Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

BREAKING: Mike Bianchi declares a national championship.

Really, I don’t know why anyone is even bothering with a game tomorrow night.



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

Getting to the game PSA

At the risk of setting off another moronic political stampede, for those of you driving to the game Monday night, here’s the APD’s current list of street and lane closures around MBS.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“We’re aware of his visit”

The POTUS, the Secret Service, Atlanta police and a national championship crowd from Alabama and Georgia… gee, what could possibly go wrong?

I’m starting to think I need to take Monday off.  It may take all day to work my way through the shitstorm to get inside and watch the game.


UPDATE:  The White House can neither confirm or deny.

CFP executive director Bill Hancock has spoken with White House officials, but the White House has not confirmed that President Donald Trump will be in attendance at the national championship. “We have met with an advance team consisting of folks from the White House, Secret Service and FBI who were analyzing the logistics for a possible visit by the president of the United States,” Hancock said. “As far as any details of a visit, those will have to come from the White House. They asked us not to talk about details, which of course you never talk about details of security. But there are ways. We have not received official word from the White House that he is coming, but we have met with a logistics team, so they’re clearly making plans.” Hancock said stadium gates will open at 5:30 ET and Atlanta police have encouraged fans to get downtown early.

By all means, let’s make this a down to the wire decision.


UPDATE #2:  Jeebus.

“Please please execute the highest regard and greatest level of common sense. We CANNOT have folks continuing to bring guns and leaving them in their cars,” Chief Erika Shields said at a multi-agency news conference Thursday on preparations.

Maybe somebody needs to think about printing “I Survived The 2018 CFP Championship Game” t-shirts.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

The real playoff expansion question isn’t choosing between best and deserving teams.

If you still harbor illusions that it’s fans’ perceptions or those of pundits that will drive the four versus eight conversation going forward, you don’t understand what lies at the heart of postseason expansion.  Let former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson ‘splains it to you, Loocee:

The College Football Playoff will eventually expand to eight teams within the length of the current contract and be worth at least $10 billion, former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson predicted in a conversation with CBS Sports this week.

Pilson was reacting, in part, to the regionalized nature of Monday’s CFP National Championship between No. 2 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama.

“I think, from a television point of view, any sports executive would tell you he would prefer a team from the different part of the country,” said Pilson, now a longtime sports media consultant.

“The best would be a Big Ten team in terms of the size of market.”

ESPN’s best trumps our best seven days a week and twice on New Year’s Day.

For the first time in the CFP’s brief four-year history, a Big Ten team did not make the field. The Big Ten “footprint” — its dominant area of interest in the Midwest and Northeast — includes a quarter of the U.S population.

Also for the first time, two teams from one conference (SEC) are in the playoff. While that’s a bonanza for the schools, the SEC, the South and the site of the game (Atlanta), one TV consultant said this could be the lowest-rated game in CFP history.

“There will be some people who probably won’t watch it because it’s all-SEC,” said the consultant, who didn’t want to be identified. “It has the potential [to be the lowest rated].”

Low ratings could be one of the stressors that leads the CFP to expand, Pilson said.

Yeah, high blood pressure can be a bitch, Mickey.  You wouldn’t want to be stressed.

So don’t waste your breath arguing about the aesthetics of the ideal or fairest playoff pool.  It doesn’t matter.  In the end, we’ll get what they pay for and be told to like it.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

Second random thought waiting for a plane in San Diego

So, with all the talk about how UCF’s win over a disinterested Auburn team — sincere congrats on a remarkable season, by the way — validates the argument that they got screwed by the selection committee and deserved to be placed in the playoffs, I’ve got a couple of questions.

First, was the selection committee supposed to know in advance how the Peach Bowl would play out?

Second, if beating Auburn is the benchmark for getting your ticket to the CFP punched — the Knights didn’t lose to Auburn, unlike Alabama and Georgia, doncha know — where does the inconvenient fact that the Dawgs beat Auburn far more convincingly in the SECCG fit into that narrative?

It’s not that I have anything against UCF. It’s that I’m already hearing this bullshit being raised as grounds for playoff expansion. Just stop.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Vegas, Alabama and the CFP

I mentioned the other week that maybe college football ought to outsource the selection committee’s work to Vegas books.  Note that the team that just squeaked in to the CFP field is favored to win the whole shootin’ match.  Also note the betting distribution for the Sugar Bowl:

“Alabama got some money from a group who moves numbers,” Westgate Superbook assistant manager Ed Salmons said. “The public likes Clemson.”

At MGM sportsbooks, eight times as much money has been bet on the Crimson Tide as has been bet on Clemson in the first week since the matchup was set. The number of bets on the Sugar Bowl, however, was equally divided among the two teams, MGM vice president of race sports Jay Rood said.

Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology also reported taking early “sharp” action on Alabama. CG Technology vice president of risk Jason Simbal said Sunday that he had taken more bets on Clemson, but there was three times as much money on Alabama.

“The most action, by far, on any bowl game is on Alabama-Clemson,” Simbal said. “That could end up being the most-bet game of the year. It might end being more heavily bet than the championship game.”

There’s a “what do they know that I don’t” aspect to this that reminds of the betting patterns in the week leading up to the SECCG.  And we know how that game went.


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

“Every week has been a playoff mentality for us, because if you lose you’re probably out.”

It appears that Kirby Smart and I are on the same page about playoff expansion and its effect on the regular season.

“You do devalue that as you increase the number of teams in the playoff,” Smart said. “You do value the end of the season. You think about the last, probably, three weeks of the season, last two weeks of the season, the amount of attention and the amount of big games. (The committee) probably got it more right this year than ever with a lot of the championship games as de facto play-in games. I think that’s the right way to go about it.”

And Dabo Swinney.

“If you know you’re in the playoffs, certain games become very irrelevant,” Swinney said. “All of a sudden, you don’t play certain players because you know you’re in and you don’t want to get a guy hurt. There are a lot of unintended consequences that would creep in, just like you see in all the other sports. I love the NBA, but I don’t ever watch it until the playoffs, because it just doesn’t matter. In our sport, it still matters. I mean, it matters. It matters what you do in September, October and November.”

And Nick Saban.

“We sort of started the two-team deal. Now it’s a four-team deal. Now all the focus and emphasis is on the playoffs,” Saban said.

There’s a certain contrast between the coaches whose teams are in this year’s playoff field and at least one whose team isn’t that has to be mentioned.


Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh came to the Wolverines after a four-year stint with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, and he’s all for an expanded field.

“I would just analyze it in terms of every other sport, whether it’s gymnastics, basketball, pro football, FCS football — pick a sport and they have a playoff to get to a champion,” Harbaugh said this past week in a news conference for the Outback Bowl. “None of them start with the last four. You have a great model with the NFL, with their 12 teams, and a great model in the FCS, which had 16 teams and now has 24.

“Eight teams would be better than four and 12 would be better than eight. I think 16 is kind of the sweet spot.”

Counter point:

Riley pointed out that if the playoff field expanded, there would still be folks upset over a certain team being left out.

“There’s never going to be a magic number,” Riley said. “If we have eight (teams), nine and 10 are going to be upset. If we have 16 (teams), 17 and 18 are going to be upset.”

Said Saban: “I don’t care if we have 68 teams in it, we’ll still have a two-hour show on who shouldn’t have got in it just like they do in basketball.”

Self-preservation is part of basic human nature.  If you’re a coach who’s concerned with job security, Jim Boeheim’s long-standing position that the more the playoffs expand, the better for coaches’ resumes and survival, regardless of what that means for the nature of the game itself, will always carry the day.  Add to that the egos of conference commissioners and school presidents upset that their teams aren’t playing for all the marbles and the resulting momentum to make the playoffs bigger and better will not be checked in the short and medium terms.

The genie is out of the bottle and the cork won’t be going back in until it’s too late.  They’ll excuse themselves by telling us they did it for the fans, though.  No doubt I’ll find that incredibly comforting as I’m filling out my CFP brackets.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs