A Big Ten championship and a win over one of the teams that got in wasn’t enough to get Penn State invited to the College Football Playoff.
Ohio State, which lost to Penn State 24-21 in October, goes the dance as the No. 3 seed. The Buckeyes face No. 3 Clemson on New Year’s Eve.
Despite Penn State’s two losses to Ohio State’s one, many people are making the Nittany Lions’ case that they should be the Big Ten’s representatives in the final four.
Can you imagine Ohio State fan reaction if they were 11-2, won Big Ten, beat Penn State head-to-head & 11-1 PSU got in playoff?
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) December 4, 2016
#PennState beat OSU head-to-head, had a tough non-conference sked & were champs of the toughest league in CFB this year & got left out. Ouch
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 4, 2016
Ohio State’s the sexier option and will draw bigger TV ratings, no doubt considerations of the selection committee. But if you want to pick holes in OSU’s resume, there are opportunities to do that.
In addition to the obvious blemish – the loss at Penn State – Ohio State struggled against Big Ten also-rans Northwestern and Michigan State, and it’s an understatement to say they were fortunate to win in overtime against Michigan.
Speaking of Michigan, are the Wolverines actually the best team in the conference?
The best team left out of the playoff is Michigan, not Penn State.
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) December 4, 2016
But none of this really matters. The committee made its selections, and we all have to live with them. And that’s fine, because we’re in store for what promises to be at least one excellent college football game – Ohio State vs. Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes are about field-goal favorites.
The other semifinal figures to be far more one-sided, with No. 1 Alabama laying two touchdowns to No. 4 Washington.
As for Penn State, a Rose Bowl date against USC is a decent consolation prize. Not quite as great as some would have you believe, of course.
Rose Bowl is the best Bowl a team can play in. The season EXCEEDED everyone’s expectations. Penn State is back. We Are.
— #BeatUSC 🌹 (@NittanyLionFB) December 4, 2016
No matter how big of a gripe you may have about Penn State, Michigan, Western Michigan (undefeated, but let’s not go there right now) or any other team that didn’t make the playoff, the most egregious decision by the college football powers that be is – indisputably – playing the semifinals on New Year’s Eve, when most of us will be out doing something way more fun than watching these games.
Betting this week? Sign up to get picks from our expert handicappers. If we’re not picking winners, get your money back.