The real playoff expansion question isn’t choosing between best and deserving teams.

If you still harbor illusions that it’s fans’ perceptions or those of pundits that will drive the four versus eight conversation going forward, you don’t understand what lies at the heart of postseason expansion.  Let former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson ‘splains it to you, Loocee:

The College Football Playoff will eventually expand to eight teams within the length of the current contract and be worth at least $10 billion, former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson predicted in a conversation with CBS Sports this week.

Pilson was reacting, in part, to the regionalized nature of Monday’s CFP National Championship between No. 2 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama.

“I think, from a television point of view, any sports executive would tell you he would prefer a team from the different part of the country,” said Pilson, now a longtime sports media consultant.

“The best would be a Big Ten team in terms of the size of market.”

ESPN’s best trumps our best seven days a week and twice on New Year’s Day.

For the first time in the CFP’s brief four-year history, a Big Ten team did not make the field. The Big Ten “footprint” — its dominant area of interest in the Midwest and Northeast — includes a quarter of the U.S population.

Also for the first time, two teams from one conference (SEC) are in the playoff. While that’s a bonanza for the schools, the SEC, the South and the site of the game (Atlanta), one TV consultant said this could be the lowest-rated game in CFP history.

“There will be some people who probably won’t watch it because it’s all-SEC,” said the consultant, who didn’t want to be identified. “It has the potential [to be the lowest rated].”

Low ratings could be one of the stressors that leads the CFP to expand, Pilson said.

Yeah, high blood pressure can be a bitch, Mickey.  You wouldn’t want to be stressed.

So don’t waste your breath arguing about the aesthetics of the ideal or fairest playoff pool.  It doesn’t matter.  In the end, we’ll get what they pay for and be told to like it.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

33 responses to “The real playoff expansion question isn’t choosing between best and deserving teams.

  1. CPark58

    If they would go to a simple 6 team playoff rewarding only conference champions and the highest ranked non P-5 team this would not be an issue. An 8 team playoff under today parameters still would’ve kept them out, they were ranked 10 in the playoff rankings.

    UCF conveniently forgets that though they beat Auburn who beat Alabama (every time they played this year) and UGA (only once but not when it mattered) and narrowly lost to a semifinalist in Clemson, Auburn also lost to an LSU team who lost to Troy.

    Also, you can’t count the Peach Bowl as a measuring stick any more than you can count the 2009 Sugar Bowl when Utah beat an uninterested Alabama team. UCF plays Auburn in Auburn or on a neutral site for anything other than pride, Auburn drubbs UCF. Pride is not a motivator for Auburn, they have proved that they are shameless countless times when they are on the outside looking in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bright Idea

    So if they go to 8 will the conference champions be mandated and a Group of 5 team as well? That would leave 2 at large spots. Would the south be disqualified from those 2 spots simply because of geography and TV ratings? Will the first round be played before Christmas? Lots of questions if they foolishly go to 8 for the sake of money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cojones

      Oh, but they will make it fit, just as they did this year with 4 days practice to fit a game plan in before the NC. Saban is correct that there is not enough time programed this year to get banged-up players well nor to insert a practiced game plan – all because ESPN says so.


    • AusDawg85

      Brackets will be paired with regions in mind sort of like basketball. We will have made our only trip to the Rose Bowl until (and if) it hosts a Championship game in the future and we get that far in that year. Which is really stupid in that the Rose Bowl creates more interest and excitement when east coast / south east teams get to play. But then stupid is what CFB does best.


  3. Eventually, Mickey is just going to say the B1G champion or ND gets a bye into the championship game, and the other 4 teams battle it out in a playoff to face them.

    This year, Ohio State, beat Iowa or Oklahoma (or in Wisconsin’s case, beat Ohio State) and the B1G is in. PAC 12, don’t be a total disaster. Notre Dame, don’t get run off the field by Miami and lose to Stanford late in the season.

    The rest of the country needs to face the facts. The best high school football is played in the South (including Southern California). The best players want to stay in (or come to) the South. Therefore, the southern universities from coast to coast are going to dominate the sport.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dawgtired

      I’m repeating myself…all of the ‘don’t want someone left out’ talk was just another ‘justification’ for doing what they’ve wanted all along. And no one is fooled, it’s about the $$$$.
      The evidence of what many want is getting louder. They long for the days of the USCs/UCLAs vs the Michigans/Ohio Sts and such. They want the viewing from large TV markets from all over the nation.
      I’m not sure which way this should go but I fear in the end if ‘they’ (Whoever ‘they’ are) get too much selecting power without accountability, we will be watching the 4th/5th or lower teams play in the NC. If they could have avoided the NDvsBama in 2012, LSUvsND in 2006, OhioStvsUF in 2006, and USCvsTexas in 2005, they would still be singing the praises of the B10 and PAC. It’ll be 3-peats and self-claiming national champions.
      I’m not naïve enough to believe the SEC is easily dominate in the CFB world from top to bottom, we’ve had our share of embarrassments. I’m aware of the parity throughout P5 conferences and even some lower level conferences…but I believe if the ‘powers-to-be’ are turned loose to get their wishes without question, they’ll put forth every effort to force us to live in a PAC/B10 world and we’ll just have to feel privileged to play in it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Exactly right. You should see some of the national media outlet articles about these playoffs. A shocking number of people p****ing on the Rose Bowl (“I didn’t watch it!”) because it was not a Pac12 / Big10 matchup. It’s like we stole their girlfriend or something and the [also extremely prestigious] Cotton Bowl that featured a traditional Rose Bowl matchup was beneath them.

        A lot of the noise right now is coming from corners that really don’t even consume a lot of college football. One area where they are wrong is their assumption that we could all just “drop a couple” regular season games to squeeze in a larger playoff—zero concept or awareness of the idea of the American college town, its economics or the notion that these “meaningless” regular season games are meritorious events unto themselves and not just some dress rehearsal for a late December Television showcase.

        It’s why you have 100,000 people in Neyland stadium in November to watch a team that was winless in the conference. We don’t want to move the iron bowl off thanksgiving to squeeze in the playoff. We don’t want to do away with the SEC championship. We don’t want 1 less trip to Athens, nor do the local businesses.


  4. Otto

    It can be turned off just like NASCAR, and NFL when they started outlawing Defense. I just hope UGA wins a few titles before the game is destroyed


    • Russ

      Yeah, I’m there with you, Otto. I hope we win one (or more) soon, because I’m going to lose interest in regional divisions, first round byes and wild cards.


  5. Dawg151

    It seems strange to me that geography and the regional nature of a championship is NEVER discussed when we have a New York Yankees vs. New York Mets World Series…or a Philadelphia Phillies vs. Boston Red Sox World Series…or a New England Patriots vs. New York Giants Super Bowl…etc.

    Let two southern teams compete for a collegiate football championship, though, and you’d think it was a sign of the apocalypse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Russ

      Yep. For some reason Boston vs NY is the greatest thing ever to these guys, but two SEC teams that made it through a playoff is destroying the sport.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Gravidy

    I wonder if anyone explained to these executives that you can put a Big 10 team in the field (however big it ends up being), but they still will have to win their way into the final game. Rigging the rules to make it easier for a Big 10 team to get in the playoff does not mean the final will be any less regional.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! You know with eight playoff spots, two SEC teams are gonna be in the playoffs most years. What are they gonna do when two SEC teams end up beating the other six and end up in the championship game year after year? I guess they could have the SEC teams play each other in the first round – which is probably what they’re thinking.


      • Cojones

        Agree whole-heartedly. At one time, one of the reasons listed (with tongue-in-cheek when advocating 8 teams) was to ensure that two SEC teams would appear in the NC each year since there would most times be two in the top 8.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Didn’t we also hear in 2011 (Alabama v. LSU) that “if it ends up being 2 SEC teams at the end of a playoff, fine, but at least they played their way in.” In this same circle of debate, I love how UCF gets credit for beating Auburn in the playoff fairness debate but then Alabama drubbing the #1 ACC champs is an improper ex post facto argument.


        • Kdawg

          With this set up. This year would have had 3 SEC teams in the playoff. 3 – UGA, 4 – BAMA, 7 – AU. If you used the BCS formula UCF would have been 9. Either way their panties would be wadded up and they would have had to claim themselves as life Champions after beating somebody less impressive the Auburn. They also didn’t win all the games on their schedule because they were afraid to play GT and chose not to reschedule. I’ve really come to dislike UCF and their whiny coach. He’ll go into the depths of the abyss at Nebraska. I’d argue it’s easier to recruit better players to UCF.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Gravidy

        I don’t even limit things to the SEC. Clemson could be in it, and it would still be a regional matchup that an Ohio State fan may not want to watch.

        But it boggles my mind how so many people are angry that we have an all-SEC final. They act like the situation was rigged in favor of the SEC. But in fact, the #3 seed and the #4 seed beat the top two seeds. And the #4 seed that everyone was so upset about being there in the first place not only beat the #1 seed, but they beat the Hell out of them.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mayor

      They’ll just start fixing games to get who they want in the final. And no.. I am not kidding.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. kfoge

    Won’t expanding it to 8 teams get the SEC an even better chance to put 2 teams in each year? Part of me wishes it would go to 8 teams and the SEC gets 2 teams most years and wins the NC almost every 2 out if 3 years and drive em crazy!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    I thought Corch would get in this year ahead of Saban for the ad dollars. But the committee did its job according to its criteria, to ESPN’s distress.


  9. Dawg19

    The Big Ten hasn’t scored a point in the CFP
    in 3 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 81Dog

    This is the logical direction you’d expect from a bunch of folks who think you can legislate equal results, not just equal opportunities.

    Games are just a bridge from tv ad to tv ad for the suits. They wouldn’t care if Mercer was playing Mars Hill for the title, long as they get the eyeballs for ad revenue. Maximizing ad revenue is a completely different thing than getting the two best teams to play for the title. Monday, we have the two best teams playing for the title.

    UGA just played in (I think) the 5th highest rated cable broadcast of all time, so screw Neal Pilson and the stretch limo he rode in on. Quit pretending we have to tweak the formula to be more fair. It’s fair now. Just don’t give up 55 points to Iowa in a loss, and get your ass kicked at home by Oklahoma if you want in the playoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. CB

    Did you guys know money drives college football (as well as all other businesses in this country)? This is sure news to me. Kudos to all you commenters who have been stating the obvious for years 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻.


  12. Normaltown Mike

    if they go to 8, the SEC needs to get rid fo the CG.


  13. Faulkner

    The didn’t want 2 SEC teams playing for the title, so they scrap the BCS for a 4 team playoff. If the BCS was still in place, next Mondays game would be OU vs Clemson. The irony of it all.


  14. BReynolds

    In order to get more votes, I mean ratings, what they want is “Playoff Justice”. Ha.

    If they really wanted to spread the wealth, I’m surprised they’ve focused so much on the tail end, playoff selection, rather than the front end, recruiting and scholarships.


  15. I feel like I’m living in an alternate universe. The B1G has been outscored 69-0 the last two times they were in the playoff. Those years also featured the four lowest-rated semi-final games. Meanwhile, the two games this year were rated 3rd and 4th highest semi-final games behind the newness of the first year games. The UGA-OU game rated higher than last year’s NC game.

    There has been one close semifinal game in three years, but adding more teams will make it better? If you go to 8 (with conf champs auto-bids), you would have added Ohio State, Wisconsin, USC, and UCF. All four of those teams would have been mauled by the four teams in the playoff. Viewers have already shown that they don’t want to watch blowouts, but adding the likelihood of blowouts will somehow make viewership better… The people in charge are insane.


  16. Read this in a USA Today article on the CFP games:

    “Georgia’s double-overtime victory over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl on ESPN and ESPN2 netted 26.8 million viewers, a 39% increase over last year’s early semifinal game. Despite the Sugar Bowl being a blowout as Alabama cruised to a 24-6 victory over Clemson, that contest had a 21.1 million viewers, a 10% improvement.”

    Yep. No Big 10 team in the CFP really hurt.


  17. South FL Dawg

    That argument is made for every bowl game; it’s why they take 2 teams from certain conferences that “fit” the particular bowl. The whole idea of a championship was to have the 2 best. So somebody just needs to decide which one it will be.