The College Football Playoff: What We Learned

by - Senior Writer -
Want to win this trophy? Run the ball (Photo by Matthew Emmons)

The first installment of the College Football Playoff is in the books, and I have to say I enjoyed every thrilling moment.

It didn’t matter if I was fan of any of the teams involved, the playoff atmosphere at the semifinal games and the Super Bowlesque hype surrounding the championship game were fun to both follow and watch. In the meantime, I feel like there are some things I learned and some observations I made, things you probably saw for yourself but wanted to share.

*The first thing that jumped out to me? If you want win a championship, run the football. It held true fifty and sixty years ago, it held true in the Danny FordDanny Ford
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era and it holds true today. Ohio St. beat Alabama because they were able to throw it effectively against Alabama’s scattershot secondary, sure. But that passing game was opened up by the running of Ezekiel Elliott and the holes opened by the Buckeyes’ physical offensive line.

This is how you win at the sport's top level. You knock the guy in front of you backward. Ohio State's offensive line did that most of the night, and while Elliott gained yards after contact he had some massive holes to run through and had a lot of momentum before he was even touched. In fact, Elliott’s size and the blocking of the Buckeye’s offensive line – and a little help from the hefty Cardale Jones – showed that you can be in the shotgun and still pick up short yardage.

Watching the playoffs – and the bowl games – underscored what we’ve known for years and really isn’t all that hard to understand. It isn’t a mystery. It isn’t hard to find a good scheme. Run the ball. You don’t have to have tempo, you don’t have to get cute and you don’t necessarily have try and run a ton of plays. Get a big back, a bruising offensive line and run the ball. Until I see an Oregon or a Baylor win a championship, you’ll have to prove to me it can be done. Texas Tech? They will never win throwing it 60 times a game. Urban Meyer has proven – at two different schools – that you can run the spread and still win a championship and it’s a good blueprint to follow.

*Recruiting matters, but player development matters just as much if not more. There is no doubt that the success by Florida St. and Alabama and even Ohio St. in recent seasons is built on the foundation of recruiting. But TCU proved this season they can compete with anybody, and their class rankings haven’t even been close to the top – 43rd in 2014 and 49th in 2013. Georgia Tech is recruiting better this season, but hasn’t been on the recruiting radar for a while. Boise St., Kansas St. and Arizona St. are other programs that have had success on the field without a lot of success on the recruiting trail. Development matters.

*The playoff worked. But it can get better. Thank goodness we didn’t have to watch two SEC powerhouses battle it out for the title, being told all the while that they were the two best teams in the country because they play in the best conference. For the most part (hello TCU) it was settled on the field. The SEC will win another title, and it will be sooner rather than later. But at least they will earn it on the field and not in the shadowy world of computer rankings, SEC bias and ESPN shills harping about the power of the conference that they own.

The committee turned out to be not a lot better than the computers and the rankings – they deemed Alabama to be the best team despite what our eyes told us – and Ohio St. the 4th best because of an early-season loss. They saw through Florida St. – like we all did – and it wound up working because Ohio St. surprised the “experts” and won it all.

The TV ratings were through the roof, and that only proved that we will watch the drama unfold on the field and not in some computer chip. Drama matters. Rankings are for the most part irrelevant.

But four isn’t enough. TCU deserved a shot this year, and it’s hard to say you a have a true playoff format unless you include the conference winners out of the Power Five. That means that expanded playoffs – and the TV revenue that follows – might be here sooner rather than later. I am not sure how they will work it to where the all-important bowl games like the Duck Commander Bowl in Shreveport isn’t snubbed – hey those 14 people who were in the stands matter – but the power five conference champs and three at-large teams seems enough to me. Georgia finished 9th in the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll, and we know for a fact they weren’t title worthy. Ole Miss finished 9th in the final rankings before the bowl season – the College Football Playoff Committee rankings – and we know they weren’t good enough. Eight is Enough. We’re not there yet, but we’re making progress.

And it would be nice to see that teams not in the SEC can slip up somewhere along the way, but if they’re playing well at the end of the season (when it really matters) they won’t be left out.

And finally, run the ball.

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Subject (Replies: 38) Author
New Story: The College Football Playoff: What We Learned
TigerNet News
Love the Steveport References***
Re: New Story: The College Football Playoff: What We Learned
Re: New Story: The College Football Playoff: What We Learned
Lurking Tiger803®
He was 3rd string
Re: He was 3rd string
If all three return
Is is always true that brute running wins games?
Defense won the OSU/OU game.
My problem David, is that Clemson may have problems getting
This year our OOC schedule is better
Let me clarify: To me it seems better to go undefeated and
It all depends on the perceived strength of the conference
No it doesn't mean Bama should win every game, but
If we have one-loss, play good OOC teams, and win ACC
RC Tiger®
There is, but look at FSU. They had a good out of conference
That's because FSU was struggling to win most of their games
Baylor was the Big 12 Conference Champ.
That is just pure speculation. TCU did plenty of pounding
Two months ago, Ohio State was not even in the discussion
Why not? They have the best college coach of this
What We Learned : That is one ugly trophy.***
Re: What We Learned : That is one ugly trophy.***
4 teams are enough
Re: 4 teams are enough
I disagree. Always better to be undefeated than have a loss
Four is NOT enough. If you win your conference, you should
Re: 4 teams are enough
4 teams not enough go to 8 conf champ from Big 5 +3 at-large
Re: New Story: The College Football Playoff: What We Learned
Re: New Story: The College Football Playoff: What We Learned
A bye week is too big of an advantage that would lead to
Giving top two a bye is to much of an advantage, but
Re: New Story: The College Football Playoff: What We Learned
Re: New Story: The College Football Playoff: What We Learned
Intrestingly enough, New England won last weekend
Re: New Story: The College Football Playoff: What We Learned
After this year I'm afraid any ACC team
Clemson may be able to lose one and get in.......

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