College football mailbag: Playoff committee follies, SEC delusions

Matt Brown, Taylor Young
Baylor linebacker Taylor Young brings down TCU wide receiver Matt Brown during the Bears’ 61-58 victory in a Big 12 Conference game earlier this season.
(Rod Aydelotte / Associated Press)

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:

The College Football Playoff Committee is brilliant! Of course I’m an Oregon Ducks fan.

Dave Caulley


You may think the committee is brilliant, but folks in Fort Worth won’t think so if the CFP committee drops Texas Christian from the top four in the next three weeks even after the Horned Frogs cream their last three opponents: Kansas, Texas and Iowa State.

The committee was not very smart, in its first ranking on Oct. 25, to have TCU six positions higher than Baylor, which defeated TCU.

If it wins out, Baylor stands to win the Big 12 Conference, and the committee, according to the bylaws of its mission statement, is supposed to strongly consider league championships and head-to-head competition.

It’s going to be fun watching the Harry Houdini-like contortions involved in moving Baylor past TCU in the rankings before Dec. 7.



The saying “a camel is a horse designed by a committee” is being proved all the more true by the CFP selection committee, and since your rankings are pretty much in alignment with those rankings, I would say that you have a camel on your hands as well.

In my estimation, the best way to determine CFP rankings would be to have Nate Silver and his exceptional team of political, sports and burrito-rating nerds rank the teams base on the extraordinarily accurate algorithms they develop in analyzing political and sports outcomes.

John Lochead

I’ve never ridden a camel but I have been through the desert on a horse with no name, and it’s good to get out of the rain.

Nate Silver?! Are you kidding? We just had 16 years of computer nerds helping to choose our national champions, and how did that work out?

Silver should stick to picking Senate races in states where they don’t play major-level football. You know, like New Mexico.



Who behind the UCLA Bruins has a better resume? None.

Tom Vento

You awkwardly answered your own question there with a grammatical syntax that reminded me of one of Steven Colbert’s books: “I Am America (And So Can You!).”

I do think No. 11 is a legitimate ranking for UCLA, and you could argue the Bruins have the best two-loss resume outside the top 10.

UCLA is 6-0 on the road with a wipe-out win in Tempe, Ariz., against the nation’s sixth-ranked team, Arizona State. UCLA has also defeated Arizona, the only team to defeat No. 2 Oregon.


You should seek professional help for your constant, unending desire to demean the Southeastern Conference.

Jim Petralia


I am looking at scheduling a 12-step help program at one of these colleges that have business relationships with the SEC this year: Furman, Western Carolina, Presbyterian, Tennessee Martin, Sam Houston State, Charleston Southern, Lamar, Rice, Southern Methodist, South Dakota State, Arkansas State, Old Dominion, Nichols State or Samford.

I’m looking for an easy program to start, with an eye toward getting me ready for more difficult programs in late November.


Can you think of a quality SEC team that has played a game north of the Mason-Dixon line in the last five years? Or anywhere cold? I’d like to see some of those teams at Camp Randall vs. that behemoth Wisconsin line. How about playing out of conference on a trip to California?

Mitch Paradise

Alabama played at Penn State as recently as 2011. And the SEC has played out of conference in California at least two times, that I can remember, in recent years.

Alabama played in the Rose Bowl in January of 2009, in the dead of winter, for the national championship. It was so cold that night that Texas quarterback Colt McCoy lost feeling in his throwing arm and couldn’t even finish the game.

And Auburn played at the Rose Bowl last winter for the 2013 Bowl Championship Series title.


Your article on Arizona State scheduling Notre Dame took a few shots at the SEC. The SEC does quite well during the regular season and bowl games against the other major conferences year after year.

Overall the SEC has pretty much dominated college football for many years.

Tom Teas


The SEC is a terrific conference year after year. The only year I didn’t think SEC was great was 2004, when undefeated Auburn got left out of the BCS title game after finishing behind USC and Oklahoma.

I thought the SEC was a little bit down that year. Remember, the head coaches at Florida and Alabama in 2004 were not Urban Meyer and Nick Saban. They were Ron Zook and Mike Shula.


How about the Big 12 as the best football conference in America?… Missouri, a perennial middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team, is about to win its second SEC East title. And Texas A&M has owned the State of Alabama in big games.

Alex Garcia

The South would argue Missouri and Texas A&M got better, by osmosis, the second they bolted the Big 12 for the SEC.

It is interesting that Missouri never won a Big 12 title and Texas A&M won just one, in 1998, yet those schools became instantly competitive in the SEC.

I can say with some certainty that fans of the SEC do not want Missouri, which lost at home to Indiana, to repeat as champion of the East division. Indiana, for what it’s worth, is 0-5 this year in Big Ten Conference games.

Missouri’s other defeat was 34-0 at home against a Georgia team playing without star tailback Todd Gurley.


Did you see the ESPN show that made a case for SEC getting shut out? (Well, we can all dream that right?)

Morris Rusch

I wish the very best to those ESPN analysts who said that, because I’m sure they were fired for their blasphemous, disloyal comments.

ESPN and the SEC have a cozy, loving relationship and there’s no way the network paying for the new system is going to allow fewer than two SEC schools into the four-team playoff every year.

But, gulp, there really is a disaster scenario out there for the SEC that starts with Missouri winning the East and then stunning the West champion in the SEC title game.

Missouri controls its destiny, even though it lost to Georgia, because Georgia has two conferences losses and Missouri has only one.

Devoted, tobacco-spitting SEC fans need Georgia to win the East, but that is going to require Georgia defeating Auburn on Saturday and Missouri losing once.

The breakdown: Georgia closes the year with nonconference games against Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech.

Missouri closes at Texas A&M and Tennessee before a final home game against Arkansas.


Baylor has now beaten TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas State three out of the last four seasons, and the once-mighty Texas Longhorns four of the last five matchups. I’m sure Bears fans are hoping that this “luck” the sportswriters have pointed out will continue in coming seasons.

Robert Vickrey

You forgot about Baylor’s “lucky” win over Central Florida in last season’s Fiesta Bowl. Oh wait, Baylor lost that game, 52-42.


While reading your article this morning I thought for sure that your fact checker had screwed up again: the Rice running back from 1954 was identified as Dicky “Maegle.” I recalled him being called Moegle, both at Rice and in NFL. But I checked and you are right. For some reason at some time he changed the spelling of his name.

Gib Gildea

Dicky Maegle was born Richard Lee Moegle in 1934 but changed the spelling of his name because it was mispronounced so often.

It’s the same reason I have considered dropping the “s” from my name and going with Dufrene. But then I would have to change all my business cards.


Your Monday piece on the “lows and highs” of this “silly” gladiator sport of football was easily worth a Pulitzer or an Emmy or at least an ESPY. Kudos!

Don Troy

After more than 30 years in the editorial department — my start date was Dec. 31, 1981 — I would happily trade all of those for my first “Employee of the Month” award from the Los Angeles Times.

(Editor’s note: He shouldn’t hold his breath.)

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