Welcome to the first ever college football playoffs. No longer are the national championship opponents pre-determined by the BCS ranking of the #1 and #2 seeds. Now the top 4 ranked programs in the country play each other in a playoff bracket (#1 plays #4, then #2 plays #3, then winner of both plays for the championship).
Of course many are still annoyed with the playoff arrangement. You hear countless calls for a 6 team playoff, or even an 8, 10 or up to 12 team playoff. And I get the concerns. I mean the NFL allows 12 of the 32 franchises entry into their playoff system, and there are over 100 NCAA Division I football programs out there. So that ratio is still way off. But college players are not pros. And to have a 12 team playoff system would either eat into the regular season, meaning less games for most schools. Or it would drag out the football season even further, which arguably upsets those college players which are also students' schedules.
However you view it though, you're probably not reading for anything other than to consider the match-ups, and to see who's in, and who's left just on the outside. Without further ado, here are the top 4 seeds for the 2014-15 season:
#3 Florida St.
#4 Ohio St.
As for the ones on the outside looking in:
The controversy with the 4 team playoff format will always be the how the #4 seed was chosen. A human element will certainly be a factor in most every situation, for rarely is there ever 4 clear cut options. Rarely do you ever have 4 powerhouse unbeatens. Instead, what you usually will have is exactly what happened this selection season: at least 3 teams that many could argue several ways that deserved to be in the top 4. Baylor in many people's view should have been #4, myself included in that thinking. They had the least ugly loss of the 3 vying for the spot. And I just think they are a better team. Also, they beat TCU head to head, so there's that.
Very few have been able to successfully argue that TCU should have been the #4. As I said, they lost to Baylor straight up, so it would be really hard to justify edging them past both Baylor and Ohio State. Although it was weird that the ranking just before the final official one actually had TCU #3, and TCU didn't lose or anything to push them all the way to #6. So there is definitely a reason for that program to seriously question the ranking process.
In the end, Ohio St. won that coveted #4 spot. And I get it. They played one extra game than both Baylor and TCU. And it was a Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin where they really hammered them. Also, for what it's worth, I think they actually match up well against Alabama and will give them a good run for their money.
So, for the first college football playoffs ever, we'll have the #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide vs the #4 ranked Ohio St. Buckeyes, and the #2 ranked Oregon Ducks vs the #3 ranked Florida St. Seminoles. That's Alabama, Ohio St., Oregon and Florida St... not exactly a new and diverse set of colleges taking the national stage. In fact, these are the very programs that time and again over the last 2 decades have dominated the sport. But either way, its a much needed change to the system. And probably not the last. Hope you enjoy these playoff games. A good way to look at it is now we have 2 national title games instead of one. And my vote says Oregon pulls out the upset over Alabama. In that sense though, the old BCS format would have sufficed just fine. ... Whatever.
For a full list of all the bowl games and the scheduling for every team, ESPN has you covered here: New Year's Six bowl pairings set