Fourth spot in playoff would be choice among three champions

National college football writer Chris Dufresne takes time off each Friday during the season to respond to letters about college football. You can write to him at

The Times' Chris Dufresne opens his mailbag with CineSport's Brian Clark to explain who would get the 4th college football playoff spot, and how the Pac-12 will fare in bowl games.

Question: Who would get the fourth berth in the playoff?

That's the question I'd love to see you tackle.

Ted Frank

Answer: I tackled this question so hard in Monday's column I almost got called for "targeting."

And that ejection would have forced me to sit out the first half of next week's column.

It's a great question but one next year's selection committee does not have to tackle because it is hypothetical.

In fact, the BCS worked better this year than the four-team playoff would have worked.

A committee this year would have no debate putting Florida State and Auburn at 1 and 2, but then would have had five worthy schools to fill two spots.

Alabama did not win its own division in the SEC, but I'm telling you the Crimson Tide would have made it no matter how much the committee has talked about putting more emphasis on conference titles.

The fourth spot would have come down to Michigan State, Stanford or Baylor, the champions of the Big Ten, Pac 12 and Big 12, respectively.

And we were worried about one worthy team getting left out of a playoff?

If the playoff started this year, it would have been two worthy teams getting left out.

Q: How does a team who lost to two unranked teams finish in the top five?

Larry Butcher

A: I guess you had better go back and look at Stanford's season. The Cardinal lost two games by a total of nine points and played the nation's fourth-toughest schedule, according to this week's Sagarin ratings.

Look at the Sagarin SOS for the BCS top 10 and tell me Stanford is not a top-five team:

1: Florida State (63)

2: Auburn (20)

3: Alabama (45)

4: Michigan State (56)