The gold hats of the College Football Playoff committee seemed to suggest last week:
“Badgers? We don’t need no stinkin’ Badgers.
“And no Hurricanes, either.’’
Before the football season, Wisconsin was 40-1 and Miami 30-1 to win the national title.
In the CFP rankings released last Tuesday, the Hurricanes were stuck at seventh, the Badgers eighth. Neither undefeated team received satisfactory respect from the panel.
Yet, on Sunday, the Hurricanes, after their blowout against Notre Dame, dramatically moved up to No. 2 in the coaches’ and the Associated Press poll, and the Badgers were ranked fourth and following their victory over pesky Iowa.
The Badgers don’t stink, and the Hurricanes are smelling good, too.
Miami, which hasn’t been ranked this high since 2003, was just a late Alabama touchdown from possibly being No. 1 in the country.
And these two have a reasonable chance to play each other in the championship game in Atlanta’s new stadium on Jan. 8. They are 2-2 all-time.
A Tide-Tigers three-peat also looms, though.
After another zany Saturday, a November and a December to remember is ahead in college football. A dozen teams still have at least remote playoff possibilities.
Even the University of Central Florida and coach Scott Frost, who once was the Nebraska national-championship quarterback and led the Cornhuskers to 59, 56,69,77,52,65, 63, 73 and 51 points in games over two seasons.
UCF is 9-0 and has scored 61,51,63 and 73, and Frost is the leading candidate for jobs at Florida and Nebraska, and most anywhere else he’d like to go.
The fourth undefeated team, barely, is Alabama, the unanimous No. 1 in the polls, after being pushed to the max at Mississippi State.
Consider this, though:
SEC: Auburn burned Georgia and will play Bama. The Bulldogs will get an opportunity against the Tide or the Tigers in the conference championship. One of the three will be in the national playoffs.
ACC: Miami and Clemson, which is fourth overall, will meet in the league title game. Winner advances to the playoffs.
Big Ten: Wisconsin, which must play Michigan on Saturday, will represent the West in the conference championship against Michigan or Ohio State. Forgotten about the Buckeyes? They could squeeze back into the photograph.
Big 12: Oklahoma is the favorite to force this conference into the four-team playoffs, but the Sooners play Oklahoma State or TCU in the Big 12 title game, which returns after a six-year absence. The Cowboys almost knocked off the Sooners in the Bedlam Scorefest, but the Horned Frogs were squashed by OU. The rematch would be in somewhat neutral AT&T Stadium.
Pac-12: The remaining Power 5 conference is outside the window peering in after Washington lost again, and USC has two losses. It would take an Old Testament-type miracle for the Trojans.
And independent Notre Dame was decimated, but is not totally eliminated because of strength of schedule and because they are the Irish.
Just for kicks, imagine that Alabama loses to Auburn, and Auburn beats Georgia, and TCU or Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, and Michigan beats Ohio State and Wisconsin twice, and Clemson beats Miami, and Notre Dame and Southern Cal don’t lose again, and Central Florida finishes unbeaten.
Who does the CFP committee — composed of athletic directors, former coaches, two school executives and one retired media muckraker — pick after that potential mess develops?
Would the group choose three teams with two losses (Auburn, Oklahoma State and Ohio State) — the playoffs have never featured one two-loss team — and defending champion Clemson with one setback, or would it take a pair of teams with late-season defeats (Alabama and Miami), or does it reach for the only perfect team in UCF (whose strength of schedule presently is 99th in Division 1), or should they pick the Irish in honor of Knute Rockne and The Gipper and the Trojans because of feeling sorry for the Pac-12?
I think the Final Four will be: Alabama, Oklahoma, Miami and Wisconsin.
The Tide, the Sooners and the Hurricanes have won national championships. Wisconsin last had a perfect season in 1912 (5-0) and has never won an NCAA title in football.
Badgers? We do need Badgers.