Let us begin this final stretch of the playoff chase with the airing of grievances. I got a lotta problems with you people, now you're going to hear about it!
The third week of the college football playoff rankings were released Tuesday evening shortly after Kentucky showcased an eighth straight NBADL team. Unless you're Alabama, whose only remaining hurdles are puddles of drool left at their feet by the national media, every team ranked two through eight has reasons for optimism, as well as concern. Is Louisville Football the most overlooked/disrespected team in the top 25? Yes. However, the number one grievance is with the actual committee. The formation, membership, and secrecy kicks common sense and fairness to the curb. Out of the BCS, the college football playoff was born. It wasn't supposed to be an elitist club; it's supposed to be a festivus for the rest of us.
The playoff committee is currently made up of 12 members. Five of the 12 are active athletic directors of power five schools. Logic may be considered a conspiracy theory to some, but if tens of millions of dollars are at stake for these individuals, do you really expect them to put self-interests aside and act for the greater good?
Kirby Hocutt, chair of the committee, is the athletic director of Texas Tech and the only voice for the Big 12 who has only had one representative thus far in the actual playoffs (more on his ignorance shortly).
Barry Alvarez is the former legendary head coach of Wisconsin and is current director of athletics for the Badgers. I wonder who he is cheering for...
Jeff Long is current vice chancellor and athletic director for the University of Arkansas. He was Coach Petrino's former boss and is the only person to ever fire Bobby from a coaching position.
Rob Mullens is athletic director at the University of Oregon. Prior to his arrival in Eugene, Mullens spent eight years in Lexington working through the ranks of Kentucky's athletic department.
The last of the athletic directors is Dan Radakovich. Mr. Radakovich just so happens to be the leading man at Louisville's arch nemesis, Clemson. Welcome to tiger town y'all.
Rounding out the committee is Jeff Bower (former Southern Miss head coach), Herb Deromedi (former Central Michigan head coach), Tom Jernstedt (previous NCAA executive vice president), Bobby Johnson (former coach at Vanderbilt, Clemson, and Furman), Condoleeza Rice (no football experience), Steve Wieberg (reporter from the USA Today), and Tyrone Willingham (previous coach of Notre Dame, Stanford, and Washington).
You know what 11 of the 12 committee members have in common? They aren't paid/have no requirement to actually watch football games. In fact, five of them are paid millions to focus on each and every male/female sport on their campus equally. How could they possibly have time to evaluate football teams across the country?
The committee should be made up of 12 sports media members, voted upon by their peers, and rotated every two seasons. Sports media/journalists are actually paid and required to watch sporting events and present their findings with accuracy. Bias will never be destroyed, but allowing 12 respected journalists to debate the rankings would provide the fairest results. These individuals dedicate their working lives to covering college football; common sense follows that they would have the best grasp of which teams are most deserving.
Some may scream conspiracy theory or sour grapes, but four of the committee members have clear cut motivations to fight and argue against Louisville. Clemson stands to lose millions if the Cardinals jump them in the rankings. I am sure that fact never crosses Radakovich's mind while he lobbies for his Tigers. Long's Razorbacks haven't been able to recover since Petrino's messy departure so let's believe that has no impact on his decision making. Mullens was bred at an institution that despises Louisville and insists on labeling them "little brother", but who cares, he will fight for the Cardinals. Bobby Johnson played at Clemson, coached at Clemson, coached at Furman in Clemson's backyard, and then finished his career at Vanderbilt. Make your own assumptions on his preferences.
The cards are stacked against Louisville in 2016, but the bigger picture is there will always be a "Louisville". It is unfathomable and preposterous and other big words found in the thesaurus that anyone is allowed to be on the committee that has a dog in the fight. Remove the power players and those standing to gain or lose millions based on the playoff, then come talk to me about legitimacy.
Lastly, you, Kruger (Hocutt), my people tell me your reasoning and explanations stink. You couldn't smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe.... I lost my train of thought. In all seriousness, who elected this guy leader of the outfit? He couldn't talk his way out of a wet paper bag.
Hocutt professes they look at the entire resume and that losses don't matter as much as quality wins. However, this metric is applied inconsistently, and how interesting is it that the same people deciding what quality wins are also decide the rankings. Oklahoma is 8-2 and ranked 9th. The Sooners haven't beaten a top 25 team and got smacked by Houston who is 8-2 and unranked. Care to explain Hocutt? West Virginia, whose only loss is to a top 25 team, is ranked 14th. Hocutt further expounded on Oklahoma saying they have a tremendous offense and have won seven straight. Correct me if I am wrong but Louisville's offense is ranked number one and its defense is ranked sixth... Hocutt?
Then Mr. Hocutt delivered this gem when asked about Lamar Jackson's impact (Jackson is compiling one of the greatest seasons of all time): "No, it doesn't. We talk about teams, performances of the team. We don't talk about individual players in that regard. You know, as we talk about the offensive production for a particular team, a particular individual may be mentioned, but not as it having impact on our rankings.
It is hard to dignify that kind of stupidity with a response. How can the best player in football not have an impact on rankings? Pretend for a second Lamar was injured and wasn't expected to play again until 2017. His absence would undoubtedly weigh on the committee's decision as to whether or not Louisville was still the 5th best team in the country. Absolute buffoonery.
The ranting could go on forever. Unfortunately, there isn't enough parchment to talk about how overrated the Big 10 is and we must pray for their conference to blow up in the same manner the SEC has. Michigan just lost to a team who was beat at home by a FCS (division 2) school, but that doesn't matter.
Louisville has to look in the mirror and focus on the only thing that matters: winning. The schedule needs to be tougher for the Cardinals moving forward and I expect Jurich to address that, however, an inspiring victory over Houston should further Louisville's argument of inclusion. It is time for the feats of strength. The playoff committee can exclude the Cardinals if, and when, they pin down Lamar Jackson... good luck.
All Hail UofL !!