Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

If four is good and eight is great, what would sixteen be?

Well, gosh darn it, who among us could have seen this coming?

C’mon, man, what about pride?  You gotta give the Gus Bus some kind of fuel to run on.

Actually this was coming a week ago, as everywhere you turned in the media — including Finebaum’s employer, by the way — you heard the Georgia-Auburn game described not as the next installment of the South’s Oldest Rivalry, but as Auburn’s next stepping stone in its march towards making the CFP.  That narrative worked out well.  Who needs regional rivalries when you’ve got a selection committee bringing the excitement?

The bigger picture isn’t any more attractive.  Just ask Stewart Mandel.

I’ve long believed, and still do, that an eight-team playoff would severely harm the regular season. But four teams was such a relatively modest change I figured it would have only a minimal negative effect, if any. And the first two years bore that out. If anything, it made those regular seasons more compelling.

But the muted impact of last weekend’s upsets was definitely vindication for the old BCS proponents/playoff opponents. I’ve found myself thinking back this week to Nov. 17, 2012, when No. 1 Kansas State (against Baylor) and No. 2 Oregon (against Stanford) both lost on the same night, turning the BCS title race on its head. No. 3 Notre Dame went from possible championship game snub to lone remaining undefeated team. K-State and Oregon were essentially done.

Compare that level of upheaval to the much quieter aftermath of Nov. 12, 2016, when No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Washington all lost, and only the Huskies suffered even mild consequences.

But this is the trade-off we accepted by expanding the field to four. Were this the BCS, the No. 5 and 6 teams from last week, Ohio State and Louisville, would move up to Nos. 2 and 3, no questions asked. And if Alabama and Ohio State won out, they would meet in the BCS championship game, albeit with no shortage of hand wringing if the Buckeyes don’t win their division.

But also under that scenario, the only remaining games with national title implications would be the Iron Bowl, the SEC title game and Michigan-Ohio State. As it is, we’ll also be paying close attention to any games involving Clemson, Washington, Louisville, Wisconsin and Penn State, including likely all four conference title games.

If anything, the field widened, not narrowed last weekend.

And we all know there’s only one way to fix a widened field.  Brackets, baby!

Make college football great again.

I, for one, welcome our new Cinderella stories overlords.

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Every time Bill Hancock speaks…

… an angel cringes.

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Rest easy.

Before you dismiss this suggestion entirely out of hand (rivalry game!), remember that Nick Saban’s coached in the NFL before.

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Finally, the regular season starts being meaningful.

Ranking day.  I think I’ll go back to bed, thanks.

Wake me when it’s over, ESPN.  As in December.

12 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

“… but I don’t see anyone beating Alabama in the regular season.”

I have no idea if Finebaum’s right about that, but check out Sagarin’s ratings today.  There are four SEC West teams in his top ten, but the gap between #1 Alabama and #7 Auburn is wider than the gap between Auburn and #32 TCU.

‘Bama has already beaten four top 30 teams.  If the Tide rolls Auburn and LSU, that would make six. (Throw in the SECCG, and that’ll likely make seven.)  No other D-1 school has more than two such wins.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty convincing case for the best team in the country to me.

Purely as an intellectual exercise, what would be the point of putting Alabama through an eight-team playoff?  Besides giving college football the opportunity to make more money and some folks a chance to scratch their Cinderella itch, that is…

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When you’ve got that hammer, everything looks like a nail.

At some point in time I fully expect Dan Wetzel to opine that an expanded college football playoff is the key to curing cancer.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

No hard feelings, Bobby.

Everything that’s bullshit about the playoff selection committee, in one anecdote:

With No. 3 Louisville (3-0) moving up the rankings after its 63-20 win against Florida State last week, that makes it possible Long could sit in on committee discussions about including the Cardinals — led by former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino — in the Playoff.

They are discussions Long said on Wednesday before a meeting of the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club that he won’t recuse himself from, despite the fact he fired Petrino in 2012. The coach wrecked his motorcycle, leading to revelations of a mistress who worked in the athletic department.

“No, there’s no reason for me to recuse myself,” Long said. “I think Louisville is a fine football program, and they demonstrated that after three weeks of the season. We’ve got six more weeks before we rank a group of teams.”

Members of the committee recuse themselves from the selection process when their own schools or conflicts of interest arise.

When asked if he was concerned about the perception of a lack of objectivity concerning Petrino, Long simply said, “No.”

Now, on one level, an accusation of partiality here is silly.  Long had no choice but to cut ties with Petrino after his misbehavior came to light.

But ask yourself this:  if Louisville narrowly misses a shot at the semi-finals, in part because Jeff Long decides it’s not one of the four best teams in the country, you don’t think there’s going to be plenty of yelling and finger pointing about his motives?  It may not be fair, but it’ll certainly be fodder for every talking head bringing up references to Caesar’s wife in December.

You may not have liked the BCS computers, but at least nobody could accuse them of getting emotional about anything.

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