Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

Can’t get enough of those data points.

When I blather about how playoff expansion dilutes the importance of the regular season at college football’s peril, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

If there’s a downside, however, it’s the perception that all the focus in college football is now on the Playoff. It has added pressure to coaches and athletics directors, and it has diminished games like the Rose Bowl when it’s not hosting the semifinals, not to mention the dozens of minor bowls that don’t involve playoff teams.

“That’s tough for a lot of people, and the pressure aspect isn’t going to slow down,” Livengood said. “It’s trite to say this, but if you’re not one of the four that doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good year. But a lot of things now seem to be measured on, are you one of the four in the playoff? And that’s kind of sad, but from a media standpoint you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. That’s done.”

The use of the word “if” in the first line should tell you that Wolken is an unabashed fan of the CFP, and more power to him for that.  But even as he spends much of his time in the article making the case for the current format, he leaves you with awkward explanations like this:

Now we talk about committees more than polls. Games aren’t just games, they’re “data points.” While the regular season has strengthened, rank-and-file bowl games have been weakened. Strength of schedule is a fact of life. The separation between Power Five and everyone else has become codified in both revenue and in the NCAA’s “autonomy” rules, largely based on the CFP’s existence. And conferences — at least in the Big 12’s case — have gone through existential crises born out of its failure to make the playoff in two out of three years.

Be still, my heart.  Just think what somebody will be able to write ten years from now when the discussion has moved on to eight versus sixteen in the playoffs.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“Why monkey with a good thing?”

I’d like to believe you, Bill Hancock, so why do I feel like…

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Nick Saban, “so far out”

Nick Saban’s over a nine-game conference schedule now.

He wants ten games.  And more.

“We should play all teams in the Power 5 conferences,” Saban said Wednesday. “If we did that, then if we were going to have bowl games, we should do the bowl games just like we do in the NCAA basketball tournament — not by record but by some kind of power rating that gets you in a bowl game. If we did that, people would be a little less interested in maybe bowl games and more interested in expanding the playoff.”

“You eliminate the six wins to get in a bowl game and now you can have a different kind of scheduling that is more fan interest, more good games, bring out the better quality team,” he said, “and whether you expand the playoff or have a system where it’s like now — we take the top 12 teams and decide what bowl game they go to — just take them all.

“In this scenario, there would be more opportunity to play more teams in your league, as well as to have more games that people would be interested in. We all play three or four games a year now that nobody’s really interested in. We’d have more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV.”

Saban suggested a 10-game SEC schedule, for example, plus two Power 5 nonconference opponents during the regular season.

Other than why this would need to lead to playoff expansion, I’m in love.  How can you argue with any of “more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV”?  That’s why I question his embrace of the basketball tournament format.  An expanded tourney waters down the regular season; there may be more good regular season college basketball games by his standard, but March Madness dilutes them of much meaning and, thus, public interest.

But combine the rest of what he’s talking about with the current four-school football playoff?  Jeez, talk about heaven on earth…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Nick Saban Rules

The difference between a “mix” and a spot

We finally learn there’s a bridge too far even for Bill Hancock’s shilling.

The playoff director is at Mountain West media days and during his open media session he discussed the playoff, and that includes him saying that “absolutely” a team from the Group of Five has a chance to make the playoff.

Hancock also went on to say that an unbeaten Mountain West champion would be in the mix for a spot in playoff. The key word there is “mix,” because it will take a special season for any team from a non-power conference to have a chance to make the playoff, and that special season would have to be accompanied by a bit of chaos at the top.

Bless his heart.  I doubt even the Mountain West commissioner bought that.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant

My favorite year

Without a doubt, in my lifetime as a college football fan (as opposed to a Georgia football fan), there’s no season I have enjoyed more than the 2007 one.  It was absolutely and unpredictably nuts from start to finish, with plenty of stops along the way.

So, it is with great pleasure that I share with you SBNation’s tribute to that season.  Check out the following pieces in particular:

The end result:  the only national champion to lose two regular season games in multiple overtimes.

Crazy as hell.  But great.  I doubt we’ll see another season like it again.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, The Evil Genius, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

The dream never dies.

Air Force’s football coach Troy Calhoun really wants to bring Cinderella to the college football playoff prom.

It was the sports fan – and Air Force/Group of Five advocate – in Calhoun who pitched his latest idea for the College Football Playoff.

Calhoun would take the field to eight and break it down like this:

1. ACC champ

2. Big Ten champ

3. Big 12 champ

4. Pac-12 champ

5. SEC champ

6. Wild card

7. Wild card

8. Group of Five playoff winner

That Group of Five playoff would consist of four entrants. He didn’t specify how those four would be determined. Maybe it would be the top-rated champions among the Group of Five. Maybe the top rated regardless of conference.

Point is, as a fan, he wants this process to be open to all involved, and he routinely cites Cinderella stories from other college sports as an example.

“I think it would, really, bring a wholeness that would be splendid for the spirit of college football,” Calhoun said.

That’s an eleven-team playoff, when you get down to it.  Why wouldn’t a sixteen-team playoff be even more whole?

The problems with this proposal are pretty apparent.

The most obvious issue is the sheer number of games involved. At a minimum, the team that wins the Group of Five playoff and moves onto the College Football Playoff would have to play three extra games — two G5 playoff games and then a CFP quarterfinal — which is more than what current CFP finalists have to play. At a maximum, that team would play five extra postseason games. Tack that onto a 13-game season and, theoretically, a Group of Five team could play 18 games. That’s more than most NFL teams. We can’t keep asking college football players to play more and more games without paying them a salary.

Secondly, it’s uncertain what type of market demand, if any, there is for more Group of Five teams in a playoff of any kind. For example, the idea of a second playoff involving Group of Five teams has enough legs that it won’t completely die. But in the quest for that next media rights pot of gold on the other end of the rainbow, it’s unknown just how full that pot really is. In February, Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier told CBS Sports “the concept he first floated in an ESPN interview may be worth at least $160 million per year to a TV rights-holder.

I suspect that second point is really what’s driving this.  The mid majors see the P5 conferences making all that sweet playoff bank and want their own taste of it.  As a standalone concept, that $160 million is likely to be little more than a pipe dream, but as part and parcel of an expanded CFP, it might have more legs.  Which ought to be a huge comfort to those kids asked to play in their eighteenth game of the season.

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”Traditions are an important part of college football.”

Which explains why the College Football Playoff is planning to import the rich tradition of the Super Bowl-style halftime show to the national championship game.  Why, you may ask?

Reader, please.

Hancock said ESPN approached CFP officials with the idea of a concert in Centennial Olympic Park at halftime as part of the national championship game broadcast and live watch party. Fans without tickets to the game will be able to watch the game and attend the concert in Centennial Park for free.

”This will be a win-win, enhancing the viewing experience for a broad section of fans at home and in the park, while maintaining the culture of the game inside the stadium,” Hancock said.

I really hate these people.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil, The NFL Is Your Friend.