Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

TFW you realize your room deposit is non-refundable

Screenshot_2020-08-06 Brett McMurphy on Twitter College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said the selection[...]

In these traumatic times, it’s good to know we can always count on Bill Hancock for just the right touch of absurdity.

Don’t forget to leave your hats at the door, fellas.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, General Idiocy

Tuesday morning buffet

Culinary treats from around the world of college football…

  • Yikes.  Not a good look, Iowa.
  • The University of Texas says it anticipates hosting football games this season at 50% capacity in the stands.  I’ll believe it when I see it.
  • On the flip side, Rutgers will limit crowd size at football games to 500.
  • Moar QB competition.
  • Here’s your regular reminder that interviewing Bill Hancock about anything is a waste of time.
  • Here’s Fiutak’s preseason SEC rankings, and, yes, he’s got Georgia ahead of Florida.
  • California has moved its high school football season to the end of the year.  In response, a top defensive player announced he will be skipping his senior season to enroll early at Texas A&M in January.  I bet he won’t be the only one who chooses to do that.

34 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are., The Body Is A Temple

“This is why the committee has 13 football experts…”

I am sure it is tempting to view the Big Ten’s decision to jettison non-conference play as some sort of apocalyptic decision that will lead to the end of college football as we currently know it, but Occam’s razor suggests that it’s more of a short-term move to get through a troubling year with as much of a season on the brink left intact as the suits can manage.

And let’s not forget it might not work.

Anyway, the most revealing comment from yesterday was this:

The Big Ten has yet to decide how many conference games it will play this season, or how it might determine its champion if the season is disrupted, but Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Thursday that he had hoped for a 10-game schedule. The conference is expected to announce more details next week, Smith said.

When asked Thursday if there was an effort to get every conference to agree to play the same amount of games to help the CFP system, Smith, a former selection committee member, said, “That’s no longer a concern of mine.”

Maintaining the trappings to make a playoff that generates a whopping amount of revenue sound legitimate is no longer a concern for Gene Smith?  Yeah, I’d say that constitutes what survival mode sounds like.  They’ll take what they can get now and worry about the consequences later.  Bill Hancock already sounds like a guy who’s been given his new marching orders.

“Clearly there will be challenges this year,” Hancock said. “We’ll see what the challenges look like and work through them. Whatever the season looks like, the committee will select the best four teams using the protocol. Our committee’s fundamental mission has not changed.”

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“Mavericks and bus drivers”

No, the header isn’t about Gus Malzahn.  It’s about this premise:

… but when Barton Simmons, Tom Fornelli and I are breaking down quarterbacks for the best teams in college football, you’ll often hear the terms “maverick” and “bus driver” as a sorting tool.

Bus drivers get you to where you need to go on time. They are capable of leading a team to title contention and even winning a national championship … with the right pieces around them. But when judged individually, as players are in the NFL Draft process, they are not rated against their peers the way their teams were in college.

Mavericks, on the other hand, are elite. When they are judged against their peers, they are proven to be among the most talented quarterbacks in the entire country. To put an oversimplified line in the sand for this discussion: mavericks are first or second round NFL Draft talents while bus drivers often are Day 3 picks or go undrafted…

But two things have changed in the College Football Playoff era. First is the emphasis on elite quarterback play, which is a continuation of a trend that began before 2014 and extends to all levels of the sport. From hurry-up offenses to the read-pass option, the fate of a team is put in the hands of the quarterback more than ever…

Of the 19 quarterbacks that have started in a College Football Playoff game, 10 of them have been first- or second-round talents. Those 10 quarterbacks have combined for 13 playoff wins and four of the six national championships, including every title since 2016. The other nine quarterbacks have combined for just five playoff wins, four of them coming from Ohio State and Alabama in championship runs. Without Cardale Jones’ two wins in 2014 and Jacob Coker’s two in 2015, the playoff record of quarterbacks outside of that first two-round NFL Draft group is 1-7. So if you’re not Alabama or Ohio State, the odds of winning the national championship should you make the College Football Playoff are long if you don’t a maverick at quarterback.

Jake Fromm has that one win.  He should have had two, but I digress.

Anyway, where the piece goes from there is to note that Joe Burrow raised himself from bus driver to maverick in one season and then proceeds to look at who stands where in 2020.

