Goin’ down the (playoff) road, feelin’ bad.

Sadly, Ed Gunther is shuttering his fine blog, The National Championship Issue.  I hate to see any blog I enjoy go by the wayside, but in particular, it’s Ed’s rationale which resonates with me:

… Back in 2007, I was vehemently anti-playoff. Not that I liked the BCS, but I felt, and still feel at times, that the negatives of a playoff outweighed the positives. About the time that I created a series of posts attempting to explore all sides of the playoff debate in spring 2009, my thoughts on the issue started to change. But not in the way you might think. That exercise did help me to see some of the positives of a playoff, and my stance against one has definitely softened. I admit that I would thoroughly enjoy some semi-final matchups between four of the top teams in the country, and how the playoff-creation process itself plays out is still fascinating to me. But while I’ve come to see that there are better possible ways to handle the national championship issue, I’ve also come to firmly believe that it’s not worth it. And that’s the main reason that I’m putting this site to rest – I believe that the national championship issue and all that it entails has become too much of the focus of college football in recent years and is overshadowing many of the things that make the sport so unique and enjoyable.  [Emphasis added.]

I know how he feels there.  It’s not the concept of a playoff (at least not an extended one) that bothers me.  It’s how much we’ve allowed the focus of the sport to become transfixed on the subject.

Even more troubling, now that the movers and shakers are getting a little scared about the money flow, they’re suddenly finding Jesus for all the wrong reasons.

… Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said last week that he hadn’t really given much thought to the BCS changes, but he did say one thing about the movement to a playoff.

“This is what the public wants,” McGarity said.

What, he just figured this out?  The truth is it simply didn’t matter much until now, when the suits started feeling slightly threatened.  Now we matter (unless we want to preserve conference rivalries)?  The truth is we’re a convenient excuse for them to get their hands on a few more dollars.  Okay, a lot more dollars…

Where things go from here is anyone’s guess, but I’d be very surprised if Ed’s concern over what’s good about the sport being overshadowed doesn’t mutate into something far sadder, given the new postseason reality.  I just hope I’m not writing a similar post here at GTP in a few years.

31 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Just Bidness

31 responses to “Goin’ down the (playoff) road, feelin’ bad.

  1. TennesseeDawg

    Amen, I frankly could care less about the national championship debate. I didn’t care when polls decided the NC. I watch CFB for the rivalries, the players and coaches. I enjoy the gameday atmosphere, the tailgating and the occasional friendly trash talking with fans of other schools. CFB is turning into an NFL style product, polished, worried about revenues and projections and we the fans are getting screwed. The constant push for expansion and more TV dollars is killing the sport.

    • shane#1

      Amen. I posted my concern about the amount of money involved in CFB on this blog long ago. The tail don’t wag the Dawg. Now some are saying no more schollys for walkons. Never mind the fact that three of CMRs ex walkons went on to medical school and are now MDs. Unless you think the purpose of UGA is not to provide the State of Georgia with educated young professionals, but to bring home a glass football. I want the program to keep trying to do things the right way and to continue to provide college educations to kids that otherwise would have no shot at a degree. I would love a MNC for Coach Richt and the boys and I believe one is coming, but I do NOT want to see UGA sell out for it, or the dough.

  2. TomReagan

    I totally agree with his sentiment about the focus on the national championship being a detriment to other aspects of the game.

    He ran a good blog.

  3. Senator, I hope that you will be writing a post about all sort of things in a (for a) few years & that i will be around to read them.
    I am still on record for favoring the bowl games as a team reward game..
    I also favor the Plus One & Only the Plus One as a national playoff system to determine a True not a Mythical National Champion…Just My Opinion.

    • ACM

      One of the only things I am looking forward to with the coming college football playoff is that people will finally stop using that ridiculous epithet “mythical” when talking about a national championship.

      • When It Is not true, or It Is not real, then it is mythical & in my opinion means thar the crowned national champion is usually not, in fact very seldom is, the best college football team in the nation.That also explains my thoughts on the BCS (Bull Crap System). It Is Mythical.

  4. Just Chuck

    Call me old. I am. And, maybe my memory is failing. But, it seems like we had more exciting bowl games when the big bowls went after a good matchup and let the polls decide the NC. The arguments over who should have been champion kept kept us warm until spring practice. Seems like, with the BCS, we still have the arguments and many of the bowl games aren’t as much fun as they used to be.

  5. Dante

    Reread McGarity’s comment. He never said the public mattered. He only pointed out what the public wants.

  6. AthensHomerDawg

    Well that’s not good news Senator. Even if you haven’t been able to sing “shake a tale feather” with Ray Charles your blog is a lot of fun and a place where we can all “huddle up”.
    I hope I’m not too early here…if you catch my drift.

  7. Keese

    The fans, the money and the subsequent changes… It’s nothing more than market forces at work….that’s all there really is to it. It’s no different than any other business except the ones delivering the product (student-athletes/kids) have almost zero input to the process which is the biggest shame

  8. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Keese — agree they’re just running the business, but running it poorly, IMO.

    It’s being turned exclusively into a TV product. I’ve been to four NFL games live in the past 6 years — all a complete waste of money and time. Thankfully, the tickets were comped.

    Pro sports in general have become a soulless spectacle. If Congress removed the entertainment exemption tomorrow, most pro sports stadiums would be half-empty overnight. All of my tickets were purchased in advance by corporations, who couldn’t find takers inside their own businesses. What does that tell you?

    The bigger problem seems to be the death of bowls. No one wants to go anymore. I’ve never seen so many empty seats. So they have to come up with something. Conference-run bowls, 3 rounds of playoffs….

  9. Cojones

    Senator, it’s a sad note you sing when your choice to continue to trumpet the passion of our college football world would go by the wayside with a natl. playoff.

    What has transpired through other football playoffs? Have they lost the meaning of football at VSU,GSU and others through the years? Even though the prediction of Mo’ Money will occur, has it hurt those who participate in football playoffs currently? Was the same prediction made when the BCS was invented and pressed to reality without our (fans) wishes? I dare to say you will, on review, find the same dire predictions back then.

    If we don’t proceed toward what we all see as a more equitable and fair choice because we can predict the worst that money will create in such a system, then what should we do? Predict what will continue to happen that’s more inequitable and unfair in the present system into the next few years? Or do we attempt to wind the clock back to “the good ole’ days”? I confess that I have no answers since I am no seer, but neither does anyone else have those answers.

    There is the good and bad to all programs. How to stop proliferation of games makes no sense if you allow one extra game. Why would it matter to embrace the best analysis of numbers that we all can live with and go forward in one jump than it is to proceed with attrition until we approach contrition for having wanted a playoff in the first place?

    I certainly hope this would not mean that your fine gtp site would peter out because of the harm you may foresee that is not so evident to many others. I would hope you would continue to proceed for the good of the game. But you should know that many of us will continue to be your friend; peter out or peter in.

  10. Skeptic Dawg

    After the last few public quotes from McGarity (last week with the UGA/Auburn rivilary going away, now this), I am beginning to believe he may not be all that great. He may simply have too much Gator in his blood.

    • 69Dawg

      I wouldn’t worry about the gator in his blood as much as Mike Adams in his ear.

    • Cojones

      Change that to “FU-modeled scheming” and you may have a point. I think that playing “Podunk U”s as OOCs demonstrates a lack of pride in our program just as it did when FU played weak sisters. Cheering on the proud and powerful teams of the past is giving way to pursuit of chrystal, accompanied by a faked passion for hard play and faked cheering that’s insincere toward our team’s endeavors. That path is bound to reduce passion for college football before a natl playoff will. And I don’t like it one iota. Playing for and winning an SECCG and a possible NC still won’t get the taste out of my mouth.

      Hey, Senator, we may have embarked on another “I blame…”.

  11. Bill M

    Senator, I agree that a lot of the focus on the national championship issue is a little distracting but I also feel it consumes you more than most and you tend to write about it more than most. You moreso than most bloggers. Your longest and most involved articles tend to be able the subject. So is it college football fans in general that are consumed or you as a blogger?

    • reipar

      Yes Bill. It is this blog that is consumed. It is an issue for this blogger and as such we hear about it when we come here. Maybe this blog too will go away and that will be sad as it has good links. However, it will be replaced by another blogger and college football will go on. Maybe there will be a play off, maybe not. Maybe we will have 9 conference games or maybe not. Maybe UGA will play legit OOC games or maybe not. Maybe bloggers will leave, but they will always be replaced as the game (and the unending fans) will go on.

    • Not sure which bloggers you read, but if you’re comparing me to other Georgia bloggers, it’s a fair cop. Of course most Georgia sites don’t concentrate on football only, so I think context matters a bit.

