“You don’t need to do this,” the man said as his friend Tennessee ran into a brick wall head-first for no reason.
John Currie only needed three days to continue Tennessee’s now-upstanding tradition of scheduling games that didn’t need to be scheduled.
If you haven’t heard, Oklahoma is back on Tennessee’s schedule, per Tennessee. Tennessee will travel to Norman, Oklahoma in between home games against Furman and Charlotte in 2020, while Oklahoma will make its return trip to Knoxville in…2024. For whatever reason – and certainly ones I have zero expertise in – Tennessee and Coach TBD will square off in election years with Oklahoma.
What Tennessee doesn’t seem to understand is that, as an SEC team, you can literally schedule anyone out of conference and make the playoff. If you are an SEC team that is 11-1 and playing in the SEC Championship Game, you will have a chance to make the College Football Playoff with a win. Until proven otherwise, this is a fact.
Here’s the out of conference schedules of a few randomly-selected top four teams from the past few years:
- 2016 Washington: Rutgers, Idaho, FCS Portland State
- 2014 Ohio State: Navy, Virginia Tech (6-6), Kent State, Cincinnati
- 2014 Alabama: West Virginia (7-5), Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, FCS Western Carolina
- 2013 Auburn: Washington State, Arkansas State, FCS Western Carolina, Florida Atlantic
- 2013 Alabama: Virginia Tech, Colorado State, Georgia State, FCS Chattanooga
- 2013 Michigan State: Western Michigan, South Florida, FCS Youngstown State, Notre Dame (8-4; annual rivalry game)
The point is this: you do not have to schedule extremely tough out-of-conference games to make the College Football Playoff. Some did and won their games, which is fine. And yes, 2013 is included. Those three teams would have made a Playoff – no one else had a serious argument.
Tennessee scheduling Oklahoma is fine if you still believe in the myth that beating the ‘best’ matters. You pretty clearly don’t, until the Playoff Committee gives you serious reason to believe so. Until the committee stops looking at simple metrics like conference affiliation and a supposed ‘resume’, there is no reason for Tennessee to play these games, especially not ones on the road against a historical top ten program.
Tennessee already plays two historical top eleven programs every year (Alabama and Georgia). Florida, arguably, is an all-time top fifteen program. That gives Tennessee three games every year it can count on being tough games that are Important to the Committee. Why add another when it adds nothing for you? That’s the question John Currie and team will have to answer soon.
Of course, if Tennessee elects to stay aggressive with a double-digit lead in 2020 and/or 2024, consider this post null and void and the flimsy scheduling logic much more intelligent than mine.