A year after leapfrogging the Big Ten champion Penn State Nittany Lions to earn a College Football Playoff berth, the Ohio State Buckeyes are on the outside looking in on the 2017 semifinals.
The CFP selection committee ranked the Alabama Crimson Tide as the No. 4 team in the country, which sets them up with a rubber match against the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day.
Needless to say, that Alabama vaulted Ohio State—after the Crimson Tide didn’t play in the SEC title game and the Buckeyes won the Big Ten title over the Wisconsin Badgers—was among the biggest points of discussion on social media:
CFP selection committee chair Kirby Hocutt said the Buckeyes' 55-24 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes was the decisive factor in the decision to leave Ohio State out of the playoff, according to The Athletic's Chris Vannini.
Some took issue with Hocutt's logic:
Others thought the Iowa defeat was fair game as a playoff eliminator:
USA Today's Dan Wolken questioned, however, whether Alabama's past success played a role in the impression of the Tide's overall strength this year:
The Auburn Tigers are in the same situation the 2016 Nittany Lions faced: They're out of the playoff and had to watch a team they beat earn a shot at a national title. Many sympathized with the Tigers:
Here's how others reacted to Sunday's reveal:
Before the creation of the CFP, critics of the system contended it would inevitably lead to calls for playoff expansion. The last two years are a perfect illustration of how a four-team tournament still causes some deserving schools to be overlooked.
An eight-team playoff isn't coming anytime soon, but the 2016 and 2017 semifinals could be used in the future as evidence for why expansion is needed to determine a national champion.
It's of little comfort to Ohio State fans, but Sunday's playoff reveal showed why the system is a clear upgrade over the Bowl Championship Series. Arguing whether the Buckeyes or Crimson Tide are more deserving semifinalists is far better than seeing the Georgia Bulldogs denied the opportunity to compete for a national championship.