army-navy

College football’s regular season is just one Army-Navy Game away from being in the books for good in 2017, but the focus is already shifting to the bowl season. It should be a good one with the defending national champion and the Heisman Trophy frontrunner involved in the four-team playoff.

And those other two teams? They deserve to be there too and could potentially lead to an All-SEC national championship with quite the head coaching storyline that would be fantastic if it happens.

But is it the best possible playoff field this season?

Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama were the four best teams the committee could have chosen

Inevitably, the first question asked to me this week in a handful of radio interviews and from others will be “Did the committee get it right?” And the answer I will give them for a fourth straight year is “Yes, they did.”

Nobody has any problem with the top three seeds in this year’s College Football Playoff, with ACC champion Clemson, Big 12 champion Oklahoma, and SEC champion Georgia all having just one loss this season. Coming into the final weekend, the question on the table was taking a one-loss Alabama that didn’t play for a conference championship or a two-loss Ohio State that won the Big Ten.

For me, the answer was fairly simple. Alabama had a slightly more consistent resume to offer, while Ohio State’s was top-loaded to cover up the warts too glaring to for the selection committee to overlook. Just as a 39-point loss on the road was the hurdle Penn State could not clear a year ago, Ohio State stumbled in their 31-point loss at Iowa and never fully recovered.

Simply put, there was no one decision that was definitively more correct than the other when it came down to Alabama and Ohio State. Cases could be made for each, and the Buckeyes had as compelling a case to be made as Penn State had a year ago.

But do not make the mistake of saying what transpired in 2016 was identical to what we just witnessed. Alabama this year is not equal to the 2016 Ohio State profile. Regardless, the committee made it clear it will favor a more consistent team from start to finish with one blemish on the road over a team that had ups and downs with a 31-point loss.

Don’t lose games by 30 points or more.

The Big 12 championship game did end up hurting the conference

Leave it to the Big 12 to overreact to the college football landscape and shoot itself in the foot by doing so. Following the Big 12 championship game on Saturday, I outlined the possible scenario in which the conference championship game result may have done more damage than good that was intended. Lo and behold, the New Year’s Six bowl lineup delivered the worst-case scenario I discussed.

The Big 12 already plays a round-robin schedule in conference play, leading to the possibility of crowning “one true champion.” This mantra backfired on the conference in the first year of the College Football Playoff when the conference refused to take a stand in backing up its one true champion motto by crowning two teams as champion, TCU and Baylor. Neither made the College Football Playoff and that dilemma led to the conference working to bring back the conference championship game.

This year’s game forced No. 3 Oklahoma to beat a TCU team it had already defeated in the regular season to prove to the committee the Sooners were worthy of inclusion in the College Football Playoff. With no championship game, No. 3 Oklahoma would have been in line to get in regardless on the merit of their resume. Fortunately for the Sooners, they beat TCU and did what was needed to secure the No. 2 seed in the playoff. Some will say the Big 12 championship game helped boost Oklahoma up to the two seed, but in reality the Sooners just benefitted from the previous No. 2, Auburn, losing in the SEC Championship Game.

When we were all focusing on how a title game could potentially knock the conference out of the playoff, we should have been more focused on the possibility of knocking a second Big 12 team out of the New Year’s Six. Enter TCU. Or rather, exit TCU.

At No. 11 going into the weekend, TCU would have been in line for a possible appearance in the Cotton Bowl with no Big 12 championship game. Had the Horned Frogs lost by a closer margin than the 24-point loss they suffered, TCU may still have been alive for a New Year’s Six bowl. Instead, TCU fell down a few spots in the playoff rankings and the Pac-12’s Washington moved up without playing a game. As a result, the Horned Frogs play Stanford in the Alamo Bowl while Washington meetsy Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. (USC and Ohio State will play in the Cotton Bowl.)

That’s just one Big 12 team in the New Year’s Six. Even if Oklahoma goes on to win it all, the Big 12 championship game did more harm than good to the conference this season. It won’t be the last time this happens, either.

Scott Frost is the perfect hire for Nebraska

Scott Frost is the best coaching hire Nebraska could have made outside of pulling Nick Saban from Alabama or Urban Meyer from Ohio State or Bill Belichick from the Patriots. But Frost, Nebraska, and UCF are also exhibiting a rare ability to co-exist during this significant coaching transition.

The reports of Frost accepting a contract offer from Nebraska broke in the fourth quarter of UCF’s American Athletic Conference championship game. As we later found out, the agreement to take the Nebraska job actually went down a few weeks prior with a meeting in Philadelphia as UCF was visiting Temple.

