Video: Fox Sports analyst offers SEC, Big Ten conspiracy theories about College Football Playoff
The College Football Playoff committee’s weekly rankings frequently leave fans and teams confused.
Committee chairman Jeff Long’s explanations sometimes make it even more confusing.
Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt has his own conspiracy theory on the CFP committee, and he explained it to Colin Cowherd on Thursday.
“I’m trying to lock down the actual criteria, because what Jeff Long tells us is not actually true, because it doesn’t fit all the spots,” Klatt said. “Where Ohio State is ranked doesn’t fit where Baylor is ranked, because they essentially have the same resume. They haven’t played anybody, and yet Ohio State is up there at No. 3 and Baylor has dropped down (to No. 6). Oklahoma State gets a great win at home against TCU, who was 20-1 in the last two years, and only jumped up to No. 8. It didn’t make any sense.
“I’m trying to figure out the actual criteria, and I landed on a geographical and schematic criteria. And it’s very clear to me. If you play east of the Mississippi, you’re going to be looked on very favorably than if you’re west of the Mississippi.”
Cowherd responded by asking Klatt if he’s saying that the committee favors the Big Ten and the SEC.
“Absolutely,” Klatt replied. “When you look at the 10 teams the Big Ten and the SEC have ranked, 60 percent of them — six of 10 — are ranked higher in the playoff rankings than they are in the AP poll.”
Klatt then pointed out that none of the Big 12 and Pac-12 teams are ranked higher in the CFP rankings than they are in the AP poll.
“That’s not a coincidence. That’s a trend,” he said. “That’s a criteria.”
The Fox Sports analyst attributed the bias to two former coaches that he claimed are the most influential members of the committee. He said Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is the most influential person on the committee, and Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne is second.
“Schematics are starting to matter as well,” Klatt said. “If you play a pro style of offense, and you like to run the ball and stop the run, they love you. … They think that you passed the eye test, not these teams that are playing modern offense. They’re communicating right now with an old phone book and a rotary phone. If you use Facebook, it ain’t happening for you.”
Alvarez, who coached Wisconsin from 1990-2005, and Osborne, who was Nebraska’s coach from 1973-97, were both advocates of the kind of smashmouth football that Klatt spoke of during their coaching days.
Klatt’s theory that Alvarez and Osborne are the most influential members of the committee is an interesting one. Both are from Big Ten schools. Last year, fellow Big Ten school Ohio State was at No. 5 in the CFP rankings heading into the final weekend before the four playoff teams were announced. After the Buckeyes routed Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game, the committee moved them up to No. 4 and dropped TCU, a Big 12 school who had just routed its opponent (Iowa State) by a similar score (55-3), from No. 3 to No. 6. The Buckeyes went on to win the national championship, while TCU made a strong case that it also deserved a spot in the playoff when it routed Ole Miss 42-3 in the Peach Bowl.
Klatt, for what it’s worth, played at Colorado, a Big 12 school west of the Mississippi River that has since moved to the Pac-12.