So, having read this debate at ESPN about the ACC’s plans for its conference championship game (aka The World’s Smallest Outdoor Cocktail Party – h/t Jim Donnan) and keeping in mind Todd Graham’s whine about the fairness of the Pac-12 choosing to play a championship game while the 10-team Big 12 doesn’t, I’ve got a few questions.
- As Todd Fortuna asks, “…why does the NCAA even have authority to determine how leagues govern their title games, anyway? As we’ve seen recently, particularly with the SEC sticking with its eight-game league slate, conferences are free to determine their respective league schedules however they wish. It’s only right that they get to choose how to determine their league champion, too.” I get that adding a game needs the NCAA’s approval, but as to the makeup of who plays, why is the NCAA involved?
- That being said, what is the point to maintaining divisions for the regular season if they’re going to be ignored come championship time? I mean, aside from money. As David Hale points out, in the ACC, all that’s going to do is make the Clemson-FSU regular season meeting less meaningful, if those two are your ACC front-runners. And further, “… after FSU completely dominated Clemson this past season, was there really a need for those two to face off again? And if Clemson managed to sneak by the Seminoles in the title game by a point or two, would that have proven the Tigers deserved the league title instead of FSU? And would it have been worth costing the ACC its shot at a national title?”
- As silly as that seems, it’s not nearly as ridiculous as a conference with a round robin regular season schedule adding a championship game. But if college football heads down that road to appease the Todd Grahams of the CFB world, why stop there? Wouldn’t the truly fair thing be to mandate that only conferences with fourteen members and a championship game be eligible for the national title postseason?
Now I’m not suggesting that I’m on board for any of this. It’s just surprising to me, at least a little, that we’re hearing talk, some of it serious, about tinkering with Roy Kramer’s invention, one that’s served the sport pretty damned well for more than a couple of decades. The reason for that, of course, is the birth of the four-team national playoff and the power conferences gaming out the best scenario to maximize their prospects in that. That most of the decision makers don’t have a clue what might work best doesn’t mean they won’t try. You tell me how optimistic we should be about that working out well.