The Texas/Alabama debate is settled – they are both in. FSU is out.


It is difficult for the committee to drop an undefeated team from a major conference, but they manned up and did it. We can infer from the final rankings that the committee doesn’t respect the ACC, which may give Florida State and Clemson an incentive to try to sneak off into the Power Two eventually. For the record, the final computer rankings place FSU 12th (and Washington 10th, I might add – still four and a half points worse than a team they beat twice!).

The final rankings worked out perfectly for my Longhorns. They not only made the playoffs, but they got the softest opponent! I was thinking they might get the fourth seed and have to face Michigan right away. The opening line: Texas by 4.5 over Washington, Michigan by 1.5 over Alabama.

My only quarrel is that the committee still placed FSU ahead of Ohio State and Georgia on the full list. Really, guys? Is that really what you think? I doubt it. As long as you were recognizing reality, why not go all the way and drop FSU down where they belong? The good news about this ranking is that FSU will have a good chance to prove the committee wrong, because they will face Georgia in the Orange Bowl. (Georgia is favored by 12 in the opening line.)

Another interesting bowl match-up is undefeated Liberty against Oregon. A good showing for Liberty would be a vindication for the conferences outside the Power Group. Oregon will be favored by two touchdowns.


Here is the full bowl schedule

This year the Bad Boy Mowers Bowl will be in Yankee Stadium. I have no idea who’s in it. I just like the name.

Still no Ty-D Bowl.

Too many bowls?

To quote the wisest of wise men, or at least one wise enough not to give myrrh to a newborn:

When I was a fresh-faced lad, mankind had made almost no progress beyond fire. There were only four bowl games, and there was no cable TV nor streaming computers to view the action. Phones were decades away from becoming “smart.” We would sit by the telegraph with our hungover, racist uncles on New Year’s Day and listen for the short and long clicks that brought us news from the faraway Rose, Cotton, Sugar and Orange Bowls. Aunt Elsie would bring us body temperature milk she had just squeezed out of ol’ Bossy, and regale us with tales of how she had once seen the real Orange Bowl in a black and white postcard. Uncle Florian would take out his squeezebox and play some tunes for a private halftime show, often after he had emptied a pint of hooch into his glass of milk. It was difficult for those uncles to impart the proper racist attitudes toward “negroes” and “DPs,” because they only had a few minutes on a single day to share all of their wisdom, so they had to hold on to our sleeves and continue to mumble drunkenly as we stood in the doorway and tried to take our leave.

Today I can conveniently pass down that racism at a leisurely pace to my own nephews during 40 bowls on several weekends. It’s truly a tribute to mankind’s eternal progress.

47 thoughts on “The Texas/Alabama debate is settled – they are both in. FSU is out.

  1. Broadly, I think the CFP has been pretty risk averse bc there’s so much money riding on their picks, & so much scrutiny even after the games are over. It seems arguable that picking Texas & Alabama over Florida State & any of the other also-rans was the simplest, least risky course available.

    The fact that Florida State would be pitted against Georgia was predictable & is likely to vindicate their choice. There’s nothing else that they needed to be too worried about.

  2. Fun fact for the mill grist: The ACC has more CFP championships than the Big-10, Big-12, and Pac-12 combined.

    1. Yeah, with a total of two.

      There have only been 9 CFP championships. The ACC (Clemson) won two, the Big Ten won only the first one, and the SEC won the other six. (Goose egg for the Pac and Big-12)

      In the 8 previous years (the second half of the BCS era), the SEC won the BCS championship 7 times, while the ACC won the other, so your stat would still hold for that period!

      The SEC has now won 13 of the last 17, the ACC three, the Big 10 just one. The other two got the ol’ zippity-do-da.

      It’s really only in those past 17 years that the SEC has gained supremacy. In the first half of the BCS era (the eight seasons from 1998 to 2005), there was almost perfect parity. The score looked like this:

      Big-12 … 2
      Big 10 … 1
      PAC …… 1.5
      ACC …… 2
      SEC …… 1.5

      There are half-championships because of a disputed title between LSU and USC in 2003.


      The complete list of official champions is on the NCAA home page.

  3. Statement from ACC commissioner Jim Phillips

    “It’s unfathomable that Florida State, an undefeated Power Five conference champion, was left out of the College Football Playoff. Their exclusion calls into question the selection process and whether the committee’s own guidelines were followed, including the significant importance of being an undefeated Power Five conference champion. My heart breaks for the talented FSU student-athletes and coaches and their passionate and loyal fans. Florida State deserved better. College football deserved better.”

    1. Yes, I certainly see his point. As I noted, the disrespect for his conference could well lead to its dissolution. FSU has already experienced some disenchantment, and it would not surprise me if they were to leave and take Clemson with them. (Not immediately, but I think inevitably. All of those great southeastern rivalries belong in the SEC, as I see it.)