      I will say I read plenty of other bloggers who devote as much bandwidth to the subject as I do. I link to several of them.

      As for “Your longest and most involved articles tend to be able the subject”, I doubt that’s the case. Those tend to be about the team’s play, either as I’ve seen it, or as statistics might explain things.

      And on your last point about being consumed, I suppose the answer there depends on whether you agree with me or not. I’m not going to apologize for being passionate about the subject. I’m coming to the conclusion that college football is approaching a crossroads at which some major changes to the sport may be coming. The sport will survive, no doubt – too many people enjoy football – but it may be in a form that I no longer care strongly about. I can’t see myself continuing to blog about a subject that doesn’t engage me on a certain level. And I don’t think people would want to read a blog if the author didn’t feel it anymore.

      I think I owe you guys that much honesty.

      • AusDawg85

        “I can’t see myself continuing to blog about a subject that doesn’t engage me on a certain level. And I don’t think people would want to read a blog if the author didn’t feel it anymore.” (wish I knew how to do that italicized thing)

        The pure essence of why GTP is superior to anything in the mainstream press about UGA football. Journalists neither seem engaged nor honest about their role anymore. You, sir, are the Munson of bloggers. May your career be as long and as admired.

        But you’ve got to stop blaming Bobo….

    • Hackerdog

      I doubt Jim Delaney and Mike Slive are discussing a playoff because of this blog. Not that it’s not a great blog. I just think the world is a little bigger than the internet sometimes.

  12. Keese

    My goodness, this is not the death of college football.

    • I don’t think the Senatory ever said it was the death of college football. He just said it was potentially the death of what makes him passionate about college football. It’s hard to look at what’s happening and note that all the things that make college football special to most of us (i.e. historical rivalries, traditions, tailgating with old college buddies, et al) are being eschewed in the name of the almighty dollar to make college football NFL-lite.

      People still love football in this country and college football will obviously survive going forward. But don’t act like the things that attracted most of us to the game in the first place aren’t at risk in this money grab.

      Are the Senator’s concerns a bit hyperbolic and preliminary? Perhaps. However, I can’t say I entirely disagree with him that it’ll be hard to be as passionate as I currently am about college football once it does become a fully operational NFL minor league. The Senator and others voicing our thoughts remind me of somebody that sees the writing on the wall in their marriage/relationship and is now going through the five stages of grieving.

      Somebody said here the other day that the huge focus on being the “College football national champion” these days has caused everybody to focus on the “national champion” part and not the “college football” part. Can’t say that I entirely disagree.

      • All I can say is that if it turns out I’m wrong about what’s coming, I’ll be the first one to call me out. With pleasure.

        • Same here. Being an auditor by trade (Shocking given my OP name, I know!), I approach nearly every situation with a healthy (my gf would argue unhealthy) amount of professional skepticism/cynicism. Maybe the early grieving process to the presumed death of what attracted me, and presumably you, to college football in the first place is completely misguided and we have nothing to worry about. However, being the cynical person I am and seeing many people throughout my career completely mismanage things due to a short-sighted vision of a moneygrab, I stopped getting my hopes up long ago to believe people wouldn’t screw up things that I actually like when there was money to be made by going after the lowest common denominator (i.e. the Cat in the Hat example from Bill Connelly a few weeks ago also known as casual football fan that would only care about college football during a playoff) instead of worrying about what your core audience (i.e. the person who’s money can be counted on no matter what also known as us) cares about.

    • Never said it was.

      College basketball and major league baseball have both survived the passing of my serious interest in them.

      Of course, I don’t blog about either.

      • Keese

        Is the sport evolving? Yes I believe it is…just as it has done in the past. But I think the fundamentals as to why we love the sport will never change. There was one link you shared way back when that really reasonated with me and really drovee home the point: it was discussing why college football would remain popular if a nfl development league ever happened. Is it really about a national champ? To some yes, but to most fans, no. it is the one sport where we as fans will all share traditions, memories etc

        • I agree, but what if they crap all over tradition, too? We’ve already lost games like Oklahoma-Nebraska. It looks like the SEC is getting ready to take a powder on Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee.

  13. Dawgy45

    “I believe that the national championship issue and all that it entails has become too much of the focus of college football in recent years and is overshadowing many of the things that make the sport so unique and enjoyable.”

    That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter.

    College (D1) playoffs? Don’t want to be treated this a-way.