Thursday, May 31, 2012

What is all this playoff nonsense really about?

With all the frenetic conference expansion and new playoff talk, college football is morphing into a new animal for the future.  All of us who enjoy the sport hope that whatever happens is actually an improvement, because there really wasn’t all that much wrong with the sport the way it was. 

A good example is this rabid insistence that we HAD TO HAVE a playoff to determine an “undisputed” national champion.  That line of thinking is what forced the scrapping of the old system that had a lot of really cool and unique features.  Predictably, here we are years later and we still have a system where a team can go unbeaten in division 1 and not have any opportunity to compete for the national title. 

Defenders of the change insist with red-faced vigor that it’s “still better” than what we used to have.  I just don’t see that, especially when the main purpose of the move hasn’t been accomplished and teams still can get frozen out of a chance to play for a title. 

Let’s say this fall that Baylor, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, Florida State and Southern Cal all go undefeated.  (I haven’t looked at all the schedules to account for random games scheduled if there are any.  If you don’t like these examples, then use your own in your minds for the purposes of the argument).  All the conference championships are done and there are six teams left standing and unbeaten.  No 4-team system nor the “Plus-1” works at that point.  This doesn’t even include non-BCS conference unbeatens.  And again, it does not matter if it is “likely” to happen.  It only matters if it CAN happen.  It even gets worse and more mucked up if you look at a scenario with no unbeatens at all. 

The “ESPN-ification” of College Football has happened and I understand that.  The blood money has been swallowed, and that greedy thirst for dollars will never be quenched.  Why not just take one or two more logical steps forward and the process can then come full circle?  If not, don’t whine to me about the SEC’s dominance.  My conference is the primary benefactor of the changes and will continue to be for the near future.  And perhaps no individual program has improved more over the last decade than my Gamecocks.  Heck, USC is awash with cash now and our facilities are finally getting up to par. 

I am just saying this:  if you’re going to get rid of what made college football different and special for the sake of an “NFL, Jr.” corporate playoff system…GET THERE FASTER!!  Stop trying to be a little bit pregnant.  This all ends with an 8 or 16 team playoff.  If not, then thanks a lot for destroying something that was a true original basically for nothing. 

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