Daily Archives: January 2, 2022

A modest proposal for college football pundits

I’ve re-read that Chris Vannini piece ($$) about how it’s past time for significant playoff expansion at least a couple of times and it pisses me off a little more each time I do.  His premise is that the CFP has proven to be a complete failure, not at producing a worthy national champion, but at keeping him entertained sufficiently.

Over eight years, the CFP has pulled off the remarkable feat of failing to give us good semifinal games while also devaluating the New Year’s Six games outside the CFP rotation. The result is that the sport’s highest-profile games miss the charm and excitement that comes with the regular season, and what should be the climactic moments of the season often feel like duds.

It’s not fair, I tells ‘ya, because we were promised this…

It’s not what anyone envisioned when the format was put into place with a 12-year contract in 2014. It was supposed to give more teams a chance and produce a new class of winners.

… and we got this, instead.

Beyond that, it can make you wonder just how many Alabama-Georgia title bouts we have coming. Georgia Coach Kirby Smart is just getting going at 46; Alabama Coach Nick Saban always looks like he’s just getting going at 70.

How long might the dance persist, the one where the Southeast plays football better than all the other regions, the fans crow about it, the pundits note it, the fans from other regions seethe over it and then the Southeast plays football better than all the other regions?

The problem is structural.  College football isn’t a sport built on parity.  Vannini knows this, so his suggestion is to work an end around — not just playoff expansion, but a newly purposed CFP.

Expanding would also provide everyone in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a tangible goal of reaching the CFP, giving more fans something to celebrate and enjoy before the games. That can be the ultimate goal. Like the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, reaching that is an accomplishment in itself, something every team could realistically point to in preseason camp.

You get a participation trophy!  And you get a participation trophy!  Hell, why even play the games?  Just let every team bask in the satisfaction of making the field.

Okay, okay, I exaggerate.  But not by as much as you might think.

The 12-team model that is most favored by the sport’s power brokers would give us a slate of eight additional games, including a first round of teams 5-12 that assuredly would produce more exciting results than what we get now. By giving byes to the Alabamas of the world, we’ll get teams that are more even in talent on the field for something that matters.

They’ll just get slaughtered by the Alabamas of the world a round later.  Oh, goody.

Anyway, I’ve got a better idea to make the NY6 bowls more meaningful.  Even better, it’ll make all bowl games more meaningful.

Rebrand every bowl game as a playoff game.

No, I don’t mean make all the bowl games part of the CFP.  Just change the name of each and every one of the little darlin’s from “Bowl” to “Playoff”.  The Citrus Playoff.  The Sun Playoff.  The Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Playoff.  One game playoffs for all the marbles for every coach and player.  If being in a playoff game is the secret sauce, make every postseason game a playoff.  Think of the meaninginess!  Think of being able to chastise coaches who change jobs before a playoff game!  Think of chiding players for opting out of a playoff game!

Mock me if you like.  I’ll save my mockery for the prospect of Vannini’s excitement over a four-loss Pac-12 team facing off against the AAC champ for all the marbles to face Alabama.  It’ll make for a compelling participation trophy, for sure.  The post-excellence CFP future is gonna be lit.

48 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Unleash the hounds

There were a lot of impressive stats from Friday night’s game, but this one is particularly striking.

If they notch 42% against ‘Bama in the rematch, I like their chances.

35 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“For now, Alabama is an underdog again.”

And Vegas is ready for that.

“This line is close, so I’d expect a huge [betting] handle on the game, Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, told ESPN on Friday night. “It will be interesting to see if the bettors put a lot of stock behind the Alabama win in the SEC Championship Game in how they handicap this game.”

The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide each won impressively in Friday’s semifinals. Georgia crushed Michigan 34-11 in the Capital One Orange Bowl, and Alabama dominated Cincinnati 27-6 in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to advance to its sixth championship game in the last seven seasons.

“I think the public will be on Georgia,” John Murray, executive director of the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, said. “Georgia got to make the last impression, and it was a very, very good one, as they obliterated a good Michigan team. Public may write off Alabama’s win over Cincinnati, thinking they (the Bearcats) never should have been there in the first place.

“Anything less than the biggest handle for a title game ever would be a disappointment in my book.”

Regardless of who wins the game, Vegas is rarely disappointed.

24 Comments

Filed under What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Do the right thing.

Seriously, WTF is with ESPN’s sudden fixation with player opt-outs?  First we had Herbie’s cranky “I just think this era of player doesn’t love football” observation.  In response to that, Desmond Howard offered this ($$):

“Their whole mentality is all about the championship or the Playoff. Because of that, they don’t value the bowl game. When we were coming up, Herbstreit and myself, going to a bowl game was a huge reward for a fantastic season. That’s what it meant. Your team played this well so you’re going to be rewarded with a bowl game, you’re going to get a ring, you’re going to get swag. Now, kids don’t really care about that. They have a sense of entitlement. It’s like, ‘If we’re not going to the one that matters, it just doesn’t have as much value’ — like it did for us coming up.”

Thanks, Gramps.

But the topper came during last night’s Sugar Bowl, when Joe Tessitore felt compelled to share his thoughts on the matter after Matt Corral was knocked out of the game with a leg injury.

He’s doing it the right way, unlike those selfish kids who are depriving Joe Tessitore and his employer of their entertainment services during bowl season.  Never mind that it’s Mickey who’s been feeding these players, along with the general public, a steady stream of bullshit about how it’s only the CFP that matters now.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but as long as a player is making a free career choice, there is no wrong way.  And if ESPN isn’t commercially satisfied with that situation, it’s certainly free to make an offer to influence that choice.  In the meantime, its talking heads can shove their moral judgments straight up their collective asses.

42 Comments

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

Wearing Number 99, Godzilla

Brian Cook went to Miami to watch his team take on the Dawgs and had this mid-game observation to share:

I wouldn’t say we take it for granted, but I’m not sure we fully appreciate how demoralizing those “Jordan Davis just tossed aside another offensive lineman to run down an opposing scat back behind the line of scrimmage” plays are.

36 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

If Georgia loses to ‘Bama again…

here’s why.

“Yeah, I was wanting to get a real shower, not a Gatorade bath, because I want to get focused on Alabama,” Smart said. “They got a five, six-hour head start. To be honest with you guys, I’m not interested in celebrating that. We’ll look back on that win and that’ll be great, but we’re focused on the task ahead and that’s the objective and that’s what our guys — they worked their tail off for three to four weeks to get this opportunity, and it was a one-game season, and now it’s another one-game season. I’m not focused on Gatorade baths.”  [Emphasis added.]

The GOAT with a six-hour head start?  That ain’t fair, PAWWWLLL!!!  They should play both semis at the same time!

Okay, I keed, I keed… I think.

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

It’s not easy being a Danny Kanell wannabe.

How it started…

How it’s going…

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles