Not gonna happen.

I think the phrase for this is wishful thinking.

Appearing on “The Paul Finebaum Show,” Fallica argued that a loss to Alabama might not be enough to move Georgia down in the selection committee’s rankings.

“If Georgia right now is one of the four best teams why should they be penalized for having to play Alabama in the SEC Championship Game? If they lose, it doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the best four teams.”

It doesn’t matter.  A two-loss, non-conference winning team isn’t going into the CFP ahead of a one-loss conference champion.  It’s just not happening, regardless of which is best.

Because that’s not college football’s lords and masters want from their postseason.  I keep harping on this, but the way the system is built now, it’s to give the wealth a chance to be spread among the P5 conferences.

That’s why stuff like this

But what if instead they all went down? How much fun would it be?

What if …

— Georgia upsets Alabama.

— Pittsburgh pops Clemson.

— Texas outscores Oklahoma (again).

— Northwestern slogs past the Buckeyes.

What if, in all its glory, a sudden storm disrupts everything we think we know about this season in college football?

Wouldn’t it be, well, fun?

And more important: Would it prompt change?

… is equally wishful, but only to a point.  When the day comes — and it will come — that going to six, or eight, or whatever puts more change in the pockets of the conference commissioners, then that kind of thinking will become a happily convenient excuse for expansion, just like the 2011 national title game was.  The Delanys and Sankeys will say they’re doing it for the fans, but that’s not the actual motivation.

If these people were truly serious about improving how the semi-final field is selected to tamp down criticism of the decision making, there would be a serious attempt to improve the nature of the selection committee’s analysis and with that, a process that would be more open to the outside world.  Here’s an example of what I mean by that:

It’s easy to see how and why the selection committee is predisposed toward defense. Its current makeup includes five former coaches. They rightfully command a lot of respect from the other eight committee members. But the retired coaches’ average age is 71.6 years old – and Frank Beamer, who retired after the 2015 season, is the only one who coached in this decade.

Coincidentally, that’s when offense transformed college football.

At some point, those slots will be occupied by guys who coached in this era. When it happens, the predisposition toward defense will probably change.

It’d be nice, though, if the selection committee acknowledged right now, in real time, the reality of college football in the postmodern era: You’d better have an offense – because what happened Saturday can happen to your very good defense.

Defense remains hugely important. Having both is absolutely the best possible situation. See Alabama and Clemson. It’s best to be complete.

But if it’s one or the other? “Defense wins championships” is a nice talking point – but putting up points is a much better plan.

While that’s certainly a valid criticism, even that falls short.  The committee shouldn’t be picking or choosing whether offense matters more than defense.  What it should be doing is using a solid analytical framework to inform its decision making, a framework that would access how teams perform across the board, i.e., offense, defense and special teams, in order to set a hierarchy of the best.

No, that shouldn’t be the exclusive measure of things.  The eye test should matter.  Results on the field, too.  There’s a valid reason to have folks who have coached provide input in the room.  But maybe instead of having five dudes from another era doing that, you could drop a couple and put some advanced stat guys in the room with the rest of the group.  I’m sure someone could round up a couple of hats for them to take off before they go in the room.

I know.  That’s wishful thinking on my part.  The folks driving the CFP train already have all the transparency in the process they want.

You people jonesing for an eight-team playoff, just be patient.  It’s coming.  Not for the reasons you want it, though.

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31 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

31 responses to “Not gonna happen.

  1. I still don’t understand how an 8-team playoff is congruent with the academic mission of intercollegiate athletics. The first round falls right into final exams.

    An 8-team playoff is great for TV, but it sucks for people who want to go see the games in person. You have another week of travel for visiting fans in the first round. You don’t know your bowl destination (which applies for everyone) for another week.

    The first round losing teams get the shaft. No one will want to play that 14th game and risk injury. Those teams will likely be cannon fodder for a #9 or #10 team who is mad as hell they weren’t in the playoff. Does anyone want 4 UCF-Auburn or Houston-FSU games?

