Mac Engel

College Football Playoff committee’s treatment of TCU a disgrace

The lost of receiver Josh Doctson and others to injuries this season has made TCU’s challenge tough, but no challenge has been more difficult to overcome than the selection committee’s bias.
The lost of receiver Josh Doctson and others to injuries this season has made TCU’s challenge tough, but no challenge has been more difficult to overcome than the selection committee’s bias. Star-Telegram

One of Gary Patterson’s favorite verbal crutches is “one point.” The way the College Football Playoff selection committee has treated his team, he needs to adjust the saying to “500 points.” One clearly isn’t enough, and the way things look, 500 may not be, either.

After he said that TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson is out for the year (again), and quarterback Trevone Boykin is a Saturday decision for the game at Oklahoma, scoring one point just became considerably more difficult.

No team has been punished more by the crooks who run the College Football Playoff selection process than TCU. The Horned Frogs are in the Big 12, but they are treated as if they were still in the Mountain West Conference.

“I think I could win the next two games and drop to 35th,” GP quipped late Wednesday afternoon.

He may not be wrong.

Last season in the regular-season finale, TCU won by 52 points and dropped three spots, right out of the college football playoffs and into the Peach Bowl. On Saturday, TCU defeated a bad Kansas team by six points and promptly dropped three spots to No. 18.

That type of home win did not merit moving up, but to drop the Frogs three spots just adds to the notion that this committee has no use for this school.

“It’s hard on morale,” said Patterson, noting the latest rankings were more of a blow to his players than to him.

No one can blame a player if he sees the latest rankings and asks, “Why are we even playing the games?”

The Frogs’ fading final four chances were all but gleefully shot to death by the BCS Plus 2’s latest rankings. The subconscious bias against the small private, religiously affiliated schools not named Notre Dame remains equal parts appalling and sadly predictable.

The committee will be OK putting in a Big 12 team to its precious playoffs, provided it’s Oklahoma or T. Boone State; it would obviously prefer Texas, but #TexasStrong remains a #TexasJoke. Baylor and TCU? The Bears and Froggies need to be perfect, and then they need help, too.

“The key to [the playoffs] was, I thought it was, all about winning,” Patterson said.


The way the committee has functioned, there appears to be a firm belief inside that special room that there is no way a team named TCU or Baylor is worthy of elite status. The bias against the teams is offensive.

TCU has won every game but one this season, and all it has done is drop in the rankings. TCU is somehow ranked way behind five teams with fewer wins, and five other teams with more losses. No committee member can reasonably justify Michigan’s ranking of 12 and Navy at 16.

The committee does realize Tom Brady no longer plays at Michigan, yes? The committee justifiably slaps Oklahoma for its bad loss to UT, but there is no mention of Alabama’s wretched home loss against Ole Miss.

The college football playoff system will forever remain flawed, undemocratic and rife with contradictions, but what has happened to TCU in the first two seasons of this new system is embarrassing even to the popularity contest that is the final four.

GP acknowledged the obvious about his team Wednesday. His team has been destroyed by injuries, and it did not play well Saturday against Kansas Junior College.

“I would totally agree not to put us in the top four,” he said.

This isn’t about the top four because no one thinks TCU is a top-10 team. This is about the other slots, and the other bowl games that do have some effect on recruiting. Where TCU is ranked affects its chances at a sexier bowl game.

College football loves to sell parity, balance and fairness when the top is anything but. Only one non-traditional power team has won a national title since 1945 — BYU won it all in 1984. Other than that, it is a steady stream of Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan.

What the committee is doing is telling TCU — and Baylor — “We let you in our club, now don’t complain about your seat.”

The relatively new evolution of this BCS Plus 2 format indicates that the networking is just as important in the previous crony-driven model.

“One point” sounds great, but it would appear it works only if you’re Ohio State, Alabama or Notre Dame.

TCU apparently needs to win by 500 points, and that might not be enough.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel: 817-390-7697, @macengelprof

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