I picked the wrong week to quit worrying about college football, it seems. Richard Johnson sees a crisis.
College football needs an egalitarian championship system if it wants to try and claw back some of its manifest destiny as a nationwide sport. U.S. sports fans demand the finality of one champion, so the sport should use the examples we have to play our way there.
His example isn’t the NFL. It’s European soccer. His salve for college football’s wound — manifest destiny, really? — is to expand the playoffs, but require the qualifiers to win their respective conferences first. I mean, nothing says the finality of one champion like putting the champion of the SEC and the champion of the Sun Belt on equal footing.
He admits Notre Dame poses a big snag. Well, duh. What he doesn’t mention is how a 16-team SEC is going to have a huge problem with this format. Right now, the CFP format involves four wild cards. There’s no way the SEC is going to sign off on an expanded CFP that reduces the number of wild cards. And we know this because Sankey has already signaled his opposition to an eight-team arrangement where the P5 champs are awarded automatic berths in the playoffs.
It’s weird, really. College football is an immensely popular sport that also has a ton of folks, both from the inside and the outside, who are dissatisfied with how it’s structured and are convinced it needs serious tweaking. So much for the whole “if it ain’t broke” school of thought…