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Media responds to the playoff selection, latest college football rankings and bowl game scheduling

It’s been a rollercoaster of a 2020 College Football season, full of excitement and uncertainty.

With dozens of game postponements and cancellations racking up throughout the season, this year’s schedule and weekly AP Top 25 rankings have been unrecognizable. Nevertheless, we’ve made it to the most exciting part of the season: bowl games and playoff selections.

The first bowl games will kick off next week, but just like everything else in 2020, it’s going to be far from a regular bowl season. Already we’ve seen 11 bowl games cancelled including the Pinstripe and Holiday bowls. Multiple schools have opted out of bowl game contention altogether, including but not limited to Stanford, Pitt and Boston College. As mentioned by Sports Illustrated’s Jenna West, these programs, by opting out, are prioritizing the well-being of their players after a difficult season by allowing them to travel home and be with their families for the holidays. This is certainly an unprecedented move to make, especially considering that many teams haven’t had the opportunity to play more than a small portion of their games this season.

Coach Brian Kelly of Notre Dame is threatening to boycott the playoffs if parents can’t be there. It certainly is a different day. Who could have foreseen this a year ago.

In addition to voluntary opt-outs, Week 16 was not immune to COVID-related scheduling shakeups, as Washington was forced to withdraw from Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game due to positive cases within the program.

College Football Playoff Selections

On Tuesday, the CFP selection committee released the penultimate playoff rankings heading into Week #16:

  1. Alabama
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Clemson
  4. Ohio State
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Iowa State

With Clemson and Notre Dame scheduled to meet in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game, it’s certainly going to be an exciting Saturday in college football. As always, the rankings resulted in plenty of reactions, speculation, and criticism from the media. In addition to ND vs. Clemson and Alabama matched up with  Florida, Ohio State has Northwestern in the Big Ten title game.

Many columnists and reporters sounded off on the CFP selection committee for ranking undefeated Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina under three two-loss teams: Iowa State, Florida, and Georgia. Following the release of the most recent rankings, Twitter was set ablaze with reactions that accused the committee of having a clear bias toward Power-5 teams.

Nate Scott – (ForTheWin) @aNateScott

Scott was one of many columnists to call out the CFP selection committee for Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina’s seemingly low rankings.

“At this point, if you’re not in a Power 5 conference, you’re playing in a different league. You quite simply cannot win. 

“It doesn’t matter how perfect you are, how badly you beat your opponents, how many big wins against Top-25 schools you can possibly record — you can’t get in. The members of the committee will hit you with the “’ye test’ argument, shrug their shoulders, and call it a day.”

Nicole Auerbach – (The Athletic) @NicoleAuerbach

Auerbach criticized the committee’s selection process hard on Twitter.

“There’s no need for actual game results, advanced metrics or selection criteria if you just decide the teams you like before you start the season and never change your mind.”

Jay Bilas – (ESPN) @JayBilas

Bilas, the ESPN basketball analyst, stepped out of his lane and defended Cincinnati with a sarcastic Tweet Tuesday evening.

“Cincinnati really messed up. The Bearcats should’ve scheduled Louisiana, lost by two touchdowns, and then they would have risen in the CFP rankings. Every game counts? Please.”

Greg McElroy – (ESPN Radio) @GregMcElroy

McElroy placed the usual Power-5 strength of schedule argument into context, noting that the rankings fail to reflect the abnormality of the 2020 season.

“I’ve always defended the Power-5’s strength of schedule, but this year has gotten ridiculous. There are very few teams that have “great” resumes. Many are ok, some are good, some are incomplete. Cincy is legit. USC might be too. The rankings don’t reflect that and it’s a problem.”

Tim Brando – (Fox Sports) @TimBrando

Brando, the seasoned and longtime TV play-by-player sounded off on the CFP selection committee as well, calling its practices “corrupt!” Tim said he’s on a mission to end what he calls, “The Power 5 Invitational!”

“Committee in the @CFBPlayoff is no longer even subtle about their Power 5 Bias! Absolutely CORRUPT! @GatorsFB loses to a 3-5 LSU team at home and drops 1 spot! @GeorgiaFootball over rated since the jump, and @GoBearcatsFB keep dropping? There’s no I repeat NOTHING but corruption!”

Ethan Feller

Ethan Feller is a New York native and a student at the University of Wisconsin's School of Journalism & Mass Communication. He plans to pursue a career in sports public relations after graduating in 2021.

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