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Column: Miami-Duke adds to disorder College Football Playoff Committee faces

Miami-Duke adds to disorder College Football Playoff Committee faces

Miami’s Corn Elder throws a lateral during a kickoff return which featured multiple laterals before Elder subsequently received the final lateral and scored to beat Duke on Saturday.

(Rob Brown / AP)

Hours removed from eight wacky laterals at the end of Miami at Duke, it’s time to lateral the rest of this carnage to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

The season is hitting the committee, which convenes in Dallas in advance of Tuesday’s first ranking release, like a sledgehammer trying to ring a carnival bell.

The panel will be briefed on events and handed portfolios that will help members evaluate this year’s top teams.

One of those schools is Duke, which dropped out of the polls after “losing” to Miami in a game the Atlantic Coast Conference, on Sunday, declared a mistrial.

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The ACC officiating crew messed up so badly it probably got a sympathy card from the Pac-12 officiating crew.

The ACC suspended its crew and replay officials two games for allowing a touchdown in the final seconds to go on the books for a Miami win.

Replay wasn’t around to save Stanford from Cal’s "downed knee” on that crazy kickoff return in 1982.

Replay was available Saturday to rescue Duke, yet still the ACC punted, passed and botched it.

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The ACC on Sunday conceded the final touchdown should not have counted, even though the win will remain in Miami’s column.

“The last play of the game was not handled appropriately,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford offered in a Sunday statement.

Swofford said “our players, coaches, programs and fans deserved the best that can be offered.”

He did not offer much of an apology.

The fact is Miami return man Mark Walton should have been called down before starting a hilarious chain reaction of “Mouse Trap.”

It was determined the ACC crew/booth made four critical errors on the final play — but at least it took only nine minutes.

Duke Coach David Cutcliffe said a rule should be enacted to allow a rotten outcome to be overturned.

“This thing is going to be talked about a while,” Cutcliffe said.

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We hope this year’s committee is meeting in a rubber room.

Based on this weekend, there are many factors to consider:

What about the impact of sleep deprivation?

Oregon defeated Arizona on Thursday night, in triple overtime, in a game that ended at 2:45 a.m. Eastern time. The Ducks arrived home in Eugene at 7:30 a.m. Friday, just in time for chemistry lab.

Committee members also had to stay up late Saturday to witness the live outcome of Stanford escaping playoff elimination with a two-point win over Washington State in a rainstorm.

Stanford got out of Pullman on the midnight train after Washington State kicker Erik Powell hooked a 48-yard field goal in the final seconds.

We hope the committee considers the perseverance of Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, the fifth-year senior who rescued victory from the jowls of defeat. Still playing on the ankle he sprained against USC, Hogan rushed for 112 yards while inspiring teammates and his coaching staff.

Stanford Coach David Shaw said Hogan’s effort “almost shook us to tears.”

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This committee, yes, has a lot on its fancy-hotel plate.

Top-ranked Ohio State had a bye but temporarily lost its quarterback, J.T. Barrett, who will miss one game after being charged with a misdemeanor for driving a vehicle while impaired.

Second-ranked Baylor goes to the first ballot with a shaky resume and a freshman playing quarterback.

The Bears are 7-0 with a scheduled ranked No. 104 in the latest Sagarin Ratings. Baylor has lost junior quarterback Seth Russell (neck injury) for the season and are moving forward with first-year freshman Jarrett Stidham.

Things were supposed to get tougher in the Big 12 once Baylor dispatched nonconference rollovers Southern Methodist, Lamar and Rice. Yet, the record of Baylor’s first four Big 12 opponents stands at 11-21.

The Bears’ first conference test was supposed to come Thursday, at Kansas State, except Bill Snyder’s Wildcats have lost four straight.

Baylor fans should prepare for possibly not being in the top four of Tuesday’s first College Football Playoff ranking.

Remember, though, it’s where you finish that counts.

The committee, last year, did not always mirror public sentiment or the polls.

TCU finished third in both regular-season polls, but sixth in the final CFP ranking.

All five Pac-12 schools were ranked higher in the first committee ranking than they were in that week’s USA Today coaches’ poll.

The USA Today index, remember, was a part of the BCS formula that selected the title-game participants.

The Pac-12’s average first-week committee ranking was 14, compared to 15.6 for the coaches’ poll. The AP’s average Pac-12 ranking was 15.4.

How will the committee evaluate one-loss Notre Dame, which narrowly defeated Temple?

Notre Dame was No. 10 in the inaugural committee ranking last year, but No. 6 in the AP the same week.

What will the committee make of Oklahoma State, which allowed 53 points on Saturday to Texas Tech … but won?

Or Oregon, which gave up 55 … but won?

Or two-loss UCLA, which controls its destiny in the Pac-12 South? The Bruins moved up two AP poll spots despite surrendering 31 points at home to Colorado.

We can only be sure of this: The committee can’t do any worse at the end of the year than ACC officials did at the end of Miami-Duke.


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