The good news, if you’re a Georgia fan, is…

Teams with a maverick

  • Clemson (11/5): Trevor Lawrence
  • Ohio State (4-1): Justin Fields
  • Georgia (7-1): Jamie Newman
  • Texas (35-1): Sam Ehlinger
  • USC (60-1): Kedon Slovis

There’s no real need to elaborate on Lawrence and Fields. They’ve each proven their elite status on the field and both begin the year at the center of the national championship discussion. CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Ryan Wilson projects Newman joining Lawrence and Fields as a top-10 pick in 2021, noting that the move to Georgia has the former Wake Forest quarterback on “everyone’s first-round radar.”

The amusing news, if you’re a Georgia fan, is…

Trask had a great season in 2019 and there’s no question the Gators are entering the fall in a position to displace Georgia from atop the SEC East and therefore are on the short list for national championship contention. At the moment, however, he’s rates closer to a bus driver than a maverick and needs to take a step in his second season as starter to reach the level seen by the most successful quarterbacks of the playoff era.

Assuming he beats out Jones for the starting spot this season, that is.

32 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

Tier 1.5

Sports247 takes a different approach to preseason team rankings here, by ordering programs in terms of their likelihood of making and winning the CFP.

Who is going to win the national championship? It’s the discussion at the forefront of every preseason college football conversation, at least at the macro level. Part of the beauty of the sport is micro-level races are wide open every year – the ACC Coastal, for example. But when you’re talking about the biggest prize of them all, a national title, only a handful of teams realistically fit into that conversation.

Even among those contenders there is a stark departure from likely College Football Playoff teams and those fringe programs hoping to crash the conversation.

Today, we’re going to sort the 2020 national title contenders by tiers. All 15 teams included in 2020 Blue-Chip Ratio made the cutoff as did several potential spoilers. Remember, every champion in the internet era hit that blue-chip ratio threshold – a roster made up of at least 50 percent four and five-star recruits – so those 15 programs are the most likely teams to emerge as a champion.

The top tier is inhabited by the usual suspects:  Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State.  Nipping at their heels in a tier of its own is Georgia.

Georgia is a weird team to place. The Bulldogs’ talent stacks up player-to-player with Alabama and Ohio State. Its history, three straight seasons with at least 11 wins, does too. But there are a few big-picture reservations with Georgia that the programs above it lack.

The first is experience. Elite rosters will always turn over. But Georgia is introducing a new quarterback (grad transfer Jamie Newman), a new-look offensive line (the team’s top three tackles all departed) and is dealing with an inexperienced wide receiver group. The second reservation, continuity, works hand-and-hand with the former note. Bringing in Todd Monken as offensive coordinator is a boon in the long run. But given that this offseason is constricted, Georgia needs to get a lot of pieces moving in the same direction quickly to have a shot at contention. That’s easier said than done with a trip to Alabama scheduled for Week 3. The third issue is a defense that’s struggled to generate pressure. Georgia’s defense is elite in almost every way. Fact remains, however, that every national champion of the last decade ranked at least 29th nationally in tackles for loss. Georgia’s average finish in that category is 78th the last two seasons. Kirby Smart has long stressed tackles for loss as a key measure of defensive success. The defense must create additional havoc, especially when you consider the unit finished just 84th nationally in turnovers created.

Pointing out these deficiencies isn’t meant to dismiss Georgia as a contender. Far from it. There’s a reason the Bulldogs sit fourth on this list of possible playoff teams. Instead, it’s meant to illustrate there is a slight but critical gap between Georgia and the teams above it on this list.

That’s not unfair.  Quarterback is a legitimate separator from Clemson and Ohio State and the Dawgs have to travel to Tuscaloosa.  (That being said, with regard to tackles for loss, Georgia finished 60th last season, averaging 5.43 per game, while ‘Bama finished… wait for it… 55th.)

By the way, Florida is down in Tier 3.  But you knew that.

There’s an argument for Florida to fit in a lower tier, but this team feels like it’s about to break through. Back-to-back 10-win seasons have given Dan Mullen momentum early in his tenure, and a roster with plenty of returning production puts the Gators in contention to challenge Georgia in the SEC East. That matchup is the key. Mullen mocked Georgia last offseason, and Georgia came out and hit the Gators in the mouth. There is no advancement for Florida without a win in that game. The schedule sets up well for Florida. LSU and Georgia seem as vulnerable as they’ll be for half a decade, and nobody outside of those two can put a legitimate scare into the Gators from a talent perspective. What needs to improve for Florida? An offensive line that was efficient but far from elite. Quarterback Kyle Trask could also use somebody to throw to outside of tight end Kyle Pitts.

“Mullen mocked Georgia last offseason, and Georgia came out and hit the Gators in the mouth.”  Let’s hope 2020 can say, “hold my beer”.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

Eight is great.

Here’s a good thought exercise for you guys.  Check out what an eight-team college football playoff field, based on a combination of automatic bids and at large offers, would have looked like over the past four seasons…

… and tell me what’s improved by expansion.  ‘Cause I’m not seeing it.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

I’ll take “Whatever Mickey Says It Is” for $200, Alex.

Legitimacy questions?  What legitimacy questions?

When asked what constituted a legitimate playoff, CFP executive director Bill Hancock said, “Nobody has asked me that yet.”

But he didn’t say whether he’d asked that.  Or the people who pay him.  I’d be shocked if they haven’t already broached the subject with ESPN, though.  Not in the Casablanca sense, either.

If Disney strokes the check, there will be a college football playoff.  The money would sure be legitimate.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

So much for regional appeal

Mark Emmert’s reluctance to mandate a common start date to the college football season aside, there’s a likelihood the commissioners want that, anyway.

Why?  Three words:  College.  Football.  Playoff.  Sankey and his peers aren’t walking away from that sweet postseason payoff.

The more interesting question is going to be what happens if not all teams within a conference are able to start at the same time.  My guess is they’ll accept what it takes to fashion a credible CFP, whatever that is, but in any event, it’s another indication that college football’s focus has changed, for better or worse.

4 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

Fourteen SEC coaches can’t be wrong.

Why we can’t have nice (i.e., a nine-game conference schedule) things, in one tweet.

As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, SEC Football

What kind of college football season are we in for?

Let me start by throwing a few quotes at you:

  • “Here’s a consensus going around for the major conferences if things progress at a predictable curve,” Patrick said on Monday, per a source. “We’re going to have 10 games with a later start. Nine conference games and regional conference games take precedence. You won’t have any FCS games (against Power 5 teams) with players returning mid-June or early-July … The conference that is struggling is the Pac-12. California is a concern … Money will be a concern (for all of college football) and attendance will be limited.”
  • Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott ($$) oversees a conference spanning six states, four of which remain shut down.

    “There’s a spirit of cooperation when it comes to college football in particular, a strong bias toward making sure we do this together,” Scott said. “We’re all members of the College Football Playoff, and if we’re going to have a Playoff at the end of the season, we need to have uniformity on how we have a season.”

  • “Having said that, I think we all recognize there’s a significant chance that [a common start to the college football season] may not be possible,” Swarbrick said, “that either because states or individual colleges and universities take different approaches, you can’t produce a season where all members are participating in Division I football in the same way.”

States are proceeding differently, which means conferences will be forced to proceed differently.  Money will be a concern.  (Duh.)  Not being able to start the season uniformly will have an impact on the CFP.

How do conference commissioners resolve those conflicting issues?  I have no idea and at the moment, I doubt they do, either.

Oh, yeah, toss in one more thing:

If the decision is made to shorten the season because of the coronavirus pandemic, Notre Dame would lose 10 of its 12 scheduled opponents for this season because of its independent status for football.

And that’s before you even get to whether they’ll play in front of fans or not… more likely the latter, at least to start.

“Decisions about fans (attending) is really going to be made by public health officials,” Scott said. “Decisions whether to play or not play are going to be made by universities, conferences and the NCAA. Those are two very different types of decisions.”

You get one guess as to why they’re different.  And, no, I do not digress.  Especially when you read a quote like this:

“The virus is going to be around for a while, so we’re going to have to learn how to live with it, and that’s especially true for athletics,” Bowlsby said. “We’re going to have to learn coping mechanisms. It’s not that it’s patently unsafe, it’s, are you confident you have the testing and best practices in place to ensure a virus-free environment? There’s always going to be some risk.”

How cool is that?  I spend a chunk of change to buy football tickets, and I get a health risk thrown in at no additional charge!  Thanks, Bob.

They’re going to play a regular season, in other words.  They can’t afford not to.  The big issue they’ve got to work out is how to salvage the postseason, because they can’t afford not to have a playoff, either.  We’re about to find out if these guys are really as smart as they think they are.

33 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Just Bidness