248 total yards.
At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at 3-3 and it looked like sports fans were going to get a game worth watching. Then the second quarter happened. By halftime, Clemson was up on Notre Dame 23-3.
Saturday night’s Orange Bowl was touted as the match between two gunslingers: Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and runner-up Tua Tagovailoa. Instead, the game was essentially over after 17 minutes of playing time.
Alabama jumped out to an early 28-0 lead. The Tide entered the locker room at halftime up 31-10. Oklahoma would try to battle back, but the gap was too far for even Kyler Murray who has led his team to several comeback wins this year.
Considering both games were essentially over before the end of the first half, did the CFP Committee pick the right four teams for the College Football Playoffs?
Going into Selection Sunday, three teams looked to have it locked in: Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame. After the blowout in the Cotton Bowl, some have questioned why Notre Dame made the playoffs.
However, most of this criticism is in hindsight. When the selections were made, Notre Dame was one of four undefeated teams, of which only UCF was left out of the playoffs.
Notre Dame finished the year with 8 wins against bowl eligible teams. Three of those wins came against teams that finished in the top 25 of the CFP rankings: Michigan (7), Syracuse (20), and Northwestern (22).
With the Orange Bowl practically over at half, did Oklahoma deserve to be in the playoffs? Going into Selection Sunday, Oklahoma only had one loss and was the Big 12 Conference Champ.
However, it was clear after only one quarter of play who was going to the National Championship Game.
Despite their first half performance on Saturday, Oklahoma has had one of the most prolific offenses in college football this year -- ranking first in total yards and points per game. They’ve also had a horrifically bad defense giving up over 32 points per game.
With all that being said, who deserved to make it into the playoffs over Notre Dame and Oklahoma? The CFP Committee’s next two teams on the list were Georgia (5) and Ohio State (6).
The argument for Georgia has generally been the eye test. Many considered Georgia to be one of the top four teams, if not one of the top three teams in the country.
However, not only did Georgia fail to win their conference, they also lost two games. One of those games was a brutal 16-36 loss to LSU.
The Ohio State Buckeyes also made a case for being in this year’s playoffs with a 12-1 season capped with a Big Ten Championship. However, they had one of the worst losses of any of the Top 6 teams with a 20-49 drubbing by Purdue. Purdue finished the year with a losing record after Auburn blew them out in the Music City Bowl.
Not only did they have a terrible loss, at times Ohio State just did not look like a top five team. They barely beat Maryland and Nebraska, both teams that finished the season with a losing record.
So did the Committee get it right? Would Georgia have given Alabama or Clemson a better game? Possibly. But at the end of the day, you have to win the games needed to make it to the playoffs.
Could OSU have given a better performance that Oklahoma? Who knows. Maybe next season they won’t lose by close to 30 points to a 6-7 team.
Hindsight is 20/20 and the selections were made prior to Saturday night’s games. Now for the game everyone has been waiting for --- Alabama/Clemson IV.