Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

Wednesday morning buffet

Enjoy today’s offerings:


Filed under Alabama, BCS/Playoffs, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

And there you have it.



Color me more surprised that nobody picked Alabama than Corso picking the Dawgs.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

If no one is there to try to take advantage of it, can it really be a crisis?

Hey, it’s everyone’s favorite bow-tied, in over his head, college president, asking people to respect his authoritah:

Stewart Mandel ($$) points out that Gee’s “probably” is doing a fair amount of heavy lifting there.

Since the day he was introduced as commissioner last spring, Kliavkoff has made it unequivocally clear his conference supports CFP expansion. He voiced support for the 12-team model proposed by a subcommittee of commissioners in June. “We believe allowing more teams and athletes to compete for a national championship is a win for the Pac-12 and for our football players,” he said at the conference media day.

Also, this rare moment of honesty:

That doesn’t exactly sound like a guy who’s ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Um… you don’t suppose Gee is clumsily trying to blackmail some P5 conference into providing his school with a safe harbor in the event the Big 12 implodes, do you?  I mean, that would be wrong.  Unless it was for the kids, of course.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Loose lips sink realignment ships.

Peter Burns points out that the Alliance conferences are being a wee bit disingenuous when they claim they’re bothered about the timing of the CFP expansion negotiations overlapping with the SEC expansion discussion.  As Ross Dellenger pointed out, “… Bowlsby’s notes would tell you that the group had mostly reached consensus on the number of participants in their playoff proposal (12) even before the pandemic arrived, some 15 months ahead of last week’s unveiling.”

Putting that aside, you know what’s really impressive?

They kept it quiet all this time.

“That’s the greatest triumph of this deal without question,” says Swarbrick. “People didn’t even know what was going on. We all swore ourselves to secrecy.”

Greg Sankey managed to work on not one, but two of the biggest deals in college athletics in years without a word getting out about either.  Dude can keep a secret, that’s for sure.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, SEC Football

Sometimes, getting it wrong is useful.

If you think, like I tend to, that the AP Poll is more useful as insight into the media’s thinking than as an accurate gauge of the 25 best teams in the country, Matt Brown ($$) points out that it’s the whiffs that are more illuminating than the hits.  Here are some historical takes worth keeping in mind:

  • The national champion will come from the top six.  Since 2010, an outsider has only won it all once.
  • Alabama probably won’t win the national title. The AP has only seen its number one team win the natty once in the last 16 seasons.
  • Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson and Ohio State won’t all make the Playoff. In fact, two of Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson and Ohio State probably won’t make the Playoff.  Last year — outlier, remember? — was only the second time in the last 23 years that three of the four teams in the preseason AP top four finished the regular season in the top four of the BCS/CFP rankings.  There’s never been a season when the AP went four-for-four.
  • At least one preseason top-10 team will finish unranked.  That’s happened 27 of the last 32 seasons.
  • It’s likely that two preseason unranked teams will finish in the top 10.

The first three are good news for Georgia, methinks.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Stats Geek!

The Jed Clampett Alliance

Sooooo… this dropped last night.

The Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC have had preliminary discussions about forming an alliance, likely built around scheduling but possibly other areas, sources told ESPN.

Commissioners George Kliavkoff (Pac-12), Kevin Warren (Big Ten) and Jim Phillips (ACC) have been in regular communication, and have also had some in-person discussions. Kliavkoff and Warren were together this week for Rose Bowl meetings. Pac-12 sources said all three commissioners met last week in Chicago.

“I’ve been in frequent and regular contact with all of the other A5 commissioners the last few weeks about the four or five complex issues that are facing our industry,” Kliavkoff told ESPN on Friday night. “Anything beyond that is just speculation, and I can’t comment on it.”

Needless to say, social media was en fuego over the news.  Plenty of spicy takes and rampant speculation.  Do I have thoughts?  Of course I do!

The underlying motive — “that bastard Sankey… we’ve got to do something to respond!” — is easy to understand.  It’s the end game that’s murky.

