You know, maybe we’re looking at this all wrong. Think where Central Florida’s narrative would be right now if the CFP or BCS had never existed. You know there would be some poll out there that would have them at the top.
Hey, that’s how Bama got started with its eight hundred or so national titles.
Including bowl bonuses paid out to football staffers, Alabama’s athletic department bill for its most recent title-winning run through the 2017-18 playoffs totaled nearly $7.6 million, up slightly from its 2016-17 playoff appearance.
Alabama’s combined expense report for its recent CFP appearance totaled more than $5.37 million, including in excess of $2.8 million for its national semifinal win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl and another $2.5 million for its title victory over Georgia in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, according to documents released through a public records request by The Decatur Daily.
I’m curious to see Georgia’s numbers in that regard. Whatever they turn out to be, one thing I feel fairly certain about: if Michael Adams were still president, they would have been much higher.
Like it or not, it’s safe to say we now live in a College Football Playoff world. Georgia played for a national title last season and it’s only fair to wonder what 2018 holds out for the program in that regard. Pete Fiutak warns us that our Dawgs are likely to be the last team out.
The Bulldogs are loaded again for another amazing run, and they’ll be among the four best teams in college football, but the problem might just be the two-loss barrier that no team has cracked so far to get into the CFP.
On talent alone, Georgia deserves to be considered the preseason No. 1, or 1A, or 1B next to some of the other big boys. However, it has to start over at linebacker, has to replace the NFL running back tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and has just enough key losses in other positions to be annoying.
They’ll be in the thick of the chase all season long, but it’ll likely come down to the SEC Championship for one of those four spots. So give the Dawgs this caveat for the fifth spot; the winner in Atlanta will be in, and they’ll at least be playing for the trip…
Why They’ll Miss Out On The College Football Playoff
The SEC East isn’t going to be so blessed miserable this year.
That’s not to say Georgia wouldn’t have rolled through last year’s division schedule no matter what, but in 2017 …
Florida … bad and boring.
Tennessee … bad and weird.
Missouri … bad and couldn’t beat a good team.
Vanderbilt … bad and Vanderbilt.
South Carolina was solid, but it’ll be better this year, and that’s an issue.
The schedule isn’t horrible – Georgia Tech is the only worrisome non-conference game – but with road games at South Carolina and LSU, and with Florida stronger and Auburn to deal with, lose once, and then there won’t be any margin for error.
What’s Really Going To Happen?
Georgia will lose once along the way. Just watch out for that South Carolina game to open up the SEC season.
Unlike 2017 Alabama, the Bulldogs won’t catch the mega-break of not having to go to the SEC Championship. At 11-1, they’d be in. At 11-2 with an SEC title game loss to the Crimson Tide, they’re out.
But that got me to wondering about the likelihood of Georgia being a one-loss regular season team by the time the SECCG rolls around. Remember, ESPN’s FPI projects Georgia to finish 11-2 (rounded off), winning the SEC East. It also shows, though, that the team has roughly a 10% chance of running the regular season table. It also projects Georgia as the favorite in every game on the schedule.
Remember, too, as I posted the other day, Vegas is projecting 10.5 wins this season for the Dawgs, and a wide margin in the divisional standings. All of which backs up Fiutak’s point that Georgia is unlikely to be this year’s version of 2017 Alabama in terms of its path to the CFP.
That gets me to the point of asking you guys to look into your crystal balls and predict what lies in store for Georgia’s 2018. Say hello to my leetle fren’, er… reader poll.
As always with these, your comments are more than welcomed.
The all-SEC championship title game between Alabama and Georgia drew a lot of criticism in 2017. Here’s the bad news. It could totally happen again. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs will be heavy favorites to win their respective divisions, and the possibility for a No. 1-vs.-No. 2 showdown in Atlanta for the SEC championship exists.
What if both teams were 12-0 or 11-1 with the drop on the rest of the Playoff field? It’s entirely possible for both to get back in. After all, this was a scenario in 2017. Georgia and Alabama were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 the first two weeks of the CFP rankings before Auburn beat both in November. The Tigers must travel to Athens and Tuscaloosa this year, too. The all-SEC championship rematch is entirely possible.
Yes, if there’s nothing else that would enrage me, it’s the thought that the two best teams in the country face off for the national championship. That would really chap my ass, not because I’m a Georgia fan, but as a college football fan who has this charmingly deluded notion that the point to the sport’s postseason should be to have the best face the best. Get real.
Here’s what would really happen if that matchup came to be: the national media, goaded by ESPN, would do its collective best to stir up a feeding frenzy; those jonesing for an eight-team playoff, goaded by ESPN, would seize upon this as the lever needed to move the discussion to a more imperative level; Bill Hancock, goaded by ESPN, would blink his eyes at the media while solemnly insisting that expansion was not in the works; the national media, goaded by ESPN, would parse the television viewership numbers searching for proof that public interest in the CFP was on the verge of waning, etc. Sensing a pattern there?
When I say that an extended playoff has the consequence of watering down having a meaningful regular season, this is what I’m talking about.
Once again, the college basketball regular season has been rendered meaningless by the much-coveted “upsets” and “bracket busters.” Those things are great for TV and for your office gambling pool, but they don’t make for much quality basketball in weeks 2 and 3 of the NCAA tournament.
Teams that were dominant over a four-month stretch — Virginia, Arizona, Michigan State, Xavier … poof, gone. Defending national champion North Carolina, out in the second round and finishing in 32nd place.
Left in their place are upstarts like Loyola-Chicago, Nevada, Florida State and Clemson (yeah, Loyola won a national championship that one time … during the Kennedy administration). Do you really want to see a college basketball Final Four of Nevada, Florida State, West Virginia and Clemson? (That’s one possibility).
The equivalent in college football would be Boise State, N.C. State, Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech. Would that get you fired up for the CFP semifinals?
Single-elimination tournaments are a monumentally stupid way of determining a national champion. And, no, that’s not close to what we have now in college football.
Yes, it’s possible for the best team in college football to lose before the national championship game. That was probably the case with Alabama in 2014, and might have been the case with Clemson this past year.
But at least in those instances, you knew those teams lost to a quality opponent … not somebody who managed to string together 40 decent minutes and hit a shot that bounced off the rim, off the glass and went in. (Sorry, Tennessee fans).
But stretch the college football playoffs to eight, twelve or whatever and you’ll be there soon enough. With the exception of the NFL, the pros don’t make that mistake with single-elimination games, but then, they have a lot more time to fool with extended playoff series than college basketball and football do.
Generally speaking, a postseason exists not because it’s the ideal way to crown the best team, but because it makes money. I get that, and there’s no question that March Madness is wildly successful, commercially speaking. But it sure sucks to watch a team excel for more than thirty games against a tough regular season schedule only to see that turn to ashes because it suffered through an off-night against a hot mediocrity… er, Cinderella.
I know many of you think the more playoff, the merrier. So be it. I just see expansion being another wrong turn made by people who seem bound and determined to abandon every aspect of college football that’s made it uniquely attractive to so many of us.
1. Can Georgia overcome a weak nonconference schedule?
Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee, UMass and Georgia Tech — four teams that combined for a 24-24 record last year (including the 8-4 record from FCS Austin Peay) — give the Dawgs little to no wiggle room. Georgia Tech is the only Power 5 nonconference opponent, and the Yellow Jackets finished 5-6 last year.
The importance of strength of schedule is not up for debate within the selection committee meeting room. Alabama earned a spot in the top four last year, but in the committee’s lengthy final deliberations, its game against FCS Mercer was certainly a part of the debate against Ohio State for the fourth spot.
“If you want to be considered for a spot in the college football championship, you need to go out and schedule up,” former selection committee member Tom Jernstedt. “When the bracket is so small, there aren’t many things you can use to separate Team A from Team B, C and D, and someone that can demonstrate that they went out and made a real effort to schedule up, that’s important. If you schedule down and end up undefeated, that should not be rewarded for scheduling down. You constantly encourage people to schedule up so the committee really has something to work with as it goes through its deliberations.”
Georgia faces Florida, a road trip to LSU, and gets Auburn at home. One loss would put it in a precarious playoff position. In 2016, Washington was hammered for its strength of schedule all season. Last year, Wisconsin’s résumé was under the microscope. Now it’s Georgia’s turn.
Again, as someone who thinks our home schedule blows, I’d like to be more sympathetic. But her case would be more honest with the inclusion of the SECCG, as well as noting that ‘Bama has a similar scheduling weakness. In the meantime, she’s got a hammer, if anyone needs one.
“I just think that people like Georgia football. I mean, why, when you have an opportunity, on this nice spring day to come to Athens, I know I would be dying to come if I lived anywhere in the state or in a five-hour radius. Get out of the house, get the kids out of the house, come see who the new faces are. I think some of it’s recruiting but I think people enjoy football in Georgia and want to come watch it. I’m glad they do because the impact it has on recruiting, I can’t tell you how many recruits are out there going, oh my gosh, I can’t believe it, I can’t get over it. It’s the norm here. It’s the way it should be…” — Kirby Smart, AJ-C, 4/21/18