    With the 8-team playoff, coaches are trying to wrap up the early signing period (which is the new NSD) while in the middle of real game preparation rather than the bowls.

    The law of unintended consequences just seems to make me think this is a terrible idea for the sport. At the end of the day, Mickey and his money will get their way.

    College football, it was nice to know you.

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    • I’m not saying 4 Go5 teams will play the playoff losers. I’m saying those teams will be as interested as in playing as those Auburn and FSU teams were. I wanted to clarify.

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    • Macallanlover

      Yeah, improving the product and ramping up the excitement of both the season and the conference championships is really a death blow. LMAO. Just as much in denial as the Senator with his “find the best” BS. We cannot find agreement most years on who is the best after the playoffs, but we are able to find the “best 4” before it and sell it to everyone? Sure, there are opinions but 24/7 the airwaves and intertubes are full of dissent. All subjective with no rigid structure of any placement in the Final 4. Again, LMAO.

      But you guys have had your way and defended this screwed up mess for decades, a change is coming….and CFB will be the better for it. And it won’t be close. Another opinion, just like you guys, but not distorted by the deflection and distraction of falsehoods and exaggerations. We have waited, somewhat patiently.

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      • Erk's Forehead

        Bloviate much?

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      • Mac, I consider you to be a reasonable poster. You didn’t respond to a single point I raised. I understand you are an advocate of 8, and I understand where you’re coming from. I don’t think 8 is good for the student-athlete, the paying fan, or the schools that lose in the 1st round. The only people that win with 8 are Mickey Mouse and the administrators.

        If all you care about is the ability to sit on your couch and watch games, admit it. I would respect that.

        I think the concerns I raised are exactly the same concerns the university presidents have.

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        • Macallanlover

          My response was to “cfb nice ti know you”, because 8 team playoff would absolutely be a boom for it. I am under no illusion that athletics are any part of the academic mission of the university, Stop it all tomorrow, no impact. As for exams, not all at one time anyway and the impact is on a few. Make-ups can easily be handled. This is minor to the mid-week travel for basketball from November until mid-April, not even close. If we are to worry about a negative impact on academics by athletics, we should blow it all up.

          As for fan travel, the 2nd and 3rd games are a wash. First round is a home game for 4 teams, no substantial issue for them. The four traveling teams will be limited to the same ticket allocation, about 8K with 2 weeks to prepare. All voluntary by those fans, but it won’t occur that often with only four teams involved each year. No one forced to travel if it is to much trouble. But your concern is exactly why I say 8 teams is as far as it will go, logistics for D1 schools will prohibit this from ever becoming 16 or 32 as some always interject as a scare tactic. Playing week after week with a few days notice will never work for D1 schools. As I said, you love what we have stand on that, everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is the unfounded silliness these arguments bring up that bother me.

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          • “College football, it was nice to know you.”

            That line was a little sarcasm and a lot of NFL Lite with its guaranteed spots for 8-8 division champions and wild cards. Tell me when you have seen a college team ranked #8 that was truly deserving of a shot at the national championship.

            “I am under no illusion that athletics are any part of the academic mission of the university.”

            Your statement has it backwards. Universities like Harvard and Yale would differ greatly from your opinion. Jere Morehead definitely differs from your opinion. Playing a game and missing an English test is one thing. Final exams are a completely different story. Do you know when finals start at UGA this semester? This Thursday through next Wednesday (https://reg.uga.edu/general-information/calendars/final-exam-schedule/). If we have any interest in the student part of student-athlete, no way should they have to spend 20+ hours this week in game preparation plus the time spent preparing for exams. Even Kirby and the staff back off on the guys this week … it’s not like these guys are paid professionals.

            “As for travel, the 2nd and 3rd games are a wash.”

