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Sympathy for the Tiger: What if the playoff committee picked the wrong boys from Alabama?

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NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Georgia vs Auburn Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly a week on you’d think we’d have safely put the decision of the college football playoff committee to bed. You’d be wrong.

I highly recommend this piece from Brian Fremeau at Football Outsiders which makes a compelling case that Alabama was the appropriate choice over Ohio State, but makes the further point that the correct selection from the universe of eligible teams may have been . . . Auburn?

Brian states the argument far more elegantly than I ever could and I urge you to read his statistical analysis in its entirety. But I think it’s noteworthy at least in part because it exposes the cracks in the veneer of the shiny new playoff edifice. If the committee’s charge is in fact to put the best four college football teams on the field against each other one could make a solid argument for the Plainsmen, the only college football team who already played four games against the playoff field, and won two of them.

The problem, one which the committee is certainly cognizant of, is the tautological nature of recognizing that Auburn performed very well against that murderer’s row of a schedule.

You simply can’t say “Auburn is one of the best four teams because Auburn did well against the other best teams." To do so fuels the argument that most of college football begins the season without a snowball’s chance in Mobile of getting to the playoff, an inconvenient assertion which has nevertheless been proven 100% accurate through four years of playoff selections.