Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

Two words: a simple narrative

Is Georgia a contender to make this season’s CFP field?  Heather Dinich boils it down:

4. Georgia Bulldogs

Statement game: Sept. 4 vs. Clemson. This is the kind of win that can help Georgia finish in the top four even if it doesn’t win the SEC. If Georgia can manage to win the East, but loses in the SEC championship game, a win against the ACC champs could go a long way in the committee meeting room.

Reason for optimism: Continuity on offense. One of the biggest differences for Georgia in the second half of the season was the offensive progress with JT Daniels at quarterback in the final four games. He completed 67% of his passes for 1,231 yards with 10 touchdowns and two picks during that span, and Daniels will have eight projected starters returning around him.

Cause for concern: A loss to Clemson. No, the Bulldogs won’t be eliminated from the CFP with a season-opening loss to what should be a top-five team, but it would change the picture and put enormous pressure on Georgia to win the SEC.

Storyline to watch: Can Kirby Smart put it all together to win it all? He has won the SEC. He has made it to the national championship, only to lose to Alabama in overtime on Jan. 8, 2018. Georgia has a schedule conducive to returning to the SEC championship game. On paper, Georgia is in a better position than Florida, and the Bulldogs don’t have to worry about a regular-season trip to Tuscaloosa. It seems inevitable, though, that the path to winning a national title will go through Alabama. If they meet in the SEC championship game, can Smart find a way to beat his old boss?

I hate to say it, but that’s pretty much it.  It’s quite likely Georgia is going to face Clemson and Alabama along the way, and if the Dawgs want a shot at the playoffs, it’s at least going to have to split those two games.

Which of the two seems more feasible to you?

76 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

Dennis Dodd means well.

There are going to be a lot of “how can college football’s postseason be improved?” thought pieces this offseason, not that any of them will be worth a damn unless they’re penned by the P5 commissioners.  Dodd’s got one, and it’s well-intentioned, I suppose, but this paragraph made me chuckle:

3. Reduce the playoff-or-bust mentality: All of the following may happen organically, but if not, options begin with reducing the number of bowl games, which creates more demand. With the expected, eventual addition of name, image and likeness rights, allow sponsors, apparel companies or even the network to pay star players bonuses for participating in non-playoff bowl games. That may help stave off massive opt outs only reducing those to potential early first-round picks.

Yeah, player compensation might stem the tide of opt-outs to some degree, but how you can talk about a playoff-or-bust mentality without mentioning ESPN, by far the worst offender in that regard, is either craven or a surrender to reality.  Players sticking around might be nice, but as long as viewers are tuning in to the bowl games — most owned by the network, remember — in sufficient numbers, Mickey ain’t crying.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Reason #8759 for playoff expansion

The threat is real and it’s verified.  Copy that.

I haven’t figured out the angle yet — would Alabama beating the crap out of some relatively hapless number eight team really move the ratings needle? — but I have no doubt they’ll find one.  ESPN cannot let this aggression stand, man.

49 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

Greg Sankey’s triumphant finish

Is it just me who finds Greg Sankey’s sanctimonious posturing a wee bit distasteful?

Screenshot_2021-01-12 Ross Dellenger on Twitter(1)

Apparently not.

Now Brian’s an unabashed SEC hater, but he’s not wrong there.  Sankey took a gamble, just like every P5 commissioner did (or, more precisely, every president of a P5 school did).  Yeah, sure, you can mock the Big Ten for its about face if that makes you feel superior, but Brian’s point about Johnson should sting, assuming Sankey gives a shit about anything besides the bottom line.

Screenshot_2021-01-12 Ross Dellenger on Twitter

Anyway, what I find troubling about Sankey’s comments is stooping to use a horror show of a year as a reason to work the refs in order to force every other commissioner to march in lockstep with the lowest common denominator.  Not that my opinion is gonna change anything, at least as long as the checks keep rolling in.

48 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

Your national title game day post

This is as good an intro as any, I suppose.

Alabama and Ohio State most recently met during the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2015. Behind coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Cardale Jones, the Buckeyes won the Allstate Sugar Bowl semifinal 42-35 and went on to a national title.

Since that loss, Nick Saban and Alabama have won two national championships and played in two other title games. Ohio State, now led by Ryan Day, is making its first trip to the championship game since winning that title in 2015.

Two of college football’s true blue bloods meet again on Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T in Miami Gardens, Florida (8 p.m. ET, ESPN and the ESPN App).

There are many similarities between the two unbeaten teams, from the collection of potential first-round NFL draft picks, to a pair of top-five scoring offenses nationally, to defenses that have uncharacteristically given up points in bunches at times this season.

Alabama and Ohio State have also dominated their conference brethren. Since the start of the 2014 season, Alabama is 59-5 against SEC opponents, and Ohio State is 59-4 against Big Ten foes.

‘Bama is currently an 8-point favorite and the over/under is 75 points.  The focus going in has been on both teams’ passing attacks, naturally enough (Alabama is first in passer rating, Ohio State is fifth), but I find myself a little curious about which team has success on the ground.

Here are the relevant yards per rush numbers and national rankings:

Ohio State averaged 5.77 yards per rush against Clemson, the seventh-best rushing defense (based on defensive ypr) in the country.  In his last two games, Trey Sermon’s been an absolute beast, averaging 30 carries a game.  I know it’s popular to say that Justin Fields is going to have to have another big game for Ohio State to win, but he’s got an awfully nice backup there whom Alabama’s defense is going to have to account for.  Can either defense stop the run in order to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback?

