Sallee: Playoff Committee Got It Right

Despite a pair of semifinal snoozers, Barrett Sallee believes the committee picked the right four teams for the playoff

Taz and the Moose
December 31, 2018 - 11:03 am

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The 2018 College Football Playoff, thus far, has been largely forgettable. No. 1 Alabama led No. 4 Oklahoma 28-0 early in the second quarter and won 45-34, while No. 2 Clemson beat No. 3 Notre Dame 30-3.

Two blowouts, two snoozers – in the two biggest games of the year.

Nevertheless, CBS Sports national college football writer Barrett Sallee believes the committee got it right.

“You can’t use hindsight to go back and say Notre Dame didn’t deserve to be there,” Sallee said on Taz & The Moose. “Notre Dame was 12-0. Notre Dame has a quality win over Michigan. A win over a team in Syracuse that’s going to be a top-10, top-12 team at the end of the season They didn’t lose. Results have to matter. If you’re Georgia or you’re Ohio State, you can say (you’re) one of the top four teams in the country right now, but that’s not what this is about.”

Indeed, it’s not about the best four teams in the country right now. It’s also not necessarily about the four most deserving teams. It’s about the four best – and each individual committee member has to make that call.

“Best teams are whatever you want to make it as the individual – and that’s what it should be,” Sallee said. “The season is the season. It isn’t defined by anything. It isn’t defined by geographical conferences. The process worked. The process absolutely worked. People got caught up in changing definitions to fit a narrative, and that narrative, which I think is ridiculous, is to make it the best four right now because for whatever reason people want college football to be like the NFL – and it’s not. It shouldn’t be.”

While Sallee thought Notre Dame would fare better against Clemson, he wasn’t surprised by the end result.

“Notre Dame not putting up much of a fight, I was a little bit surprised by,” he said. “Not necessarily that they lost – I thought they would lose, I thought Clemson would cover. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me that Notre Dame would put the game in Ian Book’s hands right out of the gate. I was surprised with that. But that’s pretty much it. 

“And in Oklahoma/Alabama, nothing really surprised me,” Sallee continued. “If I had to pick something, maybe that they weren’t more creative with Kyler Murray early to see if they could put pressure on Alabama, but that’s pretty much it. Neither of those two games were big surprises to me. I thought the two better teams won and won handily – and they should have.”

Alabama (14-0) and Clemson (14-0) will play for the national championship for the third time in four seasons. Kickoff is Monday, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m. ET.