Perhaps you remember this quote from Barry Alvarez I posted a couple of days ago.
But when our league is left out of the playoff for three years in a row, I’m not happy with that. I don’t think that we have followed the criteria set by the commissioners in naming those four teams.
Let ESPN, of all places, explain about the criteria to you, Barry.
Though Georgia — which also is bringing back a known quantity at QB in Jake Fromm — is a longer shot to reach the playoff than Michigan, Georgia has a better chance of actually winning the national championship. It makes sense: Most (including FPI) would agree that the Bulldogs are better than the Wolverines, but their path the top four is more complicated with Alabama and LSU in the same conference.
If the Big Ten can’t put a team in the semis this season, then, yeah, it’s time to give Alvarez what he wants, because it may never make a four-team playoff again.
Here’s a reminder from Barry Alvarez ($$) that when they say settling it on the field, it usually doesn’t mean what you think that means.
What is your opinion on potentially expanding the College Football Playoff?
I was vocal about that probably three or four months ago when I was asked. I was on the initial committee and I thought four teams in the playoff was good. It was great. It was much better than the two-team playoff decided by computers. Because I wanted to know who’s programming those computers and what are they putting in? I was never satisfied with that. I thought four really helped college football. I thought that would be it.
But when our league is left out of the playoff for three years in a row, I’m not happy with that. I don’t think that we have followed the criteria set by the commissioners in naming those four teams. There’s a way you can go to eight teams very easily, starting a week early with a bye with the top four seeds. You can go to eight teams easily. There are eight teams that really could have a chance to win. So I think that it will expand. I just don’t know when. [Emphasis added.]
It isn’t a real college football playoff if the Big Ten doesn’t participate.
By the way, Alvarez thinks there’s an opt-out clause in the current deal that kicks in next year. I have no idea if that’s true, but be prepared for some heavy duty lobbying if that’s the case and the SEC manages to put two teams in the semis again. The best of the best, bitchez!
Deandre Baker, on his ultimate decision not to play in the Sugar Bowl ($$):
Baker was then asked how the playoff has changed decision-making for prospects such as himself.
“If it’s not the playoff, the game — it means something — but you don’t want to get hurt in that last game that doesn’t really hold any value,” Baker said. “It’s just another game to say you finished with your dogs. But knowing you’ve got a bright future ahead of you, and that this game isn’t the national championship or the college playoff if you go out and get hurt, it doesn’t only hurt you, but it hurts your family if you have to take care of your family and be the breadwinner. It’s things like that.”
Y’all keep telling me more CFP games don’t devalue anything. Yeah, sure.
Of course, the obvious solution is to expand the postseason — excuse me, the meaningful postseason — enough so that players like Baker won’t sit out. Brackets, for the win!
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.