The evolution of Jim Delany, network director and sometime conference commissioner:
- 2010: Fuck you, playoff proponents.
- 2016: College football shouldn’t go to an eight-team playoff because “too much ice cream isn’t good for anybody”.
- Today ($$): “It’s probably a good idea, given all of the conversations and noise around the issue, to have discussions with our colleagues.”
There is literally nothing these guys won’t consider if the right price tag is attached to it. But you keep telling yourself an eight-team playoff is as far as they’ll go.
I don’t care where you stand on the playoff expansion debate, you’ve got to tip your cap to Dabo Swinney for inventing the perfect bowl game name: the Funky Cold Medina Poulan Weed Eater Bowl.
I can only think of two things in response. One, Tone Loc absolutely needs to sponsor some dinky-ass bowl game as soon as possible.
While I’m on the subject of playoff expansion (okay, again), I can’t help but share a naked display of what the real motivation behind bracket creep is.
Hint: it’s not a search for the best.
Today’s quote comes from Scott Boras, the baseball super agent who’s been racing around the winter meetings trying to convince a team to shell out record contract terms for his client Bryce Harper. While there, though, he’s got plenty of other clients trying to shake fruit out of the money tree, and the going’s been slow. So, here’s his solution for that problem:
To sell his players Boras needs more teams trying to win, and to do that Boras wants baseball to expand the playoffs–three wild-card teams in each league instead of two, making for “seven playoff levels.” His idea would allow teams barely above .500, or worse, to push for a postseason berth and create an “October Madness” of supposed playoff excitement.
Before you snicker or brush that off as simply a pushy player agent’s way of getting players paid, tell me how that’s any different from Jim Boeheim’s relentless push to expand March Madness because it would give more coaches the opportunity for job security through claims that their teams qualified for the playoffs.
The point here being that it’s about the money — it’s always about the money — and that there are more than just the hands of the owners that reach out for a stake in that. Owners, players, coaches, they all grab. The only ones who don’t get a seat at the table are the fans. Keep that in mind as you tell yourself that an eight-team college playoff is so great it solves everyone’s problems for good. It won’t, because there’s never enough.
Atlantic Athletic ($$) has a piece up about how “a number of influential voices in college football are calling for a serious look at [CFP] expansion.”
My favorite two parts are a quote…
In a statement to The Athletic on Tuesday, an ESPN spokesperson said, “We have no involvement in the competitive makeup of the CFP.”
… and a proposal to include a designated Group of 5 spot in an eight-team field in exchange for the end of conference championship games. I’m sure Greg Sankey is down with that trade-off.
Per Bob Bowlsby, “Then, there’s the matter of how you do it. The devil’s always in the details.”
There are a lot of devils in college football these days.
Just another data point…
And, yes, I know, in and of itself, that’s not a complete indication of schedule strength, but here’s Sagarin’s SOS rankings on that:
- Georgia 6
- Clemson 48
- Alabama 44
- Oklahoma 31
- Notre Dame 42
- Ohio State 40
- UCF 90
One of those numbers really isn’t like the others. (Well, okay, two, but I digress.)
The point here, again, isn’t to re-litigate whether Georgia belongs in the CFP field this year — that ship’s already done sailed. Rather, it’s to say that the debate about whether the Dawgs, two losses and all, deserved to be part of the discussion was certainly a valid one.
In today’s Mailbag ($$), Stewart Mandel nails the point I often make about the impact an expanded CFP will have on the rest of college football’s season.
No, it would not ruin college football or the regular season. It would just be a lot different. Some games would become more important than they are now; others would see their value diminished.
Take, for example, last weekend’s extremely captivating SEC championship game. It became the sport’s most-watched regular-season game in seven years. I don’t believe the viewing audience would be quite that enormous if you went in knowing both teams would be safely in the Playoff regardless and that they were essentially playing for home-field advantage.
With an eight-team playoff field, winning the SEC will be reduced to a battle over seeding. Is that really what we want to see from the SECCG? Not that what we want makes any difference, of course.
Mandel doesn’t see that as ruining college football. His mileage varies from mine, obviously. An expanded playoff is just another inexplicable step the Jed Clampetts running college football will take to erode the unique aspects of the sport that have created a passionate fan base over many decades. The sad thing is that these people are confident they can manage a transition that will allow them to have their cake and eat it, too.
How anyone can think Larry Scott, for one, is a genius capable of accomplishing a neat trick like that — and no doubt Scott thinks he’s always one of the smartest people in the room — is beyond me. But what do I know?
I mean, the dude is more impassioned about Georgia deserving to be in the CFP semis than I am. My world is rocked.