Frost leaving UCF for Nebraska was seemingly inevitable, and I have to believe Frost was upfront with UCF leaders about his plans. Showing there are no hard feelings, Frost will continue to coach UCF through the bowl season, which shows Nebraska was willing to let Frost do whatever he needed to do before taking on the full-time job despite this being a key part on the recruiting calendar with an early signing period.

Frost continuing to coach UCF is a great recruiting tool for Nebraska. It shows Frost is committed to finishing a job completely for better or worse, regardless of the situation. It shows that Frost will stand by his players until the end. And, if UCF can knock off Auburn in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day, Nebraska will bring in a coach who already has a bowl victory against a SEC team that just won a division and beat two No. 1 teams to get there.

Frost also “won” his press conference with this great line about adjusting to life in the Big Ten.

As for UCF, this is a very attractive job. It may be in the Group of Five with the AAC, but it is one of the best jobs out there and may even be considered better than a handful of power conference jobs. With the talent coming back next year, whoever takes the UCF job will be set up for a good season.

Kevin Sumlin has been one name tied to the potential opening early on, and that would be a great combination. And if Sumlin does get the job, he could easily have a one-year redemption season by having fun with a top G5 contender and parlay that into potential offers for another power conference job. That might be playing out right now with UCF rival South Florida and Charlie Strong. Strong has been connected to some Florida State rumors.

Texas A&M rolled out the red carpet for Jimbo Fisher

For a school paying its next head coach $75 million over the next 10 years regardless of the record, you better believe Texas A&M had the band on the runway to greet Jimbo Fisher in College Station.

You don’t typically see that kind of airport greeting for a new head coach. Then again, Texas A&M is a bit of a special breed that does things their own way.

Arizona State actually hired Herm Edwards

It was a crazy week on the Tennessee coaching carousel. Things got so crazy in Knoxville that Arizona State interviewing former NFL coach Herm Edwards almost made perfect sense by comparison. But Arizona State was serious about the move, and made it official Sunday night.

I like Herm Edwards and have always found him to be a good football mind despite his coaching track record in the NFL. With UCLA already bringing in Chip Kelly, I question why Arizona State decided to go with Edwards. I hope for the best for Edwards and Arizona State, but until we see results on the field justify the coaching hire, I think it is fair to have some concerns about this hire.

Edwards may be a good motivational speaker, but how long will that work with a team of college kids if the wins are hard to come by? I could easily see Edwards burning out his welcome. I hope I’m wrong.

Who’s going to New York?

We will find out who is going to New York to watch Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield make his acceptance speech for the Heisman Trophy later this week.

This has been Mayfield’s award to lose over the past month and he has done nothing on the field to lose it — even if you think his antics should cost him. They may cost him a couple of first-place votes here and there, but Mayfield has been considered such an easy favorite for the Heisman for long enough that some sport books have stopped taking bets.

(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

So who will be going with Mayfield to New York? How many players will be there? I’m guessing we get five Heisman finalists.

Bryce Love, Stanford – Stanford’s legacy of having Heisman runners-up will continue with Love following a big season running the football. He has over 2,000 yards and has been going on a bum ankle for the past month.

Saquon Barkley, Penn State – The most dynamic running back in the nation, capable of hurting teams in a variety of ways. Rushing numbers don’t line up against some others, but Barkley cannot simply be judged by the rushing total.

Lamar Jackson, Louisville – The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner deserves much more credit for his 2017 season than he has been receiving, but I think there is enough respect out there to send Jackson back as a finalist this year and not just have him back as a past Heisman Trophy winner.

Rashaad Penny, San Diego State – I’m not sure if Penny will have enough support in the voting to merit a trip as a finalist or not, but he absolutely is worthy of the invite. Like Love, Penny is a 2,000-yard rusher and he is as classy as they come. He embodies all of the qualities you expect of a Heisman Trophy player. He won’t win it, but he should be in New York.

The Army-Navy Game is here. Who will sing second?

The best rivalry in college football continues this Saturday with the true regular season finale to the college football season. The Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia is one of the best traditions in sports and deserves its own day to shine. I like to think of the annual clash as the best possible way to transition from the regular season to the bowl season because it is a regular season game with an atmosphere most bowl games can only dream of providing.

The game is full of pomp and circumstance and unique traditions. The Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy will be on the line this week as well. More importantly, the battle to sing second will be fierce. The tradition of having both Army and Navy players stand for the alma maters of each institution after the game is a great show of brotherhood and respect, with the victors getting the honor of singing second.

Army finally got a chance to sing second for the first time in 15 years, bringing a 14-game losing streak to a close last season. Now, Navy hopes to avoid having to sing first in back-to-back years for the first time since having to do so from 1992 through 1996.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.