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.