College Football’s New Payoff…Uh…Playoff

You may have heard last weekend global timekeepers added an extra second to our atomic clocks.  The Earth apparently is spinning slower these days.  It takes it a full two milliseconds longer to rotate on its axis now than it did 100 years ago.  Over the course of twelve months, that adds up to nearly three-quarters of one second.

Which if left unchecked, perish the thought…those seconds would eventually stack up…and sunrise would one day be sunset.

You may have also heard our global money keepers running college football recently added two extra teams to the mix for determining a champion beginning in 2014.

College football’s axis is now decidedly spinning much, much faster than Earth itself.

You can decide for yourself if this is a sunrise for the sport…or a sunset.

Followers of this site know I have restricted my attacks on the BCS (“Drinking The BCS Kool-Aid”) to the lunacy of those sideshow bowls that were hyped to be ultra-relevant and the subsequent criteria (or lack thereof) being used to pick teams for them…i.e. which schools could provide the most fans and historically documented television eyeballs as opposed to…let’s say for example…merit within the season itself.

I had slowly come to accept and even revel in the fact the BCS as currently constructed was at least giving us two teams worthy of playing for a Championship.  OK, maybe not ALL the teams worthy but at least two of them…in a one-shot, winner-take all scenario.  Which is what football is anyway.  There are no best-of-sevens here to begin with.

One thing we’ve all learned from the ever-growing college basketball tournament is arguments always occur regardless of the number of teams invited.  Someone is always left out, always feeling slighted.   Number 69 is hissed off.  (Think how Number 5 will feel…)

Another thing we’ve all learned from that ever-growing college basketball tournament is the more teams you invite, the more watered-down it becomes and the event now shifts from who is the best team…to who simply survives the multiple scenarios and domino effects that play out over multiple games.

And another thing we’ve all learned from that ever-growing college basketball tournament is when you have a human-being committee select participants, you always wonder about politics, agendas and material motivations in play.

Enter college football’s new payoff…uh…playoff.

Here are some of the quotes coming out as details have rolled out…with my rebuttals as to why I’m not too terribly thrilled with all this…

Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott: “I’m sure it won’t satisfy everyone.  Until you have an 8-team or 16-team seeded playoff, there will be folks out there that aren’t completely satisfied.  We get that.  But we’re trying to balance other important parties, like the value of the regular season, the bowls, the academic calendar.”

Any decision should have been made with but one thing in mind, to determine the team most worthy to say they are a college football National Champion.  I am convinced a majority of fans wanted more teams in the mix but I am equally convinced they’ve been brainwashed by the 24/7 news cycle the media creates each year about the need for it.  If you really valued the regular season, you should have left it alone because there was no more valuable regular season in any sport than college football’s under the current BCS system.  If you wanted to take care of those bowls, you wouldn’t have created more (Champions Bowl) and then pimped out your Championship Game to the highest bidder in Any City, USA.  It would have remained within the current bowl structure.  And as for the “academic calendar”…God, I can’t believe there are people who still say these kinds of things out loud.

ESPN.com writer Adam Rittenberg: “If a conference champion and a non-conference champion with comparable resumes are fighting for the last spot, the conference champion will get in.  Mark it down.”  Yet he also writes,“…if the SEC continues its dominance, expect to see two of its teams in the playoff every year.  But not three.  That’s not happening.”

Criteria all clear now? You say you want to be on the proposed selection committee to pick what supposedly are the best four teams to play for a National Championship?  No you don’t.  People thinking clearly don’t willingly step through the front door into something that will result in their seeking out the witness protection program at the back door.  The insane amount of dollars involved and the equally insane, extreme college football fans waiting to literally hunt your butt down if their team isn’t included either because they didn’t win a conference championship…or they did but you decided that conference wasn’t worthy…should make everyone think twice about signing on to that gig.

Larry Scott again: “I know I wouldn’t want to (be on the committee).  There’s going to be some pressure on that committee.  I’m not really a committee guy honestly.  I didn’t spell it out thinking that would be a good result.  I just don’t tend to think the sports world needs another committee but as we got into it, we realized the current system was flawed in so many ways.”

