Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

Mel Tucker’s guide to Pac-12 relevancy

It’s simple, really.

Step 1. Lobby to get every Power 5 champion a seat at the table.

Step 2. Stop beating each other up in November.

Step 3. Schedule “name” programs out of your league. And, you know, actually beat them.

Don’t worry about making the top conference teams better, just make it easier for the top conference teams to reach the playoffs.

… So what I’m selling now, I’m selling, ‘Hey, the Pac-12 is down, and now it’s our time to get it going.’ But I would love to able to say, ‘All we’ve got to do is win our conference and we’re in.’”

“Give me eight, right?” Tucker continued. “So we can get in and get three at-large (teams), and let’s go. And have the first round (where) you could go on the road (to campus sites) and play. And then, after that, do it like they’re doing it now. Because that really gives you a chance now to get in there. You could lose a game and still get in.”

Good news for Pac-12 coaches, anyway.  The road to hell is paved with Jim Boeheim’s intentions.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Pac-12 Football

Will Kirby Smart’s scheduling gamble pay off?

“I do think they’re one of the top four teams in the country but I didn’t think they were going to get in the playoff with two losses,” Saban said. “So I voted the teams that I thought had the best chance to get in, but I do think after playing Georgia they were one of the best four teams in the country.”Nick Saban

As we’ve all heard over the past few weeks, Georgia has taken the bold step of significantly upgrading its non-conference scheduling, adding a number of home and home series with P5 powerhouse programs like Texas, Oklahoma and Clemson.  Smart gave three reasons for the move when asked.  It’s one of those three I’ll explore in this post.

“We’re not running from Power 5s,” Smart said. “(The selection committee) has proven that later games in the year have more impact on who makes the Playoff, so if you can get a Power 5 team late in your schedule, I’m talking the last three or four weeks, you’ve got a chance to spike and send yourself into that conversation.”

As evidenced by Saban’s comment above, that’s a gamble on Smart’s part.  One I applaud him for taking, but a gamble nevertheless.  There’s no reason to think that the selection committee is ready to embrace that approach, particularly given the strategic whining we’ve heard from certain conferences that have whiffed lately on populating the CFP semi-finals field.

But there are other wrinkles that may complicate the equation Smart projects.  One is that there are P5 non-conference opponents such as the ones Georgia is scheduling, and then there are P5 non-conference opponents such as the ones Tennessee is scheduling.

The Vols will host BYU this season before traveling to Provo, Utah, in 2023. They’ll travel to Oklahoma in 2020 before hosting the Sooners in 2024. Tennessee will host Pittsburgh in 2021 and travel there in 2022. And UT will play at Nebraska in 2026 before hosting the Huskers the following season.

Of course, nobody can predict the future, so maybe BYU has turned itself into a top ten program by the time UT travels to Utah.  Or, maybe not.  But you can be sure Fulmer will be pitching how his football program’s scheduling has taken a step towards the level that Georgia’s had should the moment prove convenient for doing so.  It may not be a convincing argument, but it may also be an argument that serves to muddy the waters for a two-loss Dawgs team making a case for the CFP field.

Then, there’s the way the other half rolls, as Seth Emerson explains ($$):

The SEC is splitting into two tiers when it comes to scheduling: The upper-tier teams that are ramping up their schedules in expectations of being in playoff contention, and the rest of the league, which while no one would admit it publicly would consider a playoff run a bonus, and instead schedules so that it can win as many games as possible.

It’s about half and half. The traditionally stronger programs are pursuing bigger games, with the playoff at least partially in mind, but also jaded fan bases that are less likely to show up for Murray State. But the less-tradition-laden programs are less apt to pursue those games because wins are at a premium: When you talk to Kentucky coach Mark Stoops about perhaps ramping up his school’s schedule, the reticence is palpable.

“We’ve had our hands full with Louisville,” Stoops said. “They’ve had a very good team. So with the SEC schedule and with Louisville …”

Louisville!  The thing is the media (and I include a certain 800-pound rodent in that reference) loves itself an underdog.  You don’t have to look any farther back than last season to recall how Georgia’s trip to then ninth-ranked Kentucky was pumped up as a major head-to-head meeting with serious postseason implications.  That talk quickly evaporated after Georgia won by seventeen, of course, but Cinderella is going to be given every benefit of the doubt should the situation arise.

