The Itis: CFB Treats - Bitter Goodbyes & CFP Fireworks
The PAC12 goes out with a bang, a (fairly uneventful) CFP rankings unveiling... and some big movement among coaches highlight this week's weekly recap.
In the sea of giants, the leviathan prevails, only to dance with a minnow in the shallows.
The 2023 CFP Rankings Are Set
This Sunday’s reveal was undoubtedly one of the more tumultuous events of my recollection of CFP selection Sundays. Unless you’re living under a rock (i.e. not on Twitter), you probably saw that there were a lot of people upset about the selection ‘process’ the committee followed. I’m not here to tell you that I know what the right answer was, because the committee was unquestionably put into a very tough spot. At least one fanbase was going to be very upset no matter what, and to be honest, you could make an argument that FSU doesn’t even have the biggest gripe to being left out.
My take prior to the reveal was that I hoped the committee would pick a side and roll with that. That is, either choose the four most deserving teams based on what transpired on the field (UM, UW, UT, FSU), or — go full anarchy mode — and select the four best (reasonable minds can come to an agreement on these teams), selecting UGA, Alabama, Michigan and Texas/UW. Instead, what we got was a strange mix — and I’m not bothered by the teams they put in themselves, I think the matchups are great — but it is extremely hard to follow their logic and not see a series of contradictions throughout the seeding, even beyond the top four. Notably, how UGA is getting punished for Alabama losing to Texas.
The transitive property doesn’t work in CFB. You have to rank Alabama below Texas (I guess?) and now because of a 3-point loss UGA has to be behind Alabama, in turn meaning UGA as to be behind Texas, but UGA is ‘probably’ still better than both of them (despite the close loss on Saturday)— but you leave the Dawgs out. I’ve got no problem with that, they don’t deserve to be in based on what’s happened on the field.
But then you put Alabama over FSU in based on the same logic I just outlined above, Alabama right now is ‘probably’ better than FSU. This is a contradiction, and while I’m with everyone that FSU in the CFP was probably setting up for a blood bath, if you’re going to include Alabama over them then they should at least keep that consistent and put in UGA, leaving (most likely) UW out on ‘eye test’. But, the committee instead chose the path of least resistance, failing to achieve either the four most deserving, nor the four best, but rather the four most easily justifiable teams.
I doubt that they actually did this— but it is almost as if they created two separate lists of rankings, one based on merit so far, the other based on eye test, scored the teams in these lists (#1 gets X points, #2 gets Y points etc. etc.) and then took the composite score of each to decide their final four. Actually, I feel like if they just came out and said that they did this (or some form of it), it would actually look a lot better. Instead of owning their decision, they hid behind FSU’s QB injury as a scapegoat, which actually is a criteria outlined in the CFP voting, but it still made them look silly in the end.
I think instead of saying that they are looking for the four best, which history tells us isn’t true, they should say: we are looking for the four teams that have the best combination of most deserving and who we think are the best based on ‘eye test’. Still subjective? Yes (I think that’s the point of having a committee in the first place), but it’s at least a bit more accurate to what it is they are actually doing.
That being said, I think we can all agree that there should be at least two, and hopefully three, good matchups in the CFP this year— something we haven’t been able to say in most years. I’m fired up about it, and hopefully ya’ll are too.
Alabama Wins Another Natty?
Anyways, enough with my ranting. I wrote last week that I considered the SECCG as the defacto natty and my stance hasn’t changed. I almost want to prematurely congratulate Alabama on winning the natty just to jinx them, but this reaction by UM to being matched up vs. the Tide tells me all I need to know.
So… Nick Saban gets another ring, with a team that really isn’t all that great this year, and then rides off into the sunset? Maybe? I don’t know, it seems plausible.
As I mentioned above, I still think UGA is the better team, and a better program right now, a close loss doesn’t invalidate that. I think the frustrating part was that Alabama didn’t even play its best ball on Saturday, but UGA really, really didn’t play its best ball either. And maybe I’m wrong to dismiss the other CFP contenders so flippantly. But I’ve been a fan of the Dawgs starting since basically when Kirby Smart took over, and there’s only one program that I’ve seen that ends UGA’s national title plans, and that is Alabama (with one 2019 LSU team as an exception). That’s it. Everyone else I’ve seen them beat when they face off (Clemson, Michigan, OSU, ND, OU etc.)— and ya’ll know I’m all about historical patterns when it comes to CFF. I like to go with what patterns I’ve seen happen before. I don’t trust the other programs to line up at the LOS and have the athletes on the exterior to defeat Alabama.
That being said, I hope I’m wrong. I’m hoping someone else besides the Tide wins. Unlike a lot of fans of other SEC schools, there’s no SEC pride over here. I would cheer for UM, but it feels like the inevitable is coming (inserts vomit emoji).
Post-Regular Season Stat Tidbits
I am using four point passing TD, and 1PPR in the following statistics.
Six QBs finished the season averaging 30 or more points per game, all six are dual threat QBs: JD, Nix, Caleb Williams, Salter, Dillon Gabriel, and Byrum Brown.
21 RBs finished averaging 20 or more points per game. 42 RBs finished with 1000 yards rushing or more. Only Two RBs scored 20 or more TDs: OGII and Blake Corum.
Not a single RB finished the regular season with 300 or more carries. The leader is Troy’s Kimani Vidal with 280. Only four got 250 or more. Only 22 saw 200 or more carries. I don’t know this for a fact but it seems like a decreasing trend in carries concentrated to one player.
16 WRs finished averaging 20 or more points per game. 25 WRs finished with 1000 yards receiving or more. LSU’s WR2 Brian Thomas finished the season as the receiving leader in TDs.
The highest scoring non-QB is Ashton Jeanty with 29.53 points per game.
The highest scoring WR is Malik Nabers with 27.22 points per game.
Only four non-QBs averaged more than 25 PPG: Ashton Jeanty, Ollie Gordon, Malik Nabers and Malik Washington.
Only 12 TEs finished averaging more than 10 points per game.
Brock Bowers finished the season leading all TEs with 17.2 points per game.
TCU’s Jared Wiley and Oregon State’s Jack Velling finished as the leaders among TEs for receiving TDs with eight.
A Bitter Farewell to the PAC12 (and to the golden age of CFB?)
Later this week, I am going to release an opinion piece on the state of CFB and where it’s headed. So I’ll save the mellow-drama for now. However, I couldn’t help shake the feeling of disappointment and frustration when I was watching the PAC12 championship game last Friday. It was an amazing game, and it was the perfect ending to cap off a great year for the PAC12. Two potential CFP teams. Two potential Heisman winners. The conference finally garnered national respect again, and they finally got a team into the dance. And yet… this was the last time we would see this entity intact.
My overall feeling at the end of that game was that: CFB is getting worse today. Personally, part of what attracted me to CFB in the first place was how big it was, and how each of the major P5 conferences represented the different regions of the US quite distinctly. This is the biggest advantage CFB has over the NFL in my opinion. The NFL is standardized and sterile, there are conferences and divisions in name only. There is nothing Atlanta about the Atlanta Falcons other than the fact that an owner bought a team and brokered a deal to make a stadium there. The NFC is not any different in any discernible way to the AFC. But in CFB, the SEC has a very different feel from the B1G, or the PAC12, or even the BIG12.
Having these distinguishable identities adds texture and richness to the game itself. The rivalry games, such as Ole Miss vs. State, Iowa vs. Iowa State, etc. feel distinctly different than other rivalries, and feel intensely representative of those regions and cultures, which makes it more interesting and real.
Unfortunately, realignment — which has been initiated solely for the sake of money, of which fans will never see — is making the game smaller. Further consolidating the big programs into increasingly concentrated conferences is not the way CFB wants to go, in my humble option. The NFL already exists, if I wanted to watch the best on best play football every week I’d just watch that. The appeal of CFB is not to be an NFL-light product. I fear, however, that with further realignment inevitably coming down the line (FSU’s snub probably didn’t help with this), that this is the reality we are heading towards.
I don’t necessarily blame the PAC12 teams, in fact, the program I have the biggest gripe with is Texas, who essentially kicked off this series of destructive dominoes for their own ($$) gain. The B1G merely responded to what the SEC did by arming themselves with more big programs in retaliation. This type of nuclear arms race doesn’t end well for anybody who loves the sport of CFB, at least, that’s how I see it.
So, with that being said, I bid a final farewell to the PAC12… you were always great to us CFF managers. Maybe one day you’ll come back to being whole once again— one can dream, right?
Update on Coaching & Transfer Movement
Some massive changes took place this past week in the coaching landscape, with over 20 new play callers hired already. This is crucial information to track for our offseason CFF research purposes, so I’ve taken the liberty of creating an evergreen document to keep track of these movements.
This document is also keeping tab on all of the CFF relevant movements in the transfer portal, with OVER 100 names included already, and several big name players looking for new homes. The document is linked below:
Shoutout to Evan Stewart
The subject of last week’s poll— Evan Stewart, apparently appreciates the name of this publication. These days, I’m so concerned with VP business that I didn’t even know he had replied to me until the photo below was sent to me via slack. The VP interns are reaching out to Mike Elko as we speak to broker a VP-NIL deal for the A&M playmaker, details pending…
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