            Once again, the facts are challenging to your argument. It’s another week closer to the travel date. It will increase the air fares. Guess what, it costs a family from South Georgia a ton of money to make one trip to Athens, so you are adding that for home fans across the country. Plus, that ticket they paid $75 for a couple of weeks prior to see the Fech game … add at least a 1 to the front of that number for the 1st round game because the CFP is going to control the ticket price not the school. For a family of 4, just the ticket cost went from $300 to $700, so the “no substantial issue” argument is a red herring. It ends up being another $1,000 to a family out of pocket when you look at the fuel, the food, and hotel cost.

            I’m ok with 4 for the reasons mentioned both to the on-field product and the impact off the field.

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  2. smgattorney

    This ersatz playoff is a joke. The “BCS Sux” crowd crowd got what it thought it wanted but instead got BCS times two minus a selection process that was open.
    Very few years had more than two teams that clearly could be called the best two. The pompous committee exists to give Mickey programming

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    • I didn’t mind the BCS. Everyone knew the rules and how the model worked. The polls have flaws especially related to when they start, but the number of voters generally cancelled the bias out. The computer rankings have their flaws, but the model threw out the highest and lowest rankings to come up with a composite.

      ESPN could have its show just like it did under the BCS. The committee was Jim Delany’s idea to protect his conference.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ASEF

    So, two teams get to play 16 games. Survive the injury lottery yet one more week. Wish away blow out losses to Purdue or Iowa (in an 8 team world, those Ls don’t matter). All to make room in the playoff world for teams like 3 loss Washington and make life a little easier for guys like Larry Scott.

    Yippee

    Liked by 3 people

  4. 1smartdude

    I don’t want an NFL style playoff in college football. I like the fact that every game matters. It’s what makes college football special. Last week I listened to a radio personality discuss what would have to happen for the Falcons to still make the playoffs. There are only four to six football teams in the entire country this year that even deserve consideration. That number will most likely decline after this weekend. Those who get left out WILL be able to look at something they didn’t do that kept them out. That flaw will stare them straight in the face and they won’t be able to deny what it is. It’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Macallanlover

      You do realize that exactly no one is proposing anything close to that don’t you? The discussion has been between 6 and 8 teams for a playoff. That is 4%, or 6%. Please show me another playoff in sports where the playoff is even close to that number. And I mean within 100% more exacting. It is the nonsense like this which prevents legit discussion. Yeah, being one of 6, or 8, of 130 is sooo easy, guess we do that all the time don’t we. We are historically a Top 10 win program, for a hundred plus years, how many times have we been voted to the Top 8 at the end of they year? How many SEC titles have we won? It is an exacting requirement, one that would, and should, be celebrated.

      Please don’t act like this is even in the same universe of what the NFL is doing, or the NBA, or March Madness, etc. Don’t make absurd comments like this, just say I don’t like playoffs, or only want 2 teams, whatever, but why not be honest about the comparisons you give. Having a different opinion is great, eventually it will get debated at the correct level, and decided, but we shouldn’t have to wade through several feet of bull shit.

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      • 1smartdude

        It’s exactly like the NFL, the percentages not withstanding. You’re allowing teams that haven’t taken care of their business to participate. You essentially make the regular season and afterthought when a 3 loss team can get a spot to win a National Title. If part of the criteria is all conference champions get in, I can see an opportunity where even a four or five loss team might make the field. That’s not college football. Snowflake away if you wish. It’s supposed to be hard. Your ring is in the mail…..

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  5. kfoge

    The USA Today quote is stupid. It says “What if Georgia wins, Pitt wins, Texas wins, NWestern wins…..then you have Georgia, ND, Alabama and Clemson in …. OSU would have 2 losses, Oklahoma would have 2 losses, Alabama and Clemson only 1 loss with ND 0 losses and UGA 1 loss

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    • David K

      exactly. It would be easy to pick 4 if that happened.

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      • Uglydawg.

        But it would be the end of Notre Dame’s getting a pass.
        Keeping tOSU and OK out because they lost a championship game while the Prima Donna sat on the sofa watching it all on TV and eatng bon bons?
        If I’m going to be asked to eat that much popcorn, please go light on the salt.

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  6. Huntindawg

    To me, the 4 team playoff is to assure the best TWO teams have the opportunity to play for the title. I’d say that goal has been met, and no further expansion is necessary for that goal.

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  7. canon

    Think about this: if Georgia defeated LSU in Baton Rouge, the SEC Championship game would feature two undefeated teams… both would be a lock for the playoffs. The SEC championship game would be meaningless.

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  8. Otto

    If all of the upsets above happen:

    1) ND
    2) UGA
    3) Bama
    4) Clemson

    UGA at 2 or Bama at 3 doesn’t matter, the rematch in Dallas would be the same.

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  9. Nashville West

    I like the idea for some new coaching blood on the committee. Paul Johnson, Hugh Freeze and Kliff Kingsbury are all currently available to serve for next season.

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  10. mdcgtp

    I think the solution could be solved with 6 or 8 teams and eliminating conference championship games. The reality of the situation is that winning a conference simply doesn’t mean what it did in 1976 or 1982 or even 1992. For better or worse, sports in general is about winning titles. In that vein, the most important logical step is to ensure a playoff has the right participants.

    I think having 4 teams and 5 conferences makes that a unsolvable problem because the perception that being a champion of one conference means that one leagues champion is superior to a runner up in another conference, which runs in conflict to the “best four teams” mantra. I joked before the season that I wanted UGA and Bama to both get to 12-0, treat the SEC Championship game as an exhibition, and dare the committee to leave the loser out. That said, we are almost certainly better than OU and OSU. Why should OSU’s win over a Northwestern team that lost to Duke and Akron propel it over a losing encounter with Bama? If the championship round is part of the determinant for the playoff, why would a higher seeded team (UGA vs. OU and OSU) be forced to play the highest seeded team of championship week?

    Why not let us choose if we prefer to play Bama or Northwestern?

    Without meaningful inter-league play, the conferences are echo chambers

    Thus, there really isn’t a sufficient mechanism to distinguish teams, their schedules, and conferences. The process of simply comparing schedules and looking at advanced stats can be misleading. Michigan is the perfect example of such. They run a gambling defense that accentuates positive defensive stats against bad teams. They have been torched more often than not over the past 3 years when faced with balanced offenses and solid OL play. Their “revenge” tour included “quality” wins over 5 loss Michigan St. and Wisconsin teams. Penn State was a shell of what it has been the past two seasons. Yet, there they stood at 4 before getting exposed. Yet because MSU, PSU, and Wisconsin started the year ranked, those wins seemed impressive. In reality, MSU and PSU would probably struggle to beat Mizzou.

    Unfortunately, if we are being objective, it is impossible to make a data driven case that beating UF, UK, Auburn, Mizzou, and South Carolina is anything close to murderers row. Thus, the only solution is for conference to be forced to

    IF I was czar for a day, I would

    1)Break the P5 away from the rest of the pack, which means P5 schools ONLY play P5 schools. (i don’t want to ever here the initials UCF again…EVER!). As a result of such, I would demand more money from television sponsors to compensate for the loss of the extra game.

    2)Expand the playoff field to 8 and eliminate this week. Pick the 8 best teams. If that means as many as 3-4 teams from one conference get in…so be it. For example, if the SEC played the Big Ten top to bottom and went 10-4 or 11-3 and won the “key” matchups, what case could Delaney make?

    3)play the quarterfinals this week, and in four weeks, resume the playoff as it is today with the 4 winners.

    this week would be

    Bama v 8th seed (perhaps Michigan or Wazzu)
    Clemson v. LSU
    ND v OSU
    UGA v OU

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  11. UGA '97

    8 team playoff +PLUS preset rules & criteria prior to season start If that doesn’t happen, then they they are only feeding us another crunchwrap, just one with one more flour tortilla added.

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