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The 2014 College Football Playoff picture, as explained by Faux Pelini

College football's best Twitter parody account has analysis that is more than 140 characters deep. You're not gonna believe this, but Nebraska makes his Playoff cut.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Because you like sports, you often find yourself near a TV or, worse, a radio, where you are exposed to loud and fast-talking people who teach you about sports, making predictions that no one will remember about games that you will watch for yourself. We will call these people the People Who Talk.

The People Who Talk look and act like people who know things, but they do not know things. They talk with authority and piercing eye contact and firm hand gestures, and you can't stop watching them and listening to them, even though you have learned to hate them.

In the fall, the People Who Talk teach you about college football, because college football is awesome. And because we have entered the era of the College Football Playoff, the toy we demanded but do not yet know how to use because we were too excited to read the instructions, the People Who Talk spend a lot of time talking about the Playoff and the four teams that will be in it.

Each week, the People Who Talk give you their top four teams, the four clear and indisputable best teams in the land, which are replaced the following week by a new four clear and indisputable four best teams in the land. The People Who Talk say things like, "if the season ended today." Now, as you are probably aware, the season does NOT end today. So when a person, any person, says something like, "if the season ended today," what you should hear is: "do not listen to anything I say because I want you to come play with me in Pretend Land." This is a very important rule.

Also, when the People Who Talk refer to the "eye test," you should hear, "I haven't watched every team play, so I have imaginary football games in my head and pick my favorite teams." They are saying, "I think the four best teams are the teams that I think are the four best teams."

This may seem like a stupid thing to say, because it is. Eye tests are important, for example, at an eye doctor's office. They are not useful when sorting out 128 football teams.

The One True Indisputable Playoff Selector System

As a public service, I have developed the One True Indisputable Playoff Selector System. Putting all college football teams through three simple tests, we can learn the front-runners for the four precious Playoff bids at any point in time.


If someone has beaten you, then you have failed. You should feel great shame. And you aren't in the top four teams, at least as long as other undefeated teams exist, and so you need to be quiet and sad.

If you have a loss, you can come back to the table in December like a hungry, neglected dog for the leftover scraps of Playoff ham, if there are any. If there are four undefeated teams at the end of the year, sorry. If there are fewer than four undefeated teams, you may enter the second chance drawing.


The reason for this is that starting in 2014, the power conferences (the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12) are the only conferences that matter, because they have made it clear that at any moment they could decide to leave and destroy the NCAA. So if any other school does anything inconvenient or stupid like crashing the Playoff, the NCAA will be no more. This rule is for your own good.

So, you can only be in the Playoff if you are a member of one of the power conferences, or Notre Dame, I guess. Or maybe BYU. Except no, not BYU, because, well, just no. And not UCLA either, because UCLA is obligated to lose a random, stupid game at some point every season.


If you have a higher-ranked team on your upcoming schedule that also passes the first two tests, then you are disqualified. Why? Because when you play that other team, one of you will be eliminated. And I don't have a crystal ball. Do you? NO YOU DO NOT.

So, I'm sorry; it's not personal. We just can't take a chance on you. This is too important. You're out. But there is good news: if you beat that higher-ranked team, then you replace them on the list! We'll just swap you in for them. But until that happens you need to be quiet and sad.

The current front-runners

The reason that we know the One True Indisputable Playoff Selector System works and has been endorsed by God is that on October 3, 2014, there are exactly four teams that pass the three tests: Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

(Alabama eliminates Auburn, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State by being on their schedules. Oklahoma does the same to Baylor and TCU, as Florida State does to Notre Dame and potential ACC Coastal champion Georgia Tech. UCLA isn't here, but it eliminates Arizona anyway.)

We can all agree that these are clearly the four best teams in the land as of today; so far, so good!

And if you are one of these four teams, you have the inside track. You now have one job: GO UNDEFEATED. Why? No undefeated power school finished No. 5 or below during the BCS era, and it will never happen, ever. If you are an undefeated power school at the end of the season, you will be in the Playoff. If you disagree with this, then please punch yourself in the face.

Now, when you are a college football team whose only job is to win the rest of its games, it is an advantage to play as many teams that are bad at football as you can. Playing good teams is more fun and interesting and dramatic, but those are not things that help you go undefeated. You don't get into the Playoff by winning big games; you get into the Playoff by not losing any games. And not playing good teams helps you do that.

So let's take a look at the four front-runners, and their chances of staying at the top.

Florida State

The Seminoles were great last year with a bunch of great players, which is why they are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 right now (yes, they are both the best and almost the best team in the land), even though they have a bunch of different players.

Florida State is doing a good job of not playing games it might lose. They still have to play Notre Dame and Louisville, and I guess Florida. However, their quarterback is what is known in mental health circles as an Oh My God What The Fuck Is Wrong With That Dude, so their future is very uncertain.


The Huskers are doing an excellent job of not playing games they might lose. The People Who Talk tell us that it is a disadvantage to play in a poor conference, but that is a very wrong thing to say. Because bad conferences have bad teams, and the only goal of a front-runner is to go undefeated, being in a bad power conference is the best strategy.

Nebraska has a good Michigan State team and a pesky Wisconsin team left on the schedule. And, that's all.


I need to tell you something, and I need you to read this very carefully. Lane Kiffin coaches at Alabama now, and it is very, very important that good things do not happen to Lane Kiffin. If you do not hate Lane Kiffin, I need you to try. Look at any photo of him for as long as it takes. (It will not take long.)

Luckily, God has placed Alabama in the toughest division in the universe, and Alabama is therefore doing a terrible job of not playing games that it might lose. So, there is a good chance that Lane Kiffin will become sad at least once this season.


They play several good teams, Baylor and Oklahoma State and Kansas State among them. Give them a C for not playing games that they might lose.

But they have a very important advantage: their conference does not have a championship game. Why does this matter? Because if you want your conference to have a chance to get into the Playoff, DON'T MAKE YOUR BEST TEAM PLAY AN EXTRA GAME AGAINST A GOOD TEAM THE NIGHT BEFORE THE PLAYOFF BIDS ARE ANNOUNCED.


I admit that there is a very small chance that these will not be the actual four Playoff teams at the end of the season. Perhaps Nebraska will lose to Michigan State, a strong team with an excellent punting game. Or perhaps FSU's quarterback will be arrested for robbing a costume store and attempting to board a commercial jet wearing a pilot outfit while singing "Let It Go."

There are things about the future that we do not know for sure, specifically, all of it. But for now, these are your four College Football Playoff teams. Do not let the People Who Talk change your mind about this, because they do not know things.