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Committee has tough but clear choice in inaugural College Football Playoff

College Football Playoff to be announced

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PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Let's get the easy part out of the way: FSU, Alabama and Oregon are in.

I don't care about whatever grandstanding the committee has done all year about FSU winning ugly. Leaving the undefeated defending national champions out of the inaugural playoff would immediately make the committee and the process as a whole look silly. They know it and they don't want it.

Which brings us to the big question that will be debated all day, all night and probably all offseason: Who's No. 4? Is it TCU, Baylor or Ohio State?

The committee will look at three factors: How bad was your loss? How good were your wins? And did you win your conference championship?

For losses, the clear edge goes to TCU. They lost a heart breaker at Baylor in a game they led by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Baylor and Ohio State had similar bad losses with the Bears falling by two touchdowns at 7-5 West Virginia and the Buckeyes losing by two TDs to 6-6 Virginia Tech.

For wins, the edge goes to Ohio State. TCU only played one road game out of conference (SMU) and had zero impressive road wins. They struggled mightily at West Virginia and against a terrible Kansas team. Baylor's win against TCU is great, but their only impressive road win is against an Oklahoma team that will likely fall out of the next poll. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, clobbered a top-10 Michigan State team on the road and demolished 12th-ranked Wisconsin in the Big Ten Conference title game. Here's another amazing fact about the Buckeyes season: Every single team they played away from Ohio stadium will be going to a bowl game. And they won every game.

As for the last question: Ohio State won the Big Ten and Baylor won the Big 12. There are no co-champions. The Big 12 is very proud of the fact they crown "one true champion" because every team plays every other team. You can't live by that, then claim a co-championship for TCU because it may help their cause. Baylor beat TCU head-to-head. They win the conference.

So, in reality, it comes down to Baylor vs. Ohio State. The Bears may have beaten the highest-ranked opponent, but their one win at home doesn't come close to matching what the Buckeyes did five times away from home. Ohio State is also riding the longest winning streak of all the one-loss teams and had the most impressive win of anyone in a conference title game.

The final four should be:

 1. FSU

 2. Alabama

 3. Oregon

 4. Ohio State

The committee will likely disagree with the order. And, no matter what, tons of people will disagree with the committee.

I'll probably be one of them.

But based on their resumes, these are the four most deserving teams to play for the title. Tough call, but clear choice.