Perhaps the most heated debate in 2016 — well, at least on the gridiron — was whether Ohio State or Penn State should have been in the College Football Playoff. Countless hours were devoted to discussing the finer points of the Nittany Lions’ head-to-head victory between the two, the amount of talent on both sides or the Buckeyes’ impressive strength of schedule.
In the end, the CFP Selection Committee slotted OSU in the No. 3 spot to play eventual national champion Clemson but debate continues to rage in several hamlets from State College to Columbus over whether that was the right choice. According to Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour though, the seeding was fine by here even if it cost her team a trip to the Fiesta Bowl semifinal.
“We’re the [Big Ten] champions and didn’t go,” Barbour told reporters at Big Ten spring meetings, according to Landof10.com. “I think Ohio State should’ve gone. I have no problem with the fact Ohio State went.
“In fact, you know, we were arguably the best league in the country and we didn’t go. So let’s try to figure out why and what is there. [Whether] it’s we, Penn State, or we, as a conference … how do we address that in the future?”
Such comments probably won’t endear Barbour to the most ardent of PSU supporters who believed they should have gotten the spot occupied by Ohio State. Perhaps more interestingly is her hinting that the Big Ten may be open to doing something about addressing the situation. The topic of requiring only conference champions in the mix for the final four spots was a big topic of conversation when the playoff was created and it seems like it will be in the coming seasons even if changes are not made to the criteria the committee must consider.
Both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions lost their bowl games so there are plenty of what-ifs to debate had they switched places. Outside of perhaps making the Fiesta Bowl a little more interesting though, it appears the brass at Penn State are fine with how things played out in the end even if they didn’t get a chance at adding another national title to the trophy case.