Can’t get enough of those data points.

When I blather about how playoff expansion dilutes the importance of the regular season at college football’s peril, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

If there’s a downside, however, it’s the perception that all the focus in college football is now on the Playoff. It has added pressure to coaches and athletics directors, and it has diminished games like the Rose Bowl when it’s not hosting the semifinals, not to mention the dozens of minor bowls that don’t involve playoff teams.

“That’s tough for a lot of people, and the pressure aspect isn’t going to slow down,” Livengood said. “It’s trite to say this, but if you’re not one of the four that doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good year. But a lot of things now seem to be measured on, are you one of the four in the playoff? And that’s kind of sad, but from a media standpoint you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. That’s done.”

The use of the word “if” in the first line should tell you that Wolken is an unabashed fan of the CFP, and more power to him for that.  But even as he spends much of his time in the article making the case for the current format, he leaves you with awkward explanations like this:

Now we talk about committees more than polls. Games aren’t just games, they’re “data points.” While the regular season has strengthened, rank-and-file bowl games have been weakened. Strength of schedule is a fact of life. The separation between Power Five and everyone else has become codified in both revenue and in the NCAA’s “autonomy” rules, largely based on the CFP’s existence. And conferences — at least in the Big 12’s case — have gone through existential crises born out of its failure to make the playoff in two out of three years.

Be still, my heart.  Just think what somebody will be able to write ten years from now when the discussion has moved on to eight versus sixteen in the playoffs.

21 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

21 responses to “Can’t get enough of those data points.

  1. 8 vs. 16? I can’t wait … wildcards for the win! Who cares about the regular season? The only thing that matters is who gets hot in December and January.

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  2. Gaskilldawg

    Will the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics charge us more for a ticket to a data point than he charges for a ticket to a game?

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  3. PTC DAWG

    Keep harping on the regular season not meaning anything. I don’t see it happening.

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    • Translation: la, la, la, la, la… I can’t hear you!

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    • Macallanlover

      Yes, scare tactic at the end noted, I love the panic about excess before we even reach the starting point, as well as the inability to work that many games into the frame work available. Just say you prefer no playoff and let that stand on its own merits, that opinion is a valid position. To say it is inevitable to eat without over indulging is erroneous, and pretending it diminishes the regular season ignores the amount of interest it adds. A clear path that prevents any voting from denying your entry to a playoff title is a plus, and it has CFB fans all over the nation involved. Either go back to pre-BCS, or have a playoff where you can control your own destiny. Committee to fill in the two spots is fine, but make the conference championship mean something that cannot be taken away. 8 teams out of 130 is hardly diluting anything, to compare it to March Madness, NFL, NBA, etc., is pure BS.

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      • Sanford222view

        If only they had an example of a college play-off system from a different division of college football to base a larger play-off format of of……

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        • Sanford222view

          *off of

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        • Macallanlover

          There is no gun to their head to make a stupid decision. You don’t avoid making the right decision because you may screw it up later. Do you not fall in love and marry just because you may get a divorce later? Get it right, tweak it as needed, and keep it at a sensible level. Responsible people have to stay in control and make good decisions. I am against a 16+ team playoff as much as any one on this blog. I just don’t accept we automatically have to make a major mistake, and feel there are limiting reasons it won’t happen.

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  4. 92 grad

    This is where I’m at too. The degree of damage is fluid, but the season is most definitely tricky to endure. For players and for fans.

    If you lose 1 game, you know you’re still in it but you have to win out.
    If you lose 2 games you know you’re out of it unless 2 other teams fall off.
    If you lose 3 games you’re just there for pride, “wait til next year”.

    Pretty much all media (which is all the money and exposure) will drop your team like a bastard child within the first month of games for all but maybe 10 programs.

    Conference championship is the only thing that a team can play for over the entire season and it is not emphasized enough. Conference play is what the media uses to fill time slots as they hash out “data points”

    My comments are extreme, slightly exaggerated, but with the passing of each season my statements become more entrenched. In a few years my comments will likely be more true than they are now.

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  5. Rocketdawg

    College football is quickly headed to where college basketball is already. December Madness for the win baby!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Uglydawg

    There’s never been a time where wins/losses didn’t play a part in determining who was where in final standings. The problem was who were those wins and losses against and the bowl tie-ins that prevented match ups to provide real answers. So we argued and fought with fans from other conferences about the final (and biased by homer sports writers, and coaches) polls. It was unscientific for sure. The BCS helped. I actually liked the BCS better than the playoffs.
    But regardless of the system used, one thing hasn’t and won’t change. If you lose two or three games, your out (unless your ND). So that argument is moot..In 1955, for instance, if you lost three conference games, you weren’t going anywhere special..same in 56 thru today…yet teams still played to win and people enjoyed watching. Most of us are there for the game, not for the future that the results of the game enhances or destroys.

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    • Greg

      Add LSU (’07) to the list with 2 losses….lose to Kentucky & Arkansas and still wins the whole damn thing.

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    • Southernlawyer11

      Such an excellent point. Way prior to the BCS there were only, roughly, the bowls that constitute today’s New Years 6 (or even fewer). If you weren’t in those, depending on your outlook in life, your season was irrelevant / worthless/ whatever. Either way, you were on the outside looking in. The only thing that has changed is that we have created all of these consolation bowls that used to not even exist and now we’re complaining that they are somehow rendered more irrelevant.

      Irrelevant as compared to what ? I think the panic of its demise is overblown. The health concerns will prevent any more games from being added and the Universities in college towns are not going to willingly reduce their number of home game economic cash cows. Politically it will not happen.

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  7. ASEF

    So glad we got to watch 1 and 2 crush 3 and 4 last year.

    And the year before that.

    But we at least got 1 good semi-final in Year 1, right? And it kept Alabama out of the championship, so 1 out 6 was worth it, right?

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  8. DawgPhan

    Coaches have to start pushing for expansion soon, right? Well their agents anyway. Dabo gets $54million for a title. Playoff appearance has to be worth $35-40 million.

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  9. Southernlawyer11

    I’d also like a clarification on what constitutes a diminished bowl ? What is the goal of a bowl game ? There are a lot of different constituents when it comes to Bowl seasons: players, coaches, fans, host cities and their residents. Georgia fans and (some) players may not be happy about a liberty bowl invite. But, using that one as an example, the liberty bowl for the city of Memphis has been an ABSOLUTE BOOM since it added a contract with the SEC for a guaranteed representative. Local football fans absolutely love having an SEC team in town. It sells out (at least soft, but usually hard as well) every year and tons of locals support it because there are a lot of SEC alums living here. Also, plenty of fanbases are within an easy day’s drive of the city.

    I know it’s viewed as a lower pecking order bowl, but crowd-wise and local participation I think it’s actually better than the trio down in Florida. 65,000 ish people seem to think it’s good enough to attend every year. I think one year there was an eligibility glitch where an SEC team did not participate. Iowa State fans brought it big time. Tons of them showed up. Again, I have no idea what the aim or goal is supposed to be….but I don’t think all lower tiered bowls are failures.

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