      Apart from his obvious self-serving, he’s right about a lot of things.. The kids in the FSU program are heartbroken, thinking “What more could we have done? Who do we have to blow to get in?”

      1. FSU, Clemson, & North Carolina have all previously voted against expansion, and/or filed motions about the current ACC revenue sharing model. This conference has been on the brink for months.

      2. FSU was definitely leaving the ACC even before this season started. Both FSU and NC may eventually move to the B1G ~ stay tuned.

        As always, it’s all about $$$ and the B1G’s current TV contract is better than the SEC. 😮

        And then there’s the domers ~ digressing …

        1. I’m betting basketball will keep UNC in – as long as there is an ACC anyway. If FSU goes SEC, it may work like Penn State going to the Big Ten- more money but they will be taking on more dominant programs.

    2. The CFB was looking at another possible TCU fiasco. Bad break for FSU but the proper call. We’re talking righteous bucks lost when the audience largely tunes out after one half, as happened last year.
      And maybe it’s karma for winning a title with a rapist QB.

      1. Alabama needed a miracle to beat a middling Auburn team and were dominated by Texas at home…and the Alabama wins this season have been less than inspiring. There were plenty of reasons to leave Alabama out. It’ll be interesting to see how Michigan v. Alabama ends up. IMO only if Alabama beats Michigan convincingly can the decision to leave FSU out be seen as remotely correct.

        1. I read a few minutes ago that Georgia and FSU will meet in the Orange Bowl, so FSU will have an opportunity to prove the committee wrong. Good luck with that. Georgia will probably be favored by at least 10.


          Preliminary: Georgia by 12 with an over under of 59.5. That means the oddsmakers think FSU can score 24 against Georgia. That would surprise me. This week they only scored 16 against effing Louisville.

          1. FSU will be motivated ~ GA not so much + FSU will probably have their 2nd string QB available + meaningless bowl games are usually a crap shoot.

            Seriously, who did GA play this yr besides ‘bama? And who did ‘bama play besides TX/GA? Having said this want ‘bama to curb stomp tcun.

          2. Maybe you should ask if Georgia can score on FSU defense. FSU has not lost and I don’t remember any sport removing a team for an injury of a player. Could you see NBA removing Seph Curry or Le Bron James. As for your Longhorns your team is going to get rolled. The Pac12 was best conference and they will bury your Longhorns who couldn’t even beat Oklahoma and are playing on borrowed time and a paid of gift. Because to put Alabama SEC they had to put your Longhorns in. Remember Alabama won on hail mary against Auburn unranked and an upright beat Georgia. Now you play undefeated bad boys. FSU got robbed just like UCF did 6 years ago

          3. Well, if you think FSU has a chance in that game, you should become a zillionaire. As of now, Draft Kings will give you either 5-1 odds or 13.5 points!

            I agree that the Longhorns will have their hands full. Despite their record, they never really impressed me until the conference championship, and Washington has an explosive offense.

            As for UCF back in the day, they had a good offense that year, but proved they didn’t belong in the championship round when they lost their consolation bowl game to a team with three losses.

          4. Sorry Scoop check again UCF finished undefeated as did the team that year SEC Alabama. Wish i wanted to drive the fifty miles to take picture in stadium to show you they put up co national champions that year. But we will see in next years after committee is finally gone how good FSU. my school on the rise Miami and UCF is and get rid of teams like SEC and Big10 Teams when they go into playoffs and get knocked out.

          5. Both FSU-UGA & ORE-LIB have something to prove going for them. All 6 “major” “name” bowls are interesting for various reasons: Sugar, Rose, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta, Peach.

            My choice of bowl rundowns URL @ ESPN would be:

            week/1 year/2023 seasontype/3

            My own lightly curated bowl list…

            12/16 ABC UCLA BOISE LA
            12/16 ESP CAL TTU Indy
            12/27 FOX LV USC Holiday
            12/28 ESP AZ OU Alamo
            12/29 ESP CLEM KY Gator
            12/29 CBS ORST ND Sun
            12/29 ESP MIZZ OSU Cotton
            12/30 ESP OLE PSU Peach
            12/30 ESP UGA FSU Orange
            01/01 ES2 WISC LSU ReliQ
            01/01 ESP LIB ORE Fiesta
            01/01 ABC IOWA TN Citrus
            01/01 ESP ALA MI Rose
            01/01 ESP TEX WA Sugar

      1. Next year’s system is decidedly better for the fans and for their pocketbooks (extra games). If you apply next year’s system to this year, there would be no real controversy. The top 12 would make it, and that would include every major team with two losses or fewer!

        1. Even the old system cheated teams here’s the example you were wrong about

          The Knights finished the regular season 12–0, the football program’s first ever undefeated regular season and second 12-win season, and won the 2017 American Conference Championship. The Knights season culminated in a 2018 Peach Bowl win over Auburn. The effort came just two years after an 0–12 winless season (2015). UCF became the first team in the history of NCAA Division I FBS to improve from a winless regular season to an undefeated regular season in only two years.[1]

          Despite being the only undefeated team in FBS, UCF did not receive a spot in the College Football Playoff. Frost criticized the College Football Playoff committee, saying that the Knights “deserve[d] more credit from the committee than what they got.” Frost believed that the committee deliberately ranked the Knights low enough on a weekly basis that they had no realistic chance of finishing in the top four.[2] The Knights proclaimed themselves national champions at the end of the season.[3] Florida lawmakers proposed passing a resolution declaring UCF the national champions,[4] which Florida Governor Rick Scott proclaimed officially on January 8, 2018.[5] On January 9, UCF was ranked No. 1 by the Colley Matrix,[6] a mathematical ranking designated by the NCAA as a major selector of championships and listed in the NCAA football records book.[7] UCF also received four first place votes in the final AP Poll.[8]

          1. I thought you were talking about their most recent undefeated season (2018). They were 12-0, then gave up a boatload of points in the bowl game to some mediocre team.

            I had forgotten that they declared themselves champs the previous year after their bowl win against a team that already had three losses.

            They did have a great offense both years.

  4. Everyone seems to have written off Georgia. The best team in the country lost by 3 pts in a game that could have gone either way. Is that enough to definitively eliminate them? They are still one of the best four teams in the country and I would argue still the best team in the country. What’s a CFB playoffs without them?

    1. They didn’t take care of business, so piss on ’em. And Saban was talking exactly the same nonsense last year about Alabama.
      Seven teams can make a case, three can claim they’ve been screwed.
      And with Smart’s whining and throwing his freshman linebacker under the bus, it won’t break my heart if Georgia’s one of the three. Particularly after that cheap shot on Marvin Harrison last year.

  5. Check your map. Both Berkley and Palo Alto are on the Bay, not the coast. A little term stretching may be required.
    My girlfriend’s little brother went to Berkley, BA and MA. Her little sis is working on her masters at Stanford (they live in SF). You should hear the two go at it. Masha’s working in medieval English history and is a GOT buff, so it’s fun to fatchew the parallels with Cersei standing in for Margaret of Anjou (H6′ s wife), Ned Stark for Richard of York (who also lost his head) and Lady Olenna (Mrs. Peel!) for Warwick.

    1. I went to Stanford, & used to joke that Berserkly’s on the “East Coast”.

      It can’t be decided on a map. It can only be figured out by going to the water’s edge, & deciding what’s your relevant choice of resolution. Depending on that one choice, the problem of how jagged is the “coastline”, is a fractal.

      Choosing a coarser resolution is equivalent to extending your definition of “the coast” further inland. It’s an arbitrary choice we make by the seat of our pants. A human perspective.

      Trying to give an argument such as “Look at the map” is a pretense that the matter is purely technical & can be resolved by some purely technical, ie, value-neutral, means. I’m a mathematician. You can, if you so choose, take my word for it that the problem is not solvable by geometry alone.

    2. BTW, my own little sis went to Cal Berkeley, rather late in life. I’d had friends at Cal since I was disseminating an ARPANET sci-fi fan discussion, & was using Cal’s Unix to ARPANET bridge well before Internet’s existence. So, from my point of view, our so-called bitter rivalry always was more of a play-act than serious business.

      She died in a car accident. After that, I actually became a scholarship donor to Cal. I accepted essays from students “re-entering” ie not straight out of HS, about what they hoped to do in life after Cal. I picked one winner every year. I ran this for over a decade. I still love Cal. The rivalry game is a great excuse for me to visit both campuses, alternating years.

  6. I originally said here that I thought the CFP committee would do everything possible to ensure that an SEC team would get in, even if it meant screwing Texas over. After watching the various commentators yesterday, I’m softening that prediction. There seems to be pretty universal acknowledgement that Texas beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa should rank them higher, even if it was earlier in the season. I’m guessing 60-40 that they’ll pick Texas.

    (If the situation was reversed, and Alabama had beaten Texas, it’d be 99-1 Alabama.)

    1. Let me flesh out the two arguments.

      The CFP does their complicated machinations, while I sit here in my armchair that’s more of a stool, & peek back at last week’s CFP advance work. #1 GA lost, #’s 2,3,4 all won, & that’s it for the still unbeaten major conference teams. Move them up their 1 spot. That work is mind-numbingly child-splay, albeit most likely just as dumb.

      So MI, WA, FSU. Done deal. Only 1 slot left.

      Then, the next 4 spots were given to the 1-loss major conference teams OR, OSU, TX, AL. #’s 5,6,7,8.

      They’re now joined by 1-loss GA. OR is now 2-loss, but both were to #2 WA, & by close scores.

      OSU & GA both lost their last games with all the chips on the line. OSU lost to #1 MI, close game. But, There Cannot Be Two. So OR, too, will not fill slot #4.

      So then it’s down to TX & AL. TX won the head-to-head. By 2 scores. Game over.

      Well, looking at a tiny bit more detail, AL’s 1 loss was to 1-loss TX. TX’s 1 loss was to traditional rival OU. Both, understandable, seemingly respectable losses. TX won their final game convincingly. AL played a close game against a mighty opponent #1 GA. Seems like kind of a toss-up.

      But last week, CFP ranked TX above AL. Picking AL now would amount to the accusation that they had already baked in some expectation that AL was going to lose to GA. If they at all suspected that AL might beat GA, then that possibility didn’t change their mind then, about what that head-to-head told them of their relative merits. And, after all, GA was the betting underdog.

      My aside is that defense ruled this weekend’s battles of the titans. Offensive production fell way below what I naively expected. I had trouble understanding why so many catchable balls were dropped by these players who were supposed to be the cream of the crop.

      Given that we won’t get the four *strongest* teams, my own zero-credibility picks — mind you, not scores or point spreads — would be: TX over MI, FSU-WA tossup.

      Slightly more impressed with 2 close beats of OR, than what I saw in FSU vs #14 l’Ovale. Seemed like a large quantity of ineptitude on both sides in that game.

      So then, TX over WA.

      1. For me, the big five are the two Big Ten teams, the two SEC teams and Texas. If I had to choose the one to drop, I wouldn’t know which one. But the system doesn’t work that way.

        1. In practice CFP dropped both OSU, GA. Kept WA, TX, AL. So 1ea B1G/SEC + 1ea 2024 B1G/SEC. Heh.

          This is the world that TV money has granted us.

          1. You’re absolutely right. It’s all Big 10 and SEC.

            Remember that the championship will technically take place in 2024. Texas, although qualified as a Big 12 tean, will be an SEC team in 2024, and Washington, although qualified through the Pac-12, will be a Big 10 team in 2024. So if you look at it with a jaded eye, the committee did precisely what I suggested: two SEC teams and two Big 10 teams.

            Oregon and Ohio State are 2024 Big 10 teams and Georgia is now and forever from the SEC, so only one of the eight possible contenders is really from outside the two supermajor conferences, and only one truly got screwed. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that it’s the same one.

    2. The playoff final technically takes place in 2024, so I guess Texas relieves their hard-on for an SEC team.

        1. Yup. See my other note. Seven of the eight contenders are either in the Big 10 or the SEC in 2024.

          The only other one got the royal shaft after a 13-0 season.

          Maybe not a coincidence. Committee bombs the ACC, and the kids from FSU are collateral damage.

  7. Texas beat Alabama head to head in Saban’s worst loss ever at home in Tuscaloosa. I understand the committee’s hard-on for the SEC, and Bama beating #1, but in any conference anywhere head to head record is the first tiebreaker. I expect there to be more than moderate support for Texas over Alabama.

    1. As a Longhorn myself (grad school), I hope you’re right!

      One of the greatest sporting thrills of my life was when Texas won the national championship by beating USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl. Vince Young crushed the Trojan defense as if he were playing against a high school team! 200 yards rushing and 30 for 40 in the air!

      I would love to see them do the same to Michigan (or at least to have the opportunity).

  8. I understand the point of a division-less conference, which is to ensure your 2 best records play each other in the title game, theoretically increasing the odds of the winner getting a sweet playoff seed even in the event of an upset.

    However, given the sizes of the conferences, it’s going to be interesting to see how the lower-tier schools’ fans react over time to being eliminated from any sort of contention by mid-October en route to finishing in 10th+ place every year. That’s going to get old after a while.

    But money, so who cares if the stadium’s empty as long as that TV income clears the bank, right?

    1. It’s going to be like the American League in the bad old days before 1965.
      I can remember the enormous excitement generated in Cleveland by the possibility – in July- of the Tribe just maybe edging out somebody for THIRD PLACE.

      1. Yes, that’s a major consideration. If they can finish at least 3-6 in conference play while slaughtering three or four patsies in their other games, they can be bowl eligible, even if they finish like 13th in the conference.

    2. Right, especially with each conference school eventually earning the exact same amount from the TV contract distribution.

    1. To be fair, currently ACC teams are not in the Atlantic, per se, ie the Ocean. They’re on the Coast. The SF Bay Area teams are also on the Coasts. And, while those coasts are a long way from each other by any human measure, the two coasts are connected to one another by sea.

      Most importantly, the Stanford-Cal rivalry game will probably get a boost in viewers compared to their present Pac-12 cable channel numbers.

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