And one more look at team recruiting rankings:
Some of this confirms what you, myself and every college football fan around knows intuitively: for the last half-decade, no one in the country has been as dominant on the recruiting trail as the power trio of Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State.
Now, true, that’s not the entire story.
The on-field success of Clemson and Oklahoma have shown that conference and national championships can be won without top-five recruiting classes, but they also each serve as examples for the disconnect between signing day and game day. The Tigers were able to close the talent gap with Alabama, in part, because Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Mitch Hyatt, Austin Bryant and other key pieces of the 2015 recruiting class chose to return to college for their senior seasons instead of going pro. If fellow 2015 signees Calvin Ridley, Da’Ron Payne or Minkah Fitzpatrick had chosen to do the same, then maybe that showdown in Santa Clara goes differently. Oklahoma, on the other hand, has done enough work on the recruiting trail to contend for Big 12 championships, but this average does not have a factor for the addition of Heisman Trophy-winning transfer quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
But it’s a large part of the entire story. Kirby’s recruiting has made Georgia relevant nationally and there’s no reason to think that’s going to change any time soon. Whether it pays off with the ultimate reward, well… that’s why we’re along for the ride, ain’t it?
(As an aside, if you’re wondering why Athlon’s average for Georgia differs from CBS’, it’s because Athlon screwed up the 2015 rankings of Georgia and LSU.)
I realize I’m likely wasting bandwidth with this post, but for those of you who earnestly believe an eight-team college football playoff will be the greatest thing since sliced bread, after reading this piece, do you honestly think the people who make the decision to expand are competent enough to invent a format that addresses all the issues raised by a bigger playoff?
I’m not. That’s not to say we’re not getting expansion. We are.
It’s just that they won’t be able to figure out a solution that works. Instead, they’ll flail around trying, in the end unable to ignore the one guiding principle behind another round of playoffs: but there’s all that money!
Eh, no big deal. They’ll just revisit things a few years later. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So how disappointing are those CFP national championship game viewership ratings?
Despite the declines, Monday’s game still earned a larger audience than every game of last year’s World Series, every game of the last two NBA Finals, and every game of the last three NCAA men’s basketball tournaments. It trounced last year’s Villanova-Michigan men’s basketball championship on Turner Sports, which had a 9.2 and 16.0 million.
Must be a lot of fatigue going around these days.
Put this in your playoff expansion pipe and smoke it.
The average attendance at bowl games rose by more than three percent in 2018-19, snapping a streak of seven consecutive seasons in which the industry saw an overall decline.
The average attendance for bowl games this season was 41,802. That’s up from last season’s average of 40,508 according to NCAA attendance figures.
I have no idea why. It comes in the face of declines in 20 of 38 games, including nine of which were by double-digit percentages. (Though some of that is no doubt attributable to the CFP’s curious insistence on dodging New Year’s Day, and, as the article notes, playing the title game in Northern California instead of Atlanta.)
In any event, don’t be surprised when people questioning the need for an expanded playoff cite this as a data point in expressing concern over how a larger playoff field would impact the bowls.
Ooh, baby, that fatigue’s a beyotch.
Since Bama-LSU, hunh. Gee, wonder what happened after that.
UPDATE: ESPN polishes the alleged turd.
Once thing that I continually marveled at during the period when major league baseball struggled to come to grips with player free agency is how the owners would consistently trash their own product in trying to best the players’ union. As business strategies go, it was questionable at best and headshakingly stupid at worst.
I heard a faint echo of that when I saw Chris Fowler’s comment about the college football playoffs.
ESPN college football announcer Chris Fowler told reporters on a conference call there is a “massive need for fresh blood” in the field, although he acknowledged the reality that consistent success by Clemson and Alabama leads to fewer spots being available for teams in other regions of the country.
“Any Playoff bracket is better served when there are contenders distributed around the country, just so fans can become more invested in it,” Fowler said. “You just like to have teams from all over, playing into November in true Playoff contention. It makes the regular season more compelling for more fans. But hey, there’s not much room.”
This year’s semis had Notre Dame and Oklahoma, but never mind that, I guess.
What I really love there is the “true Playoff contention” measure, as if there’s something phony about excluding the Pac-12 from the CFP. When you strip Fowler’s observation down to the essentials, it’s all about the company line that the playoffs should be constructed for a national audience that doesn’t care about the regular season as much as fans following a regional product do, because everybody is sure the latter will stick through whatever Mickey and his broadcast partners foist on us.
So what if there’s a little trashing of the product they’re bringing us now along the way. It’s all for a greater cause, right?
As my previous post indicated, the bullshit was flowing rather freely last night. Here’s the CFP’s contribution to the festivities.
That’s enough to make me sympathize with Central Florida. Well, almost.