Brian Bennett today writes an excellent story on the difficulty of going undefeated in college football and how the road to perfection could become even rockier in the future. Ohio State was the only FBS team to run the table in 2012, but the Buckeyes couldn't play in the postseason because of NCAA sanctions.
Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer weighed in on the challenge of an unblemished season, which he has recorded at both Ohio State and Utah (2004).
"When I hear that word undefeated, I kind of cringe, because it normally doesn't happen," Meyer said. "Last year, there was one [team], and we were very fortunate. I don't want our players thinking about that."
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany also talked about the difficulty of going undefeated and how the Playoff selection committee will value perfect seasons in the future.
The SEC has proved that going undefeated is not a requirement for winning a national title. But it will likely become an absolute necessity for teams outside the "power five" conferences just to have a shot at a championship. A one-loss team from the Mountain West or the American Athletic stands little chance at grabbing one of those four playoff spots. Recent undefeated teams like Boise State and Utah were already viewed suspiciously because of their schedules and conferences. Starting next year, that scrutiny will become even more intense as selection committee members break down strength-of-schedule data and compare conference champions who played vastly different opponents.
"It's always hard to go undefeated in football," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said, "[but] it's easier in some conferences than others. ... I think it could evolve in a way because the committee will be critical in separating the wheat from the chaff based on strength of schedule. If they don't, I think everyone will go back to loading up with teams from other divisions with fewer scholarships."
Entering the final year of the BCS system, it's hard to envision a Big Ten team reaching the national title game with a loss. Hopefully for the league, that will change in the Playoff environment.