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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

THEY’RE BA-A-A-CK

By Marc Lawrence — After the College Football Playoff committee revealed this year’s Final Four finalists, the coronavirus pandemic notwithstanding, the New York Times chimed in that the blue bloods are back. The committee chose to keep Notre Dame ranked just high enough to reach a semifinal, igniting fury among fans of No. 5 Texas A&M — whose only loss this season was to Alabama — and lesser-known programs, like No. 8 Cincinnati and No. 12 Coastal Carolina, that made it through this autumn’s chaos undefeated. “The reason there are complaints — and I say it with a smile on my face — is people care,” Gary Barta, the chairman of the selection committee and the athletic director at Iowa, said on Sunday afternoon. “They care a lot. There’s always going to be disagreement when it comes down to the final grouping.” In the end the selection committee’s final rankings kept two top conferences, the Big 12 and the Pac-12, out of the playoff for this season, which faced week after week of uncertainty because of the pandemic. It’s also interesting to note that when Ohio State met Clemson in a semifinal last season, both teams had won 13 games. Ah, those were the days. To read more click here.

Trending Today

If it seems like this is the first time the Final Four teams in the NCAA College Football Playoff have been camped in the first four slots since the Week One of the ratings this season, it’s because they are. Not only that, but the first FIVE TEAMS are also the same, with Texas A&M on the outside looking in since Week One as well. FYI: In the history of the College Football Playoff, the No. 1 ranked team in the initial CFP poll (Alabama this season) has NEVER won the title. And speaking of which, in Nick Saban’s five national championship teams with Alabama, those Tide teams surrendered just 260, 245, 250, 183 and 245 yards per game – or an average 234.6 YPG. This season they are allowing 352 yards per contest. Uh oh.

Double Back

From this week’s PLAYBOOK Football Newsletter: Don’t look for an upset by the Bengals in their game with the Steelers tonight. The largest upset by a home dog in Monday Night Football history is +11.5 points by the Detroit over San Francisco in 1995. However, when it comes to Monday Night double-digit dogs the pointspread is another matter, though, as double-digit chalk has been swallowed from Game Thirteen out in this role, going 21-35-1 ATS since 1990. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is 5-1 ATS as a double-digit dog in this series dating back to 1980. Get the clothespin out.

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