Four months after the Playoff committee shut out the Big 12 from the inaugural College Football Playoff, TCU’s Gary Patterson isn’t feeling any better about things.
Patterson spoke with reporters on Thursday and came after the committee’s decision to leave the Horned Frogs out. He said their rhetoric all year about not needing a conference title game was hypocritical and noted that if they were one of the Big 12’s bigger programs they would have made it in.
“I was told the reason we had a [selection] committee is we were going to take all that stuff out of it. [Conference] championship games shouldn’t have mattered,” Patterson said. “Their job was to watch all this film and pick the four best teams no matter who you played, what you did. All the sudden it came down to, ‘Well, they played a championship game but they didn’t.’ That’s not what we were told. We were told they were going to pick the four best teams.”
Patterson is of course noting the massive swing that happened after conference championship week when the eventual national champs Ohio State jumped into the Top 4 after a massive win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
“You can’t say it was the body of work…we beat somebody 55-3 and dropped from three to six. That means you studied everybody in the country and the body of work moved us to three. But we won 55-3. The other people’s body of work moved so much that they moved everybody up — and us down — in five days.”
Now, Ohio State ended up clearly belonging in the College Football Playoff, but the frustration from Patterson and TCU is understandable. The biggest issue for the committee was that they kept announcing Top 25 rankings each week, which left them in a terrible spot at the end. It’s a situation where they’re likely damned if they do and damned if they don’t, but when it came down to the final week and TCU thrashes a team by 52 points to put an exclamation point on their season it looked really bad to drop them three spots.
Patterson’s explanation for why it happened is simple: money.
“There was that motto out there, if we would have been an Oklahoma and Texas with a larger fan base and sold more T-shirts, that we would have been in the playoffs,” Patterson speculated. “I think we gained more possibly by not being in the playoffs — and how we handled it — than by being in the playoffs.”
The Horned Frogs went on to dominate Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl and has legitimate gripe, but Ohio State, Florida State or whoever else had been left out would have also had a case. What’s the answer for the committee (and schools that get left out)? That’s a tougher proposition. Expansion is clearly not coming, and in a year when there are six teams with legitimate cases two are going to have hurt feelings. This year it just *happened* to be the two programs with the smallest fan bases.
Probably not a coincidence.