DALLAS -- The College Football Playoff committee didn't exactly get off on the best foot back in 2014. TCU somehow plummeted from third in the next-to-last rankings all the way to sixth, and after a 52-point win, no less.
The committee supposedly denied the Horned Frogs and Baylor because the Big 12 lacked a "13th data point," which sounded like something that should have concerned the IRS, not the CFP.
What we've found out since, of course, is that a 13th data point was just a cover for the fact that some teams simply don't look the part.
Because by all appearances, Ohio State is on the verge of qualifying for the CFP with half the usual requirements, and a team from Texas is about to get stiffed again.
Texas A&M could end up playing three more games than Ohio State, which, if my math is correct, comes to 50% more data points than the Buckeyes will accumulate. And it doesn't seem to bother the committee one bit these days. Go figure.
Basically, the CFP comes down to this: It's all about the beefcake, and try not to lose more than once.
A CFP culture primer: The committee stands on the premise that it picks the best teams available, not the most deserving. What it means is the committee is more concerned with making the best matchups than rewarding a nice season. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, at least in principle. And the way the folks on the committee meet their requirement is to pick the teams that look the best in their uniforms.
How do we know this is so? According to U.S. News & World Report, seven of the 11 college programs with the most alums in the NFL have played in at least one CFP playoff game. Of those seven, Alabama leads with 56 NFL players, followed by Ohio State (53), LSU (41), Georgia (32), Clemson (29), Oklahoma (29) and Notre Dame (29).
Alabama (five), Clemson (five), Oklahoma (four) and Ohio State (three) have accounted for 17 of the 24 CFP berths. The one-timers are Oregon, Florida State, Michigan State, Washington, Georgia, Notre Dame and LSU.
Not so coincidentally, Alabama (two), Clemson (two) and Ohio State (one) own all but one of the CFP titles.
I'm not saying that any of these teams isn't deserving. But at some point it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn't it?
Don't get me wrong, Ohio State looks loaded. Justin Fields, the Buckeyes' quarterback, is projected as the runner-up to the first pick of the draft, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence.
Of the teams in the running for this year's playoffs, four boast QBs projected as consensus first-rounders (Lawrence, Fields, Mac Jones and Kyle Trask).
Kellen Mond recently made the bottom of the first round in one national mock draft, so maybe there's hope for the Aggies at that.
But Mond isn't held in the same regard as the quarterbacks above, and you won't get an argument here. The case for the Aggies is an excellent defense, a terrific offensive line/running game and a quarterback who, on a good day, can win with his arm or feet.
We know all this because it's what we've seen from the Aggies over the course of eight games. They've got a win over No. 6 Florida. Also a 28-point loss to the Crimson Tide. The SEC West isn't what it's always been, either. Then again, neither is the Big Ten.
What little we've seen of it, that is.
Sure, the Buckeyes have run up big numbers in their five wins. But the only team they've played with a winning record now is Indiana, and Fields threw three interceptions in that seven-point difference. Funny how much harder it is to look good when you play a good team.
And the more times you play, the greater the chance you'll lose to someone you shouldn't. Like Virginia Tech in 2014.
Or Iowa in 2017.
Or Purdue in 2018.
Ohio State was 7-1, its only loss to Oklahoma, when it got clobbered by Iowa. The Buckeyes were 7-0 when clobbered by Purdue. Play eight or nine games, and funny stuff sometimes happens to Ohio State.
The point is, teams with the best talent don't always win.
Maybe this all works out for the Aggies over the next couple of weeks. Maybe the Buckeyes lose to Northwestern in the Big Ten title game. Maybe Notre Dame beats Clemson and eliminates the Tigers.
Maybe nine will count more than six with the committee. But data points don't seem to rate like they used to.