Thanksgiving is almost here, so I suppose I should be grateful that there are any number of bad things in the world that Dan Wetzel hasn’t had the time yet to blame on the BCS. Unfortunately, that doesn’t except this column of his about whose fault it is that the fabulous, third-ranked Notre Dame football program is on the outside looking in at the national title game. It’s a logical mish-mash that Michael Elkon takes apart here.
In so doing, Michael gets to a place that’s near and dear to my heart.
College football’s system also ensures the primacy of the regular season. The fact that we are still discussing what Notre Dame and Kansas State did in September is itself an illustration of that point. Compare the weight given to college football games in September with the attention that college basketball games are getting in November. Take it away, Jeff Schultz:
Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, Kansas. (Sounds great in any order, doesn’t it?) It was sort of like a Final Four, except without the deciding third game and the fact that it’s November, not April, and that probably not enough people in Atlanta were really paying attention.
Despite the marquee value of the teams, coaches and players, this “Champions Classic” didn’t create significant buzz on the Atlanta sports landscape in the past few days, smothered by all things Bulldogs, Falcons and … well, did you see that David Ross signed with the Red Sox?
If college football had an early September double-header involving LSU, Florida State, Michigan, and Clemson (the teams occupying the four same spots in the preseason college football poll that Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, and Kansas occupied in the preseason college basketball poll), do you think it would draw attention in Atlanta (or any major market)? College basketball is all about March. Teams like the four that played at the Georgia Dome on Tuesday night are going to be in the Tournament regardless, which makes their non-conference meetings glorified friendlies.
For all the drama that’s ensued from Texas A&M’s win over Alabama, there’s been surprisingly little acknowledgement about how much less that development would have meant in the context of a four-team playoff. All we’d be talking about in that scenario is where the Tide would be seeded, assuming it won the SECCG. Again, the point here isn’t to relitigate the merits of the four-team playoff – that horse done left the barn, of course – but simply to note that it’s inherent in the design of any enlarged postseason format to take something away from the significance of any regular season result. It’s the nature of the beast.
That all being said, I can hardly think of a more eloquent rebuttal to the possibility of an eight-team playoff than this (sadly, I can’t find the thread in question).