Tuesday Tweetbag: How will CFB Playoff value conference titles?


Week 10's college football action is in the books, so we decided to fire up the Tuesday Tweetbag to tackle the burning topics on your mind this season, from top pro prospects to the best teams in the sport.

Feel free to submit your questions to @BryanDFischer on Twitter each Monday or early Tuesday morning to get them answered every week. Without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.

This is another great unknown about the selection committee, and one even chairman Jeff Long seemed to indicate they wouldn't be able to figure out until the final set of rankings, after all the title games have been played. Given Notre Dame's cushy position in the sport already, I doubt it will be held against them if their only loss is to Florida State, but it would be interesting to see things come down to the Irish and, say, Big 12 champion TCU for the fourth spot in the end.

The Horned Frogs, of course, would have a conference championship but wouldn't have a title game to get through and would have matching records. Will the mere fact that they have a title be the edge to get TCU the nod? I think it's far more likely the committee will simply pair the two together and pick the team who is playing better football, looking specifically at how they performed against the four toughest teams on the schedule.

Irish coach Brian Kelly actually addressed this topic on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday morning and cited the fact that the team plays their ACC slate, plus Big Ten and Pac-12 opponents, while forgoing any FCS teams. Kelly did conveniently neglect to mention Notre Dame plays only three road games this season, but when all is said and done I think the team has a pretty solid schedule that will hold its own against most teams. That might not be enough in the end, but Notre Dame's unique position in the playoff system itself indicates nothing will really be held against the Irish in the long run.

One area where I do think conference champions will end up being a factor is in seeding. The difference between the second and third seed (and a semifinal closer to home) might come down to who won the stronger league. The same could be said on the difference between the bottom two seeds. Either way, we'll still have to wait until December to find out.

The Big Ten has adopted a new, somewhat unorthodox, tiered system when it comes to its bowl game. The biggest reason they moved to this format is so that teams won't get sent to the same bowl game and/or region repeatedly. Commissioner Jim Delany really wanted to mix things up for the teams and bowls involved, and that appears to be the case going forward.

The top tier is obviously the College Football Playoff system and -- in years it doesn't host a semifinal -- the Rose Bowl. The league will also send a representative to the Orange Bowl at least three times in the next decade. After that, the top teams remaining will be sorted into three tiers, and the conference will help place each school in a favorable matchup and location. The Capital One/Outback/Holiday Bowls are those considered top-tier games, and so you'll probably see the title-game loser and the division runner-ups fall to one of those three. The middle-of-the-pack Big Ten teams will be placed in one of the Gator/Music City/Fight Hunger/Pinstripe Bowls, and those that are 6-6 or 7-5 will find themselves in one of the remaining bowl games.


If anybody had a chance, it would probably be the Pac-12. In that scenario, a one-loss Oregon team would win the title over then-one-loss Arizona State and, thanks to a ton of chaos elsewhere, the Sun Devils would sneak in as the fourth team. I think that's pretty farfetched, however. I would normally mention the Big 12, but the only scenario available would involve Baylor, and the Bears' non-conference slate is so bad that they probably wouldn't end up as a top-four pick.

There are a few fanbases making rumblings out West about their coach, but I don't see any Pac-12 school firing its coach after the offseason. If any turnover comes it will be because of head coaches taking jobs elsewhere.

Of the 12 guys in the league, I can see only two really leaving where they're at. Jim Mora's name will no doubt come up for a few NFL openings and if the right one came along I can see him leaving Westwood despite him really enjoying his time there. The other is Arizona's Rich Rodriguez, who would be a perfect fit at Florida if their athletic director does indeed decide to move on from Will Muschamp. I'll go on record and predict all 12 Pac-12 coaches will be back in 2015, however.

It seemed like it was just yesterday that Virginia had knocked off Louisville, after playing UCLA close, and was primed to turn the corner under head coach Mike London. There was even more hope after beating Pitt, but a three-game losing streak (and a trip to Tallahassee to play FSU looming) makes it an uphill battle to get to a bowl game. It's possible a win at Virginia Tech to end the season will still let London keep his job, but that's definitely a spot that could open up if the slide continues.

I would imagine this is an attractive job to a lot of coaches, with its mix of good local talent, the ability to easily win the ACC Coastal and the school's great academic reputation. If I'm AD Craig Littlepage, my first call would be to Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris. He'd bring an exciting brand of offensive football, and he knows how to recruit well. The familiarity with ACC opponents should help as well. Memphis coach Justin Fuente doesn't have the ties but would also work out well if a change is to be made.

Somewhat, but I don't think there's any question Ducks fans would like every other SEC defense over their own if they really looked hard at them. Part of that is due to coaching, with Oregon having a first-year coordinator in Don Pellum, that was even cited in a negative connotation by selection committee chair Jeff Long last week. The other is personnel, where the front seven has taken some lumps and have dealt with injuries.

Oregon's defense is better than the stats say because of the variety of opposing offenses they face each week in the Pac-12. There's not a wide gap between them and, say, Auburn when it comes to things like missed tackles but in terms of the starting 11, only a handful of Ducks would get the nod over their southern counterparts in my opinion. There's a double-standard in some respects but I think it's also because those in the SEC are simply a bit better.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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