Where is reality not reality? In the world of college sports.
The NCAA vacates wins regularly. It took a few away from Notre Dame football this past Tuesday.
The Fab Five’s two trips to the Final Four? No record of them even happening although there was an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary that showed video which seems to indicate it did.
John Calipari’s UMass and Memphis basketball teams also do not get to claim appearances in the Final Four, when I could have sworn they lost to Kentucky and Kansas respectively.
There are literally dozens of other examples.
With that in mind, would the College Football Playoff Committee go so far as to vacate a loss? Absurd? Well, explain why the CFB playoff committee should count Oklahoma State’s loss to Central Michigan earlier this season?
If you don’t remember, Oklahoma State led Central Michigan 27-24, with four seconds left. The Cowboys had the ball near midfield on fourth down. They ran a play intentionally throwing the ball out of bounds. Time ran out, game over, Oklahoma State won! Right? Well, that’s what should have happened.
Instead the officials AND the instant replay crew, which had the authority to overrule this officiating error, incorrectly concluded that the intentional grounding penalty applied and gave CMU one more play despite there being no time left in the game.
By rule, it does not and the game was over. Instead, on that extra play which should not have been allowed to happen, Chippewas QB Cooper Rush threw a pass to Jesse Kroll. Kroll ran down to approximately the 10-yard line and then, before he was tackled, pitched the ball to Corey Willis, who ran in for a touchdown.
Final score: Central Michigan 30, Oklahoma State 27.
Why does this matter 10 weeks later? Because Oklahoma State has won seven straight games. The Cowboys are 9-2 and will play 9-2 Oklahoma for what turns out to be the Big 12 Championship on Saturday, Dec. 3.
If the Cowboys were to beat the Sooners, they would be a 10-2 conference champion, but that does not appear to be good enough to make them one of the top four teams in the country – the requirement to make the College Football Playoffs.
However, if the officials had not made the error in the Central Michigan game, the Cowboys would be an 11-1 conference champion.
Would there be four teams better or more deserving than an 11-1, conference-champion Oklahoma State? Maybe, but it would be real close. That’s real close without a major upset the rest of the way. With only one loss the Cowboys are at worst a top-six team. When you combine winning percentage and a conference championship, it is likely there will not be four resumes better than the Cowboys.
However at 10-2, Oklahoma State and the Big 12 have no shot at the playoff.
If the CFB playoff committee was acting in the same spirit as the NCAA, it would vacate the loss and at the very least declare Oklahoma State, if it beats Oklahoma win, the Big 12 champion with a record of no worse than 10-1.
If they were bold, the group of 13 could just flat out declare, by rule, Oklahoma State 11-1. Ridiculous? Maybe. However, the NCAA and college football deserve this absurdity.
After all, what’s the sense of having a rule book if you are going to ignore it on the final play of the game? You know, like the ending to last Sunday’s FGCU-Michigan State basketball game.
David Moulton co-hosts “The Franchise” weekdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 99.3 ESPN. His freelance column appears Sunday and Thursday. You can email David at: firstname.lastname@example.org.