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Starting 11: Auburn Breaks Alabama

I’ll be writing on this later this week, but college football voters and their obsession with undefeated rankings is one of the great idiocies of our modern sporting era.

The argument has been that a playoff will encourage more aggressive out of conference scheduling. 

I think the opposite is true. 

If you’re in a major conference you should play your conference game and then four guaranteed wins. 

Look at who Ohio State and Florida State played out of conference this year. Idaho, Bethune-Cookman, and Nevada for FSU plus Buffalo, San Diego State, Florida A&M for Ohio State. 

FSU then played Florida — who happens to be awful this year and Ohio State played California. 

Why should either of these teams change the six cupcakes they scheduled?

Hell, why shouldn’t Ohio State even eliminate Cal going forward?

Based on the way we choose teams, a playoff will actually disincentivize hard games.

As long as you finish undefeated in a major conference, you’re going to advance to the playoff.

Period.   

Why?

1. Put simply, voters — and probably committee members — are idiots. 

Unlike every other sport in America where we reward teams for playing competitive schedules and the toughest games possible, in college football we reward the pretty record, even if it comes against inferior competition. 

So what if Auburn’s got the best combination of the top record and the toughest schedule?

Which the Tigers indisputably do.

Auburn’s strength of schedule is at 26, Missouri’s is 41, Ohio State is 61 and FSU is 65. 

We actually don’t care about strength of schedule at all. 

If you’re in a major conference in college football, we just miraculously eliminate the schedule component.

If you finish undefeated you play for the title. 

2. But if you don’t play in a top five conference then the schedule analysis reemerges as a disqualifying factor.

It’s enough to make small conference football fans pull out their hair in furious anger. 

South Florida has a tougher schedule than either Florida State or Ohio State. UConn has played a better schedule than FSU and one spot worse than Ohio State.  

Would South Florida or UConn be playing for the BCS title if either was undefeated right now?

Of course not. 

Why?

Because of the weakness of their schedule.

So why should FSU and Ohio State play for a BCS title when they’ve both played weaker schedules?

Put simply, they shouldn’t. 

3. Auburn’s win was the greatest play in college football history. 

When you consider the stakes, the improbability, and the fact that it was actually a walk-off missed field goal return for a touchdown?

There’s no doubt at all. 

If you do doubt it, watch these Auburn fans react to the win.

This is the best YouTube reaction video I’ve seen since the Red Wedding compilation from “Game of Thrones.”

4. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive tells me that a one-loss SEC team should play for the title.

No surprise there, but he also strongly endorsed Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs’s comments on ESPN. 

Slive watched the ending of the Ohio State-Michigan game in the press box at Jordan-Hare and said, “I was a Wolverine for a few minutes.”

Slive also said, “I’m planning on wearing a green tie (to the SEC title game). And, “I’ll be a Spartan for a day.”

5. As of this morning, USC had not contacted James Franklin or his representatives. 

That could change. 

Franklin, who just notched his second straight eight win regular season with the Commodores, won’t leave Vanderbilt for anything less than a top ten job. 

But if USC or Texas offered him, he’d go. 

And I think he’d kill it at either place. 

If USC hires Steve Sarkisian, how in the world can you sell a coach with a worse Pac 12 record than Lane Kiffin to USC fans? Hell, I’d rather keep Coach O than hire Sark. 

6. Duke’s David Cutcliffe should be unanimous coach of the year at Duke.

Yes, even more so than Gary Pinkel at Missouri or Gus Malzahn at Auburn.

Both of those schools have won big before.

But ten games at Duke?

It’s an unheard of level of success.

Anyone else wonder what the status of Tennessee’s program would be if David Cutcliffe had been hired three years ago. 

7. What if Ohio State or Florida State loses?

Then the winner of the SEC title game is in the BCS title game. 

Yes, I think Mizzou would leap Alabama in the BCS standings with a win over Auburn. 

Voters aren’t going to allow Alabama to play for a national title two times in three years without winning its own division. 

8. What if both Ohio State and Florida State lost?

Then we’d have an all SEC title game, Alabama against the winner of Missouri-Auburn. 

Can you imagine if there was an Iron Bowl rematch in the BCS title game?

The entire state of Alabama really would burn.

9. You guys loved the TV ratings last week so I’m going to include them weekly now.

Here were all the national games of the weekend. The first number is the rating, the second is the share.

It’s not a surprise, but we begin with CBS’s SEC package, which is the best deal in the world of sports. 

CBS 

Alabama-Auburn 3:30p- 8.4/19

This is the highest rated game of the weekend by far. 

Here were the top five markets for that game:

Birmingham: 57.3/82

An 82 share for Birmingham!

Knoxville: 20.2/33

Columbus, OH: 20.1/38

Nashville: 19.1/34

New Orleans: 17.3/29

 

Fox

Friday

Washington State-Washington – 3:30p -1.4/3

Saturday

Notre Dame-Stanford – 7p- 2.2/4

 

FOX Sports 1

Friday night:, 11/29

Oregon State – Oregon 1.43

Saturday

Kansas State at Kansas 12n- .16

Iowa State-West Virginia 4p- .15

 

ABC

Ohio State at Michigan 12n- 6.3/15

Georgia – Georgia Tech 3:30p- 2.8/6

UCLA – USC 8p- 2.7/5

 

NBC

EPL Soccer 12:30p- 0.5/1

I just thought it would be interesting to include the English Premier League relative to college football games.

Grambling – Southern 2:30p- 0.5/1

 

ESPN 

Florida State – Florida 12n 2.4/6

Penn State – Wisconsin 3:30p 1.1/2

Texas A&M – Missouri 7:45p- 3.6/6

 

ESPN 2

Duke – North Carolina 12n 0.7/2

Baylor – TCU 3:30p- 0.5/1

Clemson – South Carolina 7p- 1.5/3

New Mexico – Boise State 10:30 0.4/1

 

ESPNU

Rutgers – UConn .1

Virginia Tech – Virginia .2

Tennessee – Kentucky .3

San Diego State – UNLV .2

 

 

10. Outkick’s National Top Ten: (You can read my rationale for these rankings here).

1. Auburn

2. Alabama

3. Florida State

4. Mizzou

5. Ohio State

6. South Carolina

7. Oklahoma State

8. Baylor

9. Michigan State

10. Stanford

 

11. Outkick’s SEC Power Rankings: (You can read my rationale for these rankings here.)

1. Auburn

2. Alabama

3. Missouri

4. South Carolina

5. LSU

6. Georgia

7. Texas A&M

8. Vanderbilt

9. Ole Miss

10. Mississippi State

11. Tennessee

12. Florida

13. Arkansas

14. Kentucky

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.