NCAA got it right keep­ing Buck­eyes out of Fi­nal Four

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - TODD SAEL­HOF tsael­hof@post­media.com www.twit­ter.com/Tod­dSael­hofPM

Stop it. Stop it right now. Stop mak­ing ex­cuses for the No. 5 Ohio State Buck­eyes.

Stop pre­tend­ing that they were robbed of a spot in the NCAA’s Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off. It’s ridicu­lous. The CFP com­mit­tee got it right … At No. 1: the Clem­son Tigers … At No. 2: the Ok­la­homa Soon­ers … At No. 3: the Ge­or­gia Bull­dogs … And at No. 4: the Alabama Crim­son Tide.

Sorry, Buck­eyes — and all the silly fans and pun­dits try­ing to back your frus­tra­tion — but a two-loss record just doesn’t cut it over the true fi­nal-four teams boast­ing just one loss to their names.

You can’t lose two games and ex­pect to make the Fi­nal 4.

And you can’t lose two games and ex­pect to leap-frog over one-loss Alabama.

That’s even more true when one of your two losses was a whop­per, 55-24 com­ing at the hands of a pedes­trian Iowa Hawkeyes team.

Yes, you won the Big Ten Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Game, but it was only a one-pos­ses­sion win and not a dom­i­nant one over a Wis­con­sin Bad­gers team con­sid­ered by many to be over-rated de­spite its No. 6 fi­nal rank­ing.

Good on ya, com­mit­tee mem­bers!

SEC­OND DOWN

The Heis­man Tro­phy will be awarded Satur­day (8 p.m. ET), with the right choice be­ing Ok­la­homa Soon­ers quar­ter­back Baker May­field. He’s a fi­nal­ist along­side Louisville quar­ter­back La­mar Jack­son, the reign­ing Heis­man holder, and Stan­ford run­ning back Bryce Love. Jack­son is in the run­ning to be­come the only other back-to-back win­ner since Ohio State RB Archie Grif­fin in 1974 and ’75 … With 51-of-56 first­place votes, May­field won the AP Player of the Year hon­our Thurs­day … Stats-wise, May­field weighs in with 4,340 pass­ing yards, 41 pass­ing touch­downs, five in­ter­cep­tions, 310 rush­ing yards and five rush­ing TDs. Love rushed for 1,973 yards and 17 TDs in what was a banged-up year for the back. And ‘La­mar­velous’ Jack­son nearly matched his num­bers from last sea­son with 3,489 pass­ing yards, 1,443 rush­ing yards and 42 to­tal ma­jors … Ok­la­homa’s Mark An­drews is the na­tion’s top tight end, win­ning the Mackey Award.

THIRD DOWN

Not much sep­a­rates Army (8-3) and Navy (6-5) for Satur­day’s much-bal­ly­hooed 118th meet­ing of the Armed Forces ri­vals. Both teams boast op­tion-heavy of­fences that put up a shade over 30 points per game. Navy puts up a few more yards than Army, while Army has al­lowed al­most 10 fewer points for out­ing, the only real dif­fer­ence be­tween the two pro­grams this sea­son … At 60-50-7, Navy leads the se­ries that dates back to 1890 and tries to start an­other win­ning streak that ended at 14 — the long­est in the ri­valry — with last year’s Army vic­tory 21-17 in Bal­ti­more … The bowl sched­ule be­gins next Satur­day, Dec. 16, with a half­dozen games … This year’s best bowl name? The Cheri­bundi Tart Cherry Boca Ra­ton Bowl. Sounds tasty!

FOURTH DOWN

The tur­bu­lent Ten­nessee tal­ent search is fi­nally over, as Rocky Top signed a new head coach by agree­ing to terms with Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama’s de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor the last two sea­sons. The lon­gawaited de­ci­sion fol­lows the hir­ing of Phillip Ful­mer, Ten­nessee’s na­tional cham­pi­onship-win­ning coach of 1998, as ath­letic di­rec­tor late last week to re­place John Cur­rie dur­ing what has been an on­go­ing saga since coach Butch Jones was fired in No­vem­ber. Sources say the school is now try­ing to get out of its buy­out of Cur­rie, and re­ports have sur­faced Ful­mer was be­hind a bid to sab­o­tage Cur­rie to get the AD po­si­tion in Knoxville, Tenn. Rocky times, in­deed … Ore­gon is without a head coach again af­ter Wil­lie Tag­gart left fol­low­ing a pedes­trian 7-5 sea­son to take on the same gig — a dream one, he says — with Florida State. Tag­gart gets a sixyear, US$30-mil­lion pact and re­places Jimbo Fisher, who took his game to Texas A&M … Chad Mor­ris is the new head coach of Arkansas, some­how scor­ing a sixyear, $21-mil­lion deal af­ter a lessthan-sparkling 14-22 record with SMU the last three sea­sons. Arkansas passed on Clem­son de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor Brent Ven­ables. Why? … Other coach­ing moves in­clude: Herm Ed­wards (for­mer NFL boss who’s been out of the NCAA since 1989) to Ari­zona State; Dana Dimel (Kansas State of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor) to UTEP, Josh He­u­pel (Mis­souri of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor) to UCF; and Mike Bloom­gren (Stan­ford of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor) to Rice.

SUE OGROCKI/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ok­la­homa quar­ter­back Baker May­field is the odds-on favourite to win the Heis­man Tro­phy on Satur­day af­ter be­ing named The As­so­ci­ated Press’s player of the year on Thurs­day.

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