Pat Forde thinks that Stony Brook’s off-the-wall appearance in this year’s College World Series should be an inspiration to the suits planning the new football postseason.
Quite simply, Forde wants Cinderella to go to the ball.
But a four-team deal certainly presents no opportunity to the Stony Brooks of college football. The champions of the Sun Belt, Mid-American Conference, Conference USA and Western Athletic Conference (should it survive) never will make that cut. The Mountain West and even the Big East would be long shots.
Football, greedy and decentralized, doesn’t care.
Meanwhile, the rest of college sports give the little guys a chance to do it on the field. It gives life to the overachiever stories that are a large part of what makes sports compelling.
Yeah, that’s been college football’s big problem. It hasn’t been compelling enough without Troy in a playoff.
From there, it’s a course in Wetzellian regular season “integrity”.
There are 11 conferences. Take the champions of each and add one at-large team. You don’t think that would still put a premium on the regular season? That wouldn’t make winning a conference championship important?
A selection committee chooses the at-large teams and seeds the field. The top four seeds get a first-round bye. Seeds 9-12 play on the road against seeds 5-8 in the first round, then the top four hosts the winners of those games in quarterfinals.
Say you end up with No. 12 seed Florida International at No. 5 Michigan in the first round. And say FIU wins. The impact would be Stony Brook on steroids.
I’m not sure why it’s so hard to understand why that wouldn’t be the case, but let me add one more thing here, since Forde brought up college baseball. Stony Brook may have been perceived as a long shot because of where it’s located and because it played a weak schedule, but it had to earn a spot in Omaha by grinding through two rounds of double-elimination play. That’s not going to happen in a single-elimination football tourney.
Not that Forde is bothered by the distinction. In fact, if anything, he’d prefer to enhance it.
It would take four weekends to play the tournament, five if you give the final twosome two weeks to rest and prepare, like the NFL. If that’s too long for the coaches and academicians to handle, there is a solution. Dump conference championship games and free up the first weekend of December.
I’ll never understand how all these people who profess their undying love for college football are so eager to undo its uniqueness. But at least we’ll get brackets!