March 19th, 2014 11:30 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: First Four, SMU, TV, WSU
So undefeated Wichita State is put in a bracket with 19 teams (thanks to three “First Four” games assigned to WSU’s region). Louisville — a team most thought would battle for a #1 seed was handed a #4 seed instead. They’re one of those 19 squads in the Shockers’ bracket. Another team in WSU’s region is Tennessee. Never-accepted Cuonzo Martin finds his team in a play-in game, sparking further outrage from Vol fans who feel the only coach for them is now at Auburn. But a report by WNML-AM/FM in Knoxville yesterday revealed that the Volunteers were shifted into one of those four play-in games simply because the selection committee didn’t want to put Dayton on its home court for a First Four game. Congrats, Tennessee, you drew the short straw.
Then there’s SMU. Larry Brown’s Mustangs had been ranked in the top 25 right up until the final week of the regular season. Bully for them, the selection committee didn’t put them in the tournament field at all. Wisconsin-Green Bay — who many felt deserved a bid — didn’t get in either. The same goes for Florida State, Georgetown, Minnesota, California, etc, etc.
Yes, another Selection Sunday has come and gone and complaints continue to pour in from North, South, East and West. Bizarre bracketing, senseless seeding, teams shifted due to other schools’ locations. It’s bad. It always is.
Thank goodness, then, that the teams for the new College Football Playoff will be selected using the exact same model.
When the conference commissioners decided to do away with polls and computers in favor of a selection committee, we warned that come March everyone would be reminded of all the things they dislike about selection committees. Here we are. And with people complaining about the sheer randomness of the seeding process as well as the hard-to-figure out invitation process for the final four or five bubble teams, it should all be quite worrisome for college football fans. If there’s this much debate over 68 teams, how hot will temperatures rise when we’re talking about a bracket that will include only four teams?
The good news is that the football panel will have a former Secretary of State, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, and a career basketball man to help pick the teams and set the matchups. Yes. That was sarcasm.
If anything, the 13-member football panel should expect to receive even more hate mail than the hoops group. As we noted above, more teams will be getting turn-downs in football. And American sports fans are also more passionate about college football. (Check the TV ratings and recent TV contracts if you need proof.) There will be some serious howling when a team ranked in the top four of all the (now meaningless) polls gets jumped by a fifth- or sixth-ranked team that won its league. Top 25ish SMU not getting one of 36 at-large bids? Try an SEC runner-up getting bounced by a lesser-ranked Big Ten champ.
Every March we’re treated to Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale and Seth Davis and Andy Katz telling us what the hoops committee got wrong. Set your DVRs. This December we’ll get another batch of analysts telling us everything the football committee botched in carrying out its duties. So prepare yourself right now to be disappointed. We see no way the College Football Playoff selection committee escapes controversy. The basketball committee never does.
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