Dec 6, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeAndrew White (2) and his teammates celebrate with the SEC sign after the 2014 SEC Championship Game against the Missouri Tigers at the Georgia Dome. Alabama defeated Missouri 42-13. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Hope is a good thing. It can make people strive and push for things they never thought possible. But it is also a dream killer when hope never materializes into what you were hoping for in the first place. And that is exactly what would have happened had the Bulldogs beaten Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
When the Playoff Rankings were released on December 2, the Tuesday after most of the College Football World had wrapped up their regular seasons, the Committee did a strange thing. They moved TCU ahead of Florida State to number 3 after Mississippi State lost the Egg Bowl. Mike Bonner, the Mississippi State beat writer at the Clarion Ledger, suggested it was a sign that the Bulldogs would have moved to number 5 even if they had lost won the Egg Bowl.
Mississippi State fans weren’t happy with Bonner about this. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. His logic was pretty sound. The committee thought TCU was better than Florida State. They were never going to bump Florida State out of the rankings, so long as the Seminoles didn’t have a loss. If they thought TCU was better than FSU, then they would have thought TCU was better than the Bulldogs this past Tuesday even if Mississippi State had beaten Ole Miss.
Maybe you’re still not convinced. On Championship Game Saturday, I was 100% convinced that Mississippi State would have needed upsets to get into the Playoff had they beaten Ole Miss. Ohio State got to play an extra game against a good Wisconsin team. That good Wisconsin team got obliterated 59-0 by a team using its third string quarterback. So the Buckeyes got an extra game with a chance to pad its resume. Then you have the two Big 12 teams, Baylor and TCU. They didn’t get the opportunity of having a Championship game either, but the Big 12 learned from the Big 10 a few years back. The Big 10 didn’t have a Championship Game when they were still an 11 team conference. And because of that, the Big 10 was always done a week or two before everyone else. They were never on the minds of voters after the final polls were released in the old BCS system. So the Big 12 has spaced out their schedule to ensure that their teams were finishing at the same time as all the conferences that have championship games. So while the Bulldogs would have been sitting at home this past weekend, all these other teams would have been playing and wowing the committee on television. The Bulldogs would have been a distant afterthought when discussing where to put them in the rankings as a one loss team.
The Egg Bowl loss hurt. Mississippi State fans thought everything had lined up exactly the way we wanted it to for us to beat the Rebels and have a real good chance to stay at the four spot in the Playoffs. Part of the reason why that game hurt so much is because we believed that game kicked us out of the Playoff Picture. Maybe it is some consolidation that it now more clear than ever that Mississippi State lost a chance at getting into the Playoff the night we came up short in Tuscaloosa.