The SEC is 4-5 in bowl games this postseason, but it went 2-0 in the games that mattered most. No. 3 Georgia outlasted No. 2 Oklahoma in a 54-48 double overtime Rose Bowl thriller, and No. 4 Alabama held No. 1 Clemson out of the end zone in a dominant 24-6 win in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia (13-1) and Alabama (12-1) will play for the national championship Jan. 8 in Atlanta at 8 p.m. ET.
While some segments of the country may take issue with an all-SEC championship game, Randy Cross does not.
“Not really,” the three-time Super Bowl champion said on the debut edition of Taz & The Moose. “Not really. I know what all the bowl records are, and I know the Big Ten is crowing the way they are – and good for them. It’s always nice to have a good bowl record.”
The Big Ten went 7-1 in bowl games, with No. 5 Ohio State (12-2), No. 6 Wisconsin (13-1), and No. 9 Penn State (11-2) beating No. 8 USC (11-3), No. 10 Miami (10-3), and No. 11 Washington (10-3), respectively.
Still, Cross thinks the committee got it right.
“The two teams that had the best argument to be in (the playoff) were Ohio State and USC,” he said. “And the losses they had on their resume . . . that were pretty bad, (you could point at) and say, ‘Okay, well, if you got a team over here with one loss and you’ve got two losses, why should we have you in a playoff and not them?’’
Ohio State lost by 31 at Iowa on Nov. 4, and USC lost by 35 at Notre Dame on Oct. 21. Those losses allowed Alabama to make the playoff without a top-15 win. Now the Tide are vying for their fifth national title in nine years.
Might we see the playoff expand in the coming years?
“I’m fine at four,” Cross said. “I think four is going to identify a better champion than an eight-team survivor, in my opinion. You can draw up a hell of a bracket of an eight-team bracket and you probably include UCF in that formula.”
Probably, yes. The No. 12 Knights (13-0) beat No. 7 Auburn (10-3), 34-27, in the Peach Bowl to cap an undefeated season. Many college football fans would like the playoff to expand to eight teams, which would give teams like UCF – not to mention every Power 5 champion – a shot at the national title.
After all, if you win a Power 5 conference, shouldn’t that mean something?
“It should,” Cross said. “You get a nice trophy. You get a ring. You get all that fun stuff. But that does not automatically make you one of the four best teams in the country, I don’t think.”