By the way, both teams excelled at turnover margin.  Ohio State is third nationally at +1.29 per game; Alabama, at +0.92, is twelfth.

I don’t think the Buckeyes are going to surprise the Tide the way they did Clemson, but I don’t see Alabama running away with this one, either.  There’s way too much talent on both teams, methinks.  Bottom line, I’ll take ‘Bama to win (it’s hard not to), but not to cover.

Have at it in the comments.

126 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

College football doesn’t have an entertainment problem. It has a parity problem.

I don’t think it comes as any surprise to someone who’s read this blog for any length of time that I’m not exactly enthused by the notion of college football postseason expansion.  Not that my attitude matters one whit — the powers that be are going to take expansion and run with it as soon as they see how many zeroes ESPN or whomever is willing to put on that check for the broadcast rights.  But I digress.

I was in a fairly robust debate this weekend about CFP expansion on Twitter, and I think it’s something that can be boiled down to a couple of tweets.

It’s DawgStats first point that I want to address in this post.  Quite simply, if your concern is that the way college football is currently structured severely restricts the number of teams that have a legitimate shot to play for a national title, expanding the playoffs is an ineffective way to address that.  Sure, you’ll have some fresh faces — at least at the beginning — who will be able to slap that shiny new “PLAYOFF BOUND” label on themselves.  But the idea that an eighth seed is going to run the table and beat those same two or three powerhouses after playing an extra game is wishful thinking at best.

Here’s why.  (And thanks to reader Henry for supplying the chart.)

Screenshot_2021-01-11 Fwd Where the stars are and other thoughts - mbroch gmail com - Gmail

Look at that carefully.  There is a gap that emerges after, say, the top five or six and grows enormously after 12-14.  Not so coincidentally, those are the schools that have dominated in populating the CFP fields to date.

As I said in the header, if college football has a problem, it’s a parity problem.  And playoff expansion won’t do a damned thing to address that.  (It will do wonders for ESPN viewership and fans with a Cinderella fetish, though.  And brackets!)

If college football really wants to do something about parity, that means dealing with the lack of balance on rosters throughout the sport.  The NCAA is about to do something in that regard in the very near future in terms of allowing a free, one-time transfer for football players, but it’s only a one-shot deal and even with that limitation in mind, schools pretty much had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table to allow it.

The bigger and more dramatic move to level the playing field would be to reduce the number of scholarship players allowed on an FBS school’s football roster from the current level of 85.  Such a proposal, of course, would lead to an outright rebellion on the part of the haves to keep what they perceive as their rightful status.  (Would that change if schools suddenly had to pay those players directly?  Beats me.)

That P5 schools are on board with more playoffs — of course they are, don’t kid yourselves — but are anywhere from reluctant to downright opposed to roster modifications should tell you everything you need to know about their parity concerns.  Namely, as long as it doesn’t affect the pocketbook, parity isn’t a problem for them.

Nor is it, apparently, for fans of expansion.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Lies, and the lying liars who tell them

With one sentence, Bill Hancock may have painted his masterpiece.

Do I even need to say, “when they say it’s not about the money…”?  I didn’t think so.

13 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant

The state of college football, in two tweets

Shot.

Chaser.

Iowa State should be one of the great stories in the sport.  Instead, it’s going to be washed away by the deluge of hot takes about which team should have been in the CFP instead of Notre Dame, and how 2020, the outlier of all college football season outliers, should be the impetus for another round of playoff expansion.

We are watching in real time what makes college football special slip away.  Hell, in many quarters, you’ve got people actively working to make that happen.  And it will, as long as there is more money in that.

48 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

Paper Tigers

I gotta say while Dabo getting his comeuppance was my favorite thing watching last night’s Sugar Bowl…

… my second favorite was pondering the Venn diagram of people complaining that Ohio State shouldn’t be allowed in the CFP because of its shortened schedule with the people insisting that an expanded playoff wouldn’t water down the regular season.

College football is the best.

27 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake

Your (non-Dawg) game day post

We’ve got three after the Peach Bowl:

Screenshot_2021-01-01 FBS (I-A) Conference Schedule - 2020 - NCAAF - ESPN

And here are the current spreads, per ESPN:

Screenshot_2021-01-01 College Football Daily Lines ESPN

And brief thoughts on each:

  • No idea what to make of the Citrus, given the coaching change and all that typically ensues from something like that.  Both teams play better defense than offense, so the four-point spread in the abstract doesn’t bother me.  Northwestern gave Ohio State a decent fight in the championship game, but ran out of gas and had a disastrous time defending the run in the second half.  Cox is Cox Nix is Nix, damn it, but Auburn can run the ball and Tank Bigsby is out for the game.  Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d probably go with the Wildcats.
  • Alabama by 19.5?  And people think expanding the playoffs is going to make for better football?  Sure, man.  Take the Tide and the points.
  • The CFP meteor game ought to be a real hoot.  No matter who wins, I’m going to cringe.  Given I think Ohio State’s defense has shown some weakness defending the pass and Fields has looked just a little bit shaky at times recently, I think Clemson covers.  On the bright side, that ought to be good for at least one more comment from Dabo to chew on.

And you?

17 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas