This is a fun read from Bill Connelly and there’s a quick take from it I’d like to share with you.
One premise of his is that 2018 was essentially the opposite of 2007, which still remains, in my humble opinion, college football’s greatest season of the BCS era.
There’s always wackiness beneath the surface, but the national title race, the most direct source of entertainment, wasn’t all that entertaining.
Only four teams ranked in the top two in the AP poll at some point during the season: Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia. For reference, seven did in 2017, and there was an average of 5.8 over the past six years. Not since 2009, when Alabama, Texas and Florida took over as the top three in Week 4 and squatted on those spots for the rest of the regular season (Alabama and Texas played for the title), have we had such a by-the-book title race.
By bringing this up, am I attempting to jinx us into a wild title race this fall? You betcha. Remember the amazing 2007 season, which featured a decade’s worth of surprise contenders and plot twists? That year featured 11 different top-two teams. The 2008 season featured nine. I’d settle for seven this year.
Are we entering a time of the super program, when a handful of teams have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack? Or was 2018 simply an anomaly?
David Hale thinks it’s the former, and that we’re already well within it.
David’s conclusion is that it’s problematic for college football in that it’s a recipe for fan fatigue. If so — and, to be fair, that’s something that’s yet to register in TV ratings — what exactly can college football do about it?
Not much, I’m afraid. The knee jerk response is to suggest expansion of the CFP, but if these programs have truly separated themselves from the remaining 126 or so others, then all expansion does is postpone the inevitable. Sure, four additional teams will have the opportunity to chase their postseason dreams, but if you’re not an Alabama or Clemson, what’s gonna change when you face them in the quarterfinals?
Throw up your hands, blow up the CFP and take us back to the chaos of the bowl game era? For a variety of reasons (read: money) that ain’t gonna happen.
The only thing I can come up with is cutting the scholarship limits down from 85 to, say, 65. That would serve to spread the wealth more equitably. More parity would mean more chances for regular season upsets that would affect the shape of the playoff field and might also serve to reduce the gap David charts between the cream and the merely upper tier.
Then again, if all you really care about in the end is seeing college football’s very best programs face off for a national title, is the current state of affairs troubling?