A better College Football Playoff path, the best bowl games and more Champ Week thoughts

The college football regular season came to a merciful end Saturday night, and we all get a well-deserved break until bowl season begins in [checks notes] A FEW HOURS??? OK, well, damn. We'd better go ahead and talk about the College Football Playoff, the weekend that was and what to look forward to in bowl season.

The CFP committee got it right...ish

It's almost a reflex that I have. Before I can fully unleash criticism about the College Football Playoff committee ...

... that its proud, defiant refusal to at least open one eye toward advanced stats holds it back (why on earth would you not want more information for making such an important decision?) ...

... that it has constantly failed and undersold the Group of 5's capabilities (and doesn't exactly go out of its way to seek G5 backgrounds for committee membership), rendering college football's Football Bowl Subdivision virtually the only sport/association/subdivision that gives half of its members no path to a championship ...

... that its insistence on meeting in person to create rankings in the middle of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic was both (a) an unnecessary health risk and (b) pretty pointless, considering how frustrating and inconsistent the rankings actually were at times ...

I have to provide a definitive disclaimer: The committee hasn't screwed up a top four yet. They have all been, at worst, acceptable. Maybe I would have placed teams in a different order, but all 24 teams selected for playoff inclusion from 2014 to '19 were deserving of a spot. That relegates the legion of complaints I and others have had through the years to secondary status. The committee gets the big thing mostly right.

I'll be nice and say it's now 28-for-28. I guess. The playoff once again cleared the acceptability bar.

Mind you, the committee completely screwed over Cincinnati. If we actually regarded G5 teams as the capable members of FBS that they've proved to be, there would be no way to justify the Bearcats ranking worse than sixth. But they finished eighth all the same, behind a two-loss Oklahoma team that lost to a Kansas State team that is barely top 80 in SP+. There's no excusing that, no matter how hot the Sooners were at the end of the season. The committee fell in love with the Big 12 despite the conference's brief, abysmal nonconference showing and also treated the SEC like it was the normal SEC and not a conference with far more disappointments than pleasant surprises this year.