Since the start of the College Football Playoff in 2014, we’ve seen several teams that looked more than deserving of a spot left out in favor of lesser teams chosen by the committee. Like any selection process, this is bound to happen. However, some of the teams not chosen have been pretty obvious mistakes.
We’re going to take a look back at the three best teams left out of the CFP since its origin seven years ago.
2014 TCU Horned Frogs
Led by Big 12 Player of the Year Trevone Boykin, the TCU Horned Frogs were poised to make a run at a national title, with a veteran team and playmakers on both sides of the ball. They absolutely obliterated their competition throughout the regular season, amassing an 11-1 along the way. Their lone loss came in a 58-61 defeat to a Baylor team that finished the season ranked number six in the nation–a game that ultimately sealed the fate of the Big 12 in the College Football Playoff.
The Frogs waxed their ranked opponents throughout the season, proving that they were clearly one of the top four teams in the country. Heading into conference championship week, the Frogs were ranked number three with a spot in the playoff all but sealed up. However, because the Big 12 didn’t have a conference championship game at the time, TCU had the week off. After Ohio State, Oregon, Florida State, and Alabama all won their conference title games, the committee snubbed TCU of a spot, slotting them at no. 6 in the Final CFP Rankings.
The college football world was stunned by this decision, and TCU went on to prove their point by shellacking no. 9 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. Oh, what could have been.
2018 Ohio State Buckeyes
These Ohio State Buckeyes were good, and I mean really, really good. Like almost scary good. Headlined by Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Dwyane Haskins, running back J.K. Dobbins, and receiver Parris Campbell, these guys looked nearly unstoppable as a group.
They were… until October 20th on Saturday Night Football in West Lafayette, IN. That’s when it all fell apart for the Buckeyes, who were blown out 49-20 in a dismal showing that ultimately shut the door on their playoff hopes. Despite having five ranked wins and a Big Ten title come season’s end, the committee chose Notre Dame instead.
And just like TCU, the Buckeyes proved the committee wrong once again, beating no. 9 Washington in the Rose Bowl. Oh, and just for reference, Notre Dame lost 30-3 in the semifinal to Clemson.
2017 Wisconsin Badgers
This team was special, having both a suffocating defense and strong rushing attack that led them all season. Led by true freshman running back Jonathan Taylor and veteran linebacker T.J Edwards, the Wisconsin Badgers rolled through the Big Ten regular season before meeting up with longtime archrival Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
While the Badgers had only two ranked wins all season, they looked like a team poised to finally break through into the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, Ohio State had other plans, extinguishing the Badgers’ playoff hopes 27-21 in the Big Ten title game. While a strong argument could have been made for this one-loss Badger team to be in the College Football Playoff, the committee just wasn’t going to choose them over Alabama.
After all, this is Alabama’s world, and we’re just living in it.