College football mailbag: Playoff committee gives itself a TCU problem

Mailbag: Has the College Football Playoff committee gone mad? Chris Dufresne has the answers

Each week during the college football season, national analyst Chris Dufresne will burn a timeout to answer questions and exchange opinions. You can email him at and reach him on Twitter: @DufresneLATimes.

Unbuckling the mailbag:

In my opinion, the College Football Playoff committee has gone completely mad. Seems as if their latest ranking is the result of insanity, incompetence, or most probably hidden agendas by some members .… I suppose it could all work out on Sunday, but somehow I doubt that is going to happen.

Preston Gartley

I wouldn't call the committee completely mad, as you suggest, but it did make a serious blunder this week by raising Texas Christian to No. 3. That was completely unnecessary.

I really think it was more about the committee wanting to drop Florida State to No. 4. The committee clearly is not impressed with the way the Seminoles are winning.

However, moving TCU to No. 3 sets the panel up for serious grief if it ultimately jumps No. 6 Baylor over TCU. To review, Baylor defeated TCU, 61-58.

So why do it?

If No. 4 Florida State defeats No. 11 Georgia Tech on Saturday, it is likely going to move back to No. 3 in the final ranking.

Why not just keep Florida State at No. 3 and TCU at No. 4? That would make it easier to flip-flop to Baylor if the Bears defeat Kansas State on Saturday.

There is no getting around the fact that Baylor won the head-to-head against TCU. I think the committee must ultimately use that as the tiebreaker.


With all the dialogue about how the committee will decide on the final four for the NCAA football playoffs, I'm hoping that some group of savvy individuals will be curious enough to see who would be the final four using the old Bowl Championship Series system.

Chuck Litterer

There are savvy individuals out there running BCS simulations. The Harris poll is no longer around, but you can simply sub in the Associated Press media poll, which was part of the BCS until it backed out after 2004.

The BCS formula has considerably more love for undefeated Florida State. The BCS standings would be Alabama, Florida State, Oregon and Texas Christian. Ohio State would be five, followed by Baylor and Arizona.

The gap between No. 2 and No. 3 in the BCS is big. The College Football Playoff committee, which is subjective and does not involve computers, sees Florida State in an unfavorable light.

The playoff committee ranking has Alabama, Oregon, TCU and Florida State.

What the simulated BCS standings show, once again, is that the Pac-12 would have received the short stick.

If all the top teams win out this weekend, the BCS championship game would be Alabama vs. Florida State, not Alabama vs. Oregon.


Very interesting "what if" article, except you failed to point out that USC barely won two games that they should have lost. The Arizona game, when the Wildcats' kicker missed an easy field goal, and the Stanford game where USC was punched all over the field and won with the help of Pat Haden.

Sam Perlmutter

Every school has close games. Florida State is six plays from being 6-6. USC won that Stanford game, fair and square, on the road.

And USC's win over Arizona wasn't lucky. To refresh, Arizona's kicker actually made his first field-goal attempt for the apparent game-winner, but USC Coach Steve Sarkisian called time out. The kicker missed his second try.

So that wasn't luck, it was strategy.


You are either the worst homer outside of a TBS broadcast or mentally ill. USC is a mediocre team. UCLA HAMMERED them. It wasn't an anomaly. Work out your problems in a less public place so you don't embarrass yourself.

Philip Golden

Can I choose a third option?


What if UCLA had made the long field goal against Utah? Everything else the same, they would play Oregon because they beat Arizona.

Stuart Ray

I did not include UCLA in my "what if" story because the "what if" against Utah did not matter because the Bruins still controlled their own destiny to the Pac-12 championship and the playoff.

UCLA's "what if" wasn't Utah, it was Stanford.


Needed space to fill a column? …They (USC) also lost to Boston College and got destroyed by UCLA. Even with a shot at Oregon, they would have had one of the worst losses (BC) of any of the contenders, minus maybe Ohio State.

Aaron Dinsdale

Are you kidding? Of course I needed to fill space for a column. The higher-ups do not appreciate receiving blank dispatches from their reporters. The paper celebrated its 133rd birthday on Thursday and I'd like to be around for No. 134.

Also, USC lost to UCLA. Had the Trojans been destroyed they would have not been able to recover seven days later to defeat Notre Dame, 49-19.


It's a good thing Verne and Gary weren't calling the Iron Bowl — Verne might have spontaneously combusted slobbering over (Alabama receiver Amari) Cooper.

Mike Jelline

Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson get a second slobber chance in Saturday's Southeastern Conference title game between Alabama and Missouri.

If Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota doesn't pitch a perfect game against Arizona in Friday night's Pac-12 Conference title game, CBS will unleash its Cooper-for-Heisman campaign.

Never mind that there is no comparison this year. Cooper is a monster talent, but his numbers don't add up against Mariota's.

Cooper should be a Heisman Trophy finalist and deserves an invitation to New York, but this should be Mariota's year.

Cooper has 1,573 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He's produced 200-yard plus games against Tennessee (224), Florida (201) and Auburn (224).

He was also held to fewer than 100 yards against Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana State and Mississippi State.

Mariota takes every snap from scrimmage for Oregon and has accounted for 48 touchdowns — 36 passing, 11 rushing, one receiving. He has passed for 3,470 yards and rushed for 636.

Trophy case closed.


No disrespect to Troy Aikman, but was the retiring of his UCLA jersey more of a lifetime achievement award than a reflection of his college play? While not being No. 1 overall draft picks, John Sciarra and Cade McNown arguably accomplished more at UCLA — both defeated USC and reached Rose Bowls — yet their jerseys haven't been retired.

Bill Sheehan

Interesting point. Aikman is a bigger name than Sciarra and McNown because of what he did in the NFL. Sciarra led UCLA to an epic win over Woody Hayes' top-ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, while McNown was a fabulous four-year starter and the last quarterback to lead the Bruins to a Rose Bowl.

Aikman only transferred to UCLA because he broke his leg at Oklahoma, and was replaced by a wishbone quarterback who led the Sooners to the national title.


Thanks for the mention yesterday (Nov. 27). Just make sure they get the right phone number. Would not want to miss out on that jalopy. It's 1-877 (not 1-800).

Morris Franco

Media Relations Specialist

Kars4Kids Car Donation Program

That has got to be one of the dumbest gaffes I've made in all my many years at the L.A. Times. I hear that jingle every day, and I still screwed it up?

1-877, Kars for Kids, K-A-R-S Cars for Kids, 1-877 Kars for Kids, donate your car today.

That's worse than messing up the phone number on that Tommy Tutone song, "Jenny (867-5309)."

For those who missed it: I dropped a Kars4Kids reference into my ranking comments last week for No. 15 Georgia, which was hosting my No. 14, Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech's alternative nickname, of course, is Ramblin' Wreck. So I mentioned Georgia was planning to beat Georgia Tech so bad the school would have to donate its jalopy to Kars4Kids."

Not only did Georgia Tech win the game, in overtime, but I wrote the phone number as 1-800 instead of 1-877.

I can only hang my head in commercial jingle shame and apologize to Kars4Kids and the great jingles that came before it: Call Roto-Rooter, that's the name, and away go troubles, down the drain.

I'm going to make up for this brick-head blunder by putting up my 1991 Toyota Camry. The window on the driver's side is stuck open and the front end alignment tugs to the left. I taped pennies on the right side of the steering wheel to even things out. The motor still purrs, though, with only 109,000 original miles.

I'm going to pick up the phone and dial 1-877 Kars4Kids, and donate my car ... tomorrow.

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