Athletic directors in two of the leagues discussing an alliance told ESPN that nonconference scheduling likely would be the focus, but that there aren’t many details yet. The SEC’s addition of Texas and Oklahoma, plus commissioner Greg Sankey’s involvement in proposing a 12-team expanded College Football Playoff model, has been seen as an attempt to consolidate power.

“There is some alignment in us against them a little bit,” a Power 5 athletic director said.

Yeah, that’s a pretty good summary in three sentences.  Now, on to the bullet points:

  • First of all, the hypocrisy is pretty thick here, at least as it pertains to the SEC’s power grab.  Colorado was poached from the Big 12 by the Pac-12.  Maryland was taken from the ACC by the Big Ten.  Hell, the ACC basically destroyed the Big East when it expanded.  So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not totally moved by the bridge too far attitude on display here.  There isn’t a single one of these three conferences that wouldn’t have welcomed Oklahoma and Texas with open arms, given the opportunity.
  • Second, and this is where the murk starts to seep in, is how this move is seen as some sort of resistance to ESPN’s power, particularly as it relates to the broadcast rights to an expanded CFP.  Skipping past the hilarity of the light bulbs suddenly going off over the heads of the three commissioners after years and years of evidence of Mickey’s power, the way to make that work is to hold the four-team field in place until the current contract expires in 2026.  That’s something the Ohio State-led Big Ten and the Clemson-led ACC can live with, but is the Pac-12 really prepared to remain irrelevant in the postseason for another five years?  That’s quite the sacrifice for the greater good.
  • The scheduling aspect of this had all the usual suspects excited:  a Big Ten-ACC Challenge!  Clemson-Southern Cal, baby!  Eh, the high end matchups are the easy part.  In fact, college football has already shown over the past couple of years that you don’t need an alliance to schedule high profile non-conference games.
  • The tough part of this comes when you have to rearrange many things to get that Georgia Tech-Washington State game that the viewing public so badly craves.  Let’s assume the three conferences agree for each of their teams to play a game against a team in each of the other two.  What existing games are going to be sacrificed?  Does the Pac-12 drop its ninth conference game?  Do the three ACC teams that play state rivalry games against SEC schools ditch those?  How much in buyout fees of guarantee games do these schools pay?
  • The ironic and depressing thing here is that in one breath these three conferences want to resist ESPN’s vision for the sport while in the next reduce their reliance on regionalism in embracing a more national approach for viewership, which is precisely what the network’s approach has been since the four-team CFP has come into being.  It’s as unsurprising as it is shortsighted.
  • Oh, and as if we didn’t already know, the Big 12 is well and truly fucked.  Kliavkoff meeting with Bowlsby while secretly meeting with the other two P5 counterparts is a page out of the same playbook Sankey ran.  If Bowlsby’s schools weren’t already looking for a way off the boat, they’re surely scrambling to find the life rafts now.

Bottom line, I’m not sure why an alliance of sorts is necessary.  If the goal is to thwart ESPN, all you need for that is a voting bloc that is big enough to outvote the SEC in order to control the outcome.  (Though it’s worth considering that there’s nothing about this alliance that’s attractive for Notre Dame or the G5 conferences, both of which have as much to gain from a 12-team CFP as does the Pac-12.)  There’s also nothing about this that’s going to reduce the SEC’s cash flow after it grows to 16.

As far as a scheduling alliance goes, that only works if…

Needless to say, I don’t think Greg Sankey lost any sleep last night.


Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

When Dabo gets it right

He certainly has his share of whiffs, but this ain’t one of them.

… I just think college football has always been different. It’s always been different. And going this route, which is where it’s going to go, so it doesn’t really matter what I think. If it’s fan-driven, money-driven, whatever… I’ve just always thought college football was unique. And the unintended consequences when we went from the BCS to the four-team playoff, nobody was opting out when it was the BCS.

“Those bowl games were important, finishing your season, all those type of things. I think, the more you do this, you become just like the NFL, or even the NBA. Football is not a tournament sport, first of all. This thing isn’t built that way. I think there’s going to be more and more unintended consequences. I wouldn’t be surprised to see kids opting out of the playoffs if you go to 12 [teams in playoffs], to be honest with you.

“My big thing is, now all of the sudden, again, you’re undefeated, you’re in the playoff, and you got this rivalry game at the end… Well, yeah, you want to win the rivalry game, but do you really want to play Trevor Lawrence in that game? And you got the playoff next week, and you know you’re in it? Just like what you see if the NFL. It’s all about the playoffs.

“Just like in basketball… No one watches regular-season basketball. They watch the playoffs. But, if that’s the model we’re going to, I think there’s going to be some changes. Ultimately, I think there’s going to be some type of mega-conference—40, 50 teams, or something like that… 12, 14-team playoff.

“Whatever the rules are, we’ll embrace them and go to work on them. I’m just not a huge fan of it. And some people will get mad and say, “Well, you’ve been in the playoffs.” And, I always say, “If we can get in with four [teams], we can get in with 12.” So, it’s not going to decrease our odds. It makes it more of the same [as basketball, NFL, etc.] than different and unique. And, college football has always been different and unique. That’s just my opinion. I’m in the very small minority when it comes to that.”

I don’t think the minority is as small as he thinks it is.  The real problem is that making college football’s postseason more like other sports isn’t a bug for ESPN.  It’s a feature.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

12, inevitable

One more thing about spiting Greg Sankey and the plan to expand the CFP to twelve:  the mid-majors are going to fight that.

He also praised the College Football Playoff board recommended the playoff expand to 12 teams. With the AAC sending UCF, Memphis and Cincinnati to New Year’s Six bowl games in the past four seasons, Aresco said expansion is “a meritocratic approach” that gives more teams a chance to compete for a national championship.

“It will also energize college football, I believe, as so many more teams will become relevant and I think it’s going to likely lead to higher ratings,” Aresco said. “I’m all for the process moving ahead if, in fact, there is strong support for it.”

Of course he is.  So is Notre Dame.  So is (even if they won’t admit it out loud right now) the Pac-12.  There are too many vested interests that want playoff expansion to prevent it from happening, hurt fee fees or not.

The only question is whether they have the patience to wait until the current contract with Mickey runs out, in order to have the opportunity to bid it out on the open market.  My bet is that’s a 50/50 proposition, at best.  We’ll see.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

TFW you can’t leave your hat on

Hey, remember that innocent question I asked yesterday?

On a more serious note, let’s say these other conferences really intend to sulk badly enough to risk costing themselves prestige and money. Is there any possibility those feelings would carry over to the selection committee’s deliberations?

Maybe it’s not that innocent.

The man in charge of Kansas State’s athletic department is about to serve on one of the most prominent working groups in college football.

Gene Taylor has been chosen to join the College Football Playoff selection committee ahead of the upcoming season, according to a pair of K-State sources.

… Taylor will replace Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte on the selection committee. Del Conte was announced as one of the playoff committee’s five newest members in January, but he is stepping down from his role with the playoff because of the conflicting interests that now exist with Texas departing the Big 12 for the SEC along with Oklahoma, according to sources.

The Big 12 will turn to Taylor as its representative on the committee.

I hope these people aren’t going to make me long for the days of the Coaches Poll being part of the BCS.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

They got nothin’.

As a follow up to the previous post, check out two quotes from Washington State’s President Kirk Schulz.

“What the SEC has done is unify the other conferences in a way that nothing else could have, in terms of working together,” Schulz told the Hotline.

“A lot of people now are very concerned about the predatory nature of the SEC. More presidents are talking. There’s a lot of back and forth.”

Unified!  Predatory!  Heavy shit, but what exactly does it call for?

“After the Texas and Oklahoma news, there was some pushback and some thought that maybe we don’t need to expand. But the CFP still needs to expand to create more opportunities for more teams. There is more opportunity for Pac-12 schools with expansion with 12 teams than with four. Does it need tweaking? Perhaps. But I think there’s broad consensus that we need to move forward.

“I haven’t heard anyone in the Pac-12 footprint who thinks we shouldn’t expand. Look at small-market schools like Washington State and that year we had with Gardner Minshew. What’s our best shot to take advantage of a magical year like that? It’s an expanded playoff.”

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

In passing, here’s one last point:

Of course they do.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football