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Here's how conference championships can

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# 04.12.2017 - 02:12:43

When the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick established the protocol for the Carlos Santana Authentic Jersey College Football Playoff selection committee, they allowed for the group to have a great deal of flexibility. They also instructed them to consider four criteria when evaluating comparable teams: conference championships, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and outcomes against common opponents.

It's important to remember as the committee meets to select this season's playoff participants. Should the fourth spot boil down to two or more comparable teams on Selection Day, this criteria would essentially be used as tiebreakers by the committee. But it's not as simple as suggesting that a conference championship for a team like Ohio State would give it the edge over one-loss Alabama, as each of the 13 members will have their own way of Michael Brockers Womens Jersey evaluating teams and weighing that criteria.
"To what degree, how that will be weighted is subjective with each individual in that selection committee room," chairman Kirby Hocutt said.
The value of winning a conference title was called into question last season when Ohio State earned the No. 3 spot without even winning its division and in spite of a head-to-head loss to Big Ten champion Penn State. Here's the catch, though: The committee didn't think Ohio State and Penn State were comparable last year. It believed the Buckeyes to be the better team, which essentially nullified any obligation to resort to those tiebreakers, which diminished the value of Penn State's head-to-head result and Big Ten title.
This season, Alabama is hoping to do the same by making the top four without winning the SEC West. Let's say Ohio State beats No. 4 Wisconsin to win the Big Ten title, and the fourth spot comes down to the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide. The biggest question the committee would have to answer is if it thinks a one-loss Alabama and a two-loss Ohio State are even "comparable," yet another subjective determination in the already ambiguous process. If not, it might not matter if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten, just as it didn't matter for Penn State last year.
One thing is certain: The No. 5 Crimson Tide need somebody in the top four to lose, but even then nothing is guaranteed.
If Ohio State wins: The two-loss Buckeyes knock the Badgers out and open the door for a great debate against 11-1 Alabama. Hocutt said a Big Ten title for the Buckeyes would be "an important designation to have on their résumé when comparing them to any comparable team."
The question then becomes: Are Alabama and Ohio State comparable? It would seem they are not at the moment, as evidenced by Alabama's No. 5 ranking, though Hocutt did say there is "very little separation" in teams five through eight right now.
"If that should change, if Ohio State wins a conference championship, I don't know how the selection committee would make that decision until it happens, and I'll be prepared to answer it next Sunday for sure."
In that case, Ohio State would have two top-10 wins, against No. 9 Penn State and No. 4 Wisconsin, and No. 16 Michigan State. Would that be enough to overcome two losses, including a dreadful 55-24 loss at Iowa?
If Wisconsin wins: The Badgers are in. They would finish the season as the only undefeated Power 5 team. While their strength of schedule is currently No. 65 according to ESPN's FPI -- the lowest of any ranked Power 5 team -- they are No. 4 in ESPN's Strength of Record metric, which measures how difficult it would be for an average top-25 team to achieve the same record as the Badgers.
Rooting interest: Alabama should be cheering for the Buckeyes. At the very least, it needs Wisconsin to lose.
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