Playoff chair says 'Alabama was clearly the No. 4 team' and it wasn't that close

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
  • The College Football Playoff is set and Alabama is in over Ohio State as the fourth team.
  • Many felt Ohio State’s conference championship and bigger wins should have gotten them in.
  • The committee chair said Alamama was clearly better and that it wasn’t close enough to consider tie-breakers like conference championships.

The College Football Playoff committee has spoken and Alabama is in over Ohio State as the fourth team and will play Clemson in the Sugar Bowl semifinal.

Bama-vs.-Ohio State was debated heavily following the conference championship games on Saturday. Ohio State had a conference championship and more impressive wins. But they also had something Alabama did not have, a second loss, an ugly 31-point debacle of a loss against unranked Iowa.

The decision was also controversial because it means this year’s playoff will have no teams from the Big Ten and the Pac-12. Instead, it will have two teams from the SEC, including one team that did not reach their conference championship game.

Ohio State footballMatthew Holst/Getty Images

Listening to playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocutt, it sounds like the Buckeyes’ loss to Iowa may have sealed their fate even before the conference championship games.

“We compared [Alabama’s resume] to a 2-loss Ohio State team, obviously that one loss at home to No. 2-ranked Oklahoma,” Hocutt said on ESPN. “But more damaging was the 31-point loss to unranked Iowa.”

Conference championships are supposed to be a bit of a tiebreaker if the teams are considered otherwise equal. In this case, the committee did not view the teams as equals.

“Alabama was clearly the No. 4 team in the country as a non-champion,” Hocutt said. “In this case, the margins weren’t close enough for us to look at those matters.”

Hocutt went on to explain that Bama’s “full body of work” was simply better and it sounded like the decision might not have been too tough at all.

“The selection committee just favoured Alabama’s full body of work over that of Ohio State, and it was consistent over the course of the year. As we saw Alabama play week in and week out, our rankings show when we start with a clean sheet of paper each and every week, that the selection committee believed that Alabama was the better football team … When you looked at Ohio State – the win over Wisconsin, winning the Big Ten championship – When you looked at their resume, the wins they have over CFP top-25 teams, it was impressive, but it wasn’t enough for the selection committee to place them over Alabama.”

It is clear that one big thing working against Ohio State was simply that they were ranked all the way down at No. 8 entering Championship Saturday while Alabama was fifth. That alone should have been the biggest indicator that the committee did not think Ohio State was close to being a playoff team and Alabama was.

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