That all being said, I do think that Kirby’s gamble lessens considerably over time, because we all know, despite Bill Hancock’s protestations to the contrary, the CFP is going to expand to eight teams.  The irony there is, in an expanded field, nobody will blink twice with a two-loss team in the mix, but at least when it happens, we’ll have a better home schedule to enjoy.  Let’s just hope that Kirby’s scheduling aggressiveness doesn’t come to bite him in the ass before then.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

Feeding the beast

There are fifteen, count ’em, fifteen, bowl games scheduled between the CFP semi finals and finals, including five after January 1st.

All of that reflects a general trend of stretching out the bowl season from start to finish.

In recent years, the bowl season has begun on a Saturday before Christmas with several games. This season, bowls begin Friday, Dec. 20 with the Bahamas Bowl at 2 p.m. ET. The Frisco Bowl is later that day. The next day six games, including the Celebration Bowl, which matches teams from historically black colleges in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, will air on either ESPN or ABC.

(Also, don’t forget that’s just ESPN’s schedule you’re looking at.  CBS and Fox have five more broadcasts to add to the mix.)

Don’t get me wrong here.  I’ve got no problem with bowl games; the more, the merrier, as far as I’m concerned.  But for a bunch that’s struggled with the message of making the CFP a special, new tradition for college football fans (how’s that whole “fuck it, let’s play on New Year’s Eve” thing going, anyway?), wholesale abdication of postseason scheduling to Mickey seems like a poor way to go about showcasing your crown jewel.

Hell, who am I kidding here?  They’ll probably use it as another excuse when the time comes to expand the CFP to eight teams.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

Thursday morning buffet

Shuffle up and grab a plate.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

“Otherwise… you wouldn’t be doing this.”

Okay, where is Greg McGarity and what did y’all do to him?

“The tables have turned,” McGarity said. “At one point in time, we might have taken our fans for granted to a certain degree. What puts us in the best position to be successful? I think these young men who play the sport are competitors, too. The dynamics have changed.”

“… we might have taken our fans for granted to a certain degree”?  I’m not sure gobsmacked is an adequate description of my reaction when I read that quote, but it’ll have to do for now.

Next thing you know, Greg will announce a major renovation project at Sanford Stadium that doesn’t involve recruits or the folks in the fancy suites.  Be still, my heart.

Oh, by the way, read the rest of the piece.  Greg Sankey may claim he’s fine with a four-team college football playoff, but McGarity and Smart are firmly convinced it’s going to eight.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

Nothing but the best

You will be shocked, shocked to learn that after being shut out of the College Football Playoff the past two years, the Big Ten has had a change of heart about postseason expansion.

“I’m open to the consideration and to looking at it and to thinking about it,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said Monday of playoff expansion. “Anytime our Big Ten champion is left out of the playoff … that’s something that needs to be discussed. Because I obviously believe that you go through and you win the Big Ten championship in this league, you’ve accomplished something that deserves to put you in position to play for the national championship.”

When they move to eight and guarantee each P5 conference an automatic berth in the quarterfinals, I hope they go all in and rename the event the College Football Participation Trophy Tournament.  After all, everyone’s a winner.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football

Drag it out.

One little tidbit about this year’s CFP… it’s gonna be a long one.

Extra time to prep and extra time to recover from injuries might make for some interesting tactical decisions.

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UPDATE:  They’re spreading the New Year’s bowl games over three days this season.

“The Capital One Orange Bowl was presented with a unique opportunity by our partners, including ESPN, Capital One, the ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Notre Dame, the Miami Dolphins and the CFP, to play this year’s game on Monday, December 30 in primetime,” Orange Bowl Committee president José C. Romano said in a statement. “With other bowl games planned for the early afternoon window on January 1, this move enables our game to stand alone as the only bowl game staged on Monday night, when fans are used to viewing football games. We are confident this traditional start time will be a positive for both the out of town and local fans who attend our game, as well as the television viewers across the country.”

Bottom line, college football only has one real tradition now:  kissing Mickey’s ass.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs