Friday, December 2, 2016

College Football: The CFP is designed to take the money and run.....unless.

There's starting to be a growing amount of writing suggesting that an expansion of the College Football Playoff, from 4 to 8 teams, is the 'fairest' way to go. The thought behind this being that with 5 power conferences and only 4 open slots there are always going to be deserving teams that, to be blunt, get the shaft.

While I agree with the expansion calls, I think that they don't go far enough.  If you want to make the playoff truly fair then you expand to a point that every conference champion gets in. Yes, I'm including Group of 5 conferences in this scenario. To get to that you would need to expand to (at least) 12 teams. Giving the Top 4 seeds byes and allowing the remaining 8 to play each other in week one.

This would leave you with 8 teams and off we go.

"THIS CANNOT HAPPEN!!!" those who run the bowls would say.  "What about academics?!?!" "What about the Holidays?!?!"

Of course, none of the people hollering those questions worry about it too much in terms of basketball, or soccer, or volleyball.

In fact, the only reason to not expand  the College Football Playoff is to continue to prop up an antiquated bowl system that's pilfering the athletic budgets of participating schools for profit.

It's time to sweep away the vestiges of the past, retire the old codgers wearing garish blazers and put the crumbling bowl system out of its misery.

Win your conference, or make the playoff as an at-large team or your season's done, period. Then you don't have to worry about 5-7 teams making it into bowls or whether or not Texas would accept a bid. Then you don't have to moan and complain that a 5-7 team is playing a 6-6 team in the Havana Cigar Bowl.

All you have to worry about is the 12 teams that qualified to make it into the post-season.

Purists will say that this "cheapens the regular season" which is bunk. Conference titles still matter, as do overall win/loss records, especially when it comes to out of conference scheduling for at-large teams. In other words, teams that schedule hard, and have so-called "good" losses on their records and come in second in their conference would be rewarded over Baylor who plays schools barely able to field a good roster. (This is assuming Baylor football isn't barred from ever participating, which they should be, to remove temptation.)

Despite all of this I'm here to predict that nothing is going to change, at least not until the current CFP deal runs it's course in 2024, and maybe not even then. The reason is simple.

In order to drive change in college football you have to have a scenario where a helmet school is on the blunt end of a CFP snub.  Ohio State this year would be a prime example. Were the Buckeyes to be left out of the playoff in favor of a Penn State, or Wisconsin, B1G Champion then you might see some upheaval. If Alabama lost to Florida (snicker) in the SEC Championship and got snubbed then you might hear some grumbling. In fact, you would certainly hear some grumbling then because all of those Auburn, Florida, aTm, LSU, and Miss State fans would lose their main reason for shouting "S! E! C!" every time the Tide does something good.

You wanna gripe about "cheapening the regular season"?  This is going to be your year.

Because Ohio State lost to Penn State in the regular season and, if the latter wins, the former is a shoe-in to be included in the CFP regardless.  In short, what happened in the regular season didn't matter one bit because the committee *thinks* that OSU is the better team.

They know this because they've been watching football for a long time, and have been involved with it. If you question them they appeal back to that authority that you just don't have.

And this year they're going to be 100% wrong, and the year after that, and the year after that etc.

Even firing Larry Culpepper won't change that reality.

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