Here we have one of the power commissioners admitting before the first selection committee member is even selected this is a bad road.  With the obscene amount of currency on the line in college football, that’s the time where we should eliminate all human intervention.  People complained the coaches’ vote was included because they couldn’t possibly see all the teams and games and were going to vote their own agendas anyway.  Drop ‘em.  People complained the six affiliated computer systems in the BCS were not transparent and five of them would not make their formulas available.  Make them do so or the computer systems who don’t comply don’t get used…or…here’s an idea you might have considered…just come up with one system and use it.   Whatever comes forth now, we have a new system designed by the power brokers of the sport FOR the power brokers of the sport.  If you look beneath the surface it is far less likely one of the “outsiders” will get to play for a National Championship, not more likely.  The super-conferences of college football not only are actively working to swell their ranks so they have to play each other for almost all of their regular season schedules…but they have also been aligning themselves with agreements to play each other on those rare non-conference weekends.  You think Boise State has trouble getting a game now?  Wait.  The super-conferences who pushed this new playoff system through are locking in to nine-game schedules.  Oh, and they also want strength of schedule to be a key factor the selection committee members use.  If this is starting to look like it was designed by Wall Street for Wall Street, it’s probably because there is as much money on the gridirons across the country as there is in the boardrooms in New York.  The Big Four (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12) are firmly in charge of all this money…and now all the rules.

CBS Sports.com writer Dennis Dodd: “The elimination of automatic qualifying status was supposed to end the sport’s revenue segregation.  In the future, it will do anything but that.  Removing labels doesn’t remove the reality.  A playoff probably lessens access for the sport’s unwashed.  At least makes it more uncertain.  That selection committee?  Its composition will have to reflect that the Big East is no longer considered a BCS-level conference.  The ACC has become less of a factor.  That Big Four – Pac 12, Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 – are calling the shots.  To be precise, the commissioners of those leagues are calling the shots.  There might not be a thing wrong with that.  Those 46 schools predominantly play the best football, win the most championships, make the most money.  They have the most invested in this playoff.  In the coming age, there are more of the have-nots who will matter less, if that makes any sense.  And it should.  The incredible windfall from a playoff – estimated at $500 million per year on the high-end – essentially means those have-nots will trade money for access.  Hush money in shoulder pads.”

I envision a landscape someday soon where there are 32 colleges under one umbrella, neatly called the National College Football League.  All other current or aspiring BCS colleges will “drop down” and continue on at a lower, more inclusive and fiscally responsible level once the complete sham of their being on a level playing field is so blatantly visible it simply can’t be pursued further.

As for the elite…more teams playing for a National Championship?  Yes.

More chaos in store?  Guaranteed.

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32 Responses to College Football’s New Payoff…Uh…Playoff

  1. Sean Breslin says:

    I’m sure we’ll have an 8-game playoff before long, then 16 teams, then a watered-down tournament like the basketball one…just like you said.

  2. Sean, no doubt we’ll see an increase in teams. Some are making a big deal the new deal is for a dozen years. Those words are just that…words. Contracts are made to be broken, especially if viewership increases and more money can be squeezed out of bidders for the telecasts…they’re going to add more games/teams at some point.

  3. Troy Beckman says:

    At least we know that all of these decisions, as all sports, are being made with the fan in mind, first and foremost. Sarcasm aside, I’m going to “go out on a limb” and predict that two out of the final four come from the SEC and will probably not even matched up in the first round, giving us another Alabama/LSU national championship game.

    • Troy, if they really want the best four teams they have to be open to the possibility two or three teams from one conference might fit the bill in any particular year. Yet, you know each commissioner of the Big Four conferences will be lobbying hot and heavy for their champion, regardless of if their conference is clearly inferior in a given season. The humor will come when an upset occurs in the semifinals and someone wins the title as the “4 Seed”…which will “set off” those who found themselves Number 5 (and back) even more.

      • Troy Beckman says:

        Indeed — and that’s fine w/ me as long as they are the best four teams. Also going to be enjoyable to watch the “pimping” process as well. I think we’ll have a good laugh if the Chick-Fil-A Bowl is successful in their bid to host the championship game. Cheers…

  4. The BCS system and its championship game aka Bowl Crapshoot System. There are several federal legislators who look upon their fellow buffoons within the world of College Football rather enviously and who are thinking to themselves . ” Why can’t we come up with something just as corrupt as that ” ?

    This system so favors the major conferences that the mid majors lesser conferences must feel like an unwanted stepchild . Never mind the fact that there’s so much money plowed into this all that everyone is gets to dip their hands in the cookie jar with the exception of the players themselves . Oh I forgot, they do however get a memento of their participation but should they choose to profit from it financially . They would then ran afoul of the NCAA .

    Pimpin’ ain’t easy but it sure beats playing College Football by any stretch of the imagination .

    • The big bump dollar-wise was being willing to sell out the title game as a College Super Bowl, open to be played to the highest bidder regardless of bowl tradition, location, etc. You have to chuckle at the hypocrisy across the board here, especially while everyone is still talking about how they “preserved” and “saved” the bowls. Like they were going anywhere. There was no reason why the semifinals and the Championship Game couldn’t all be rotated among the existing major bowl games…except for money, of course.

      • So true ! Fagin would be proud of the BCS committee members . Please sir , can I have some more of the BCS bull#@it ? No you can’t it’s ours .

        Mike Slive and Jim Swofford currently would make a corrupt member of Congress seem like a damn choirboy .

    • I would have dropped all human voting…created a singular, clearly-understood BCS formula with the greatest minds available…and then left it alone. If push came to shove, I was willing to go with the Plus One format where all the bowl games would be played (on or before New Year’s Day mind you) and then said formula would name two teams to meet a week or so after all the bowl games concluded in a Championship, at a site rotated among the existing major bowls. The key here would have been that formula would dictate all the participants in the major bowls…none of the bowl committees selecting teams nonsense…none of the conference tie-in stuff.

      • We were calling for that here in the state of Florida after the Presidential voting process in 2000 . But hey , what do I know ! Drop the human element fot the Presidential elections within the state because the electorate are basically anally retentive . The right man did gain access to White House or did he ?

  5. Wouldn’t flipping a coin work just as well rather than this fraudulent money grabbing system being proposed ? I mean it can’t be any worse than what’s now in existence now can it ?

    • Logic tells us picking that “4 Seed” will be ugly, bitter and brutal. I am quite serious in offering anyone thinking they want to be on that selection committee should think long and hard about the radioactive, toxic fallout that will rain down upon them. I think even a coin flip would be argued…was the coin weighted unfairly…was it flipped enough times?

  6. Give me March Madness everyday of the week. At least they settle it on the court. The college football system will continue to be flawed in a big way….

  7. Blog Surface says:

    Hands down, the 4 team playoff will attract more fans, thus the added teams in the future. We can see it now…

    • The commissioners of these super-conferences claim the public demanded this type of move and all the flaws in the current system were exposed, so they are doing us a favor here. No, they’re doing themselves a favor and taking the opportunity to close ranks further while making it appear they are opening up the process. But by the time they increase the number of playoff teams again, I’m betting some universities will grow weary of the “arms race” trying to keep up and just drop down a notch. Even with the cash being funneled to them, it won’t be enough trying to keep up with facilities, coaching salaries, etc. And of course, never getting picked…

  8. sports’

    The “five families” in upstate New York wants in on the action with the new BCS format . After-all sharing is said to be a form ….. of caring . LOL,LOL,LOL !!

  9. sports’

    Simply look at the list of conference commissioners and AD’s who were averse to the change and those who favored it . All you need to know can evidenced there by simply looking at what was said by either side .

    The state of College Football might just be marginally better than another lame a#s sport known as boxing but not by much .

  10. sports’

    If at all interested let me know what you think as it deals with the upcoming Olympics and the idiocy of the IOC currently as it relates to Syria , Iran and Myanmar (Burma) .

    I’ll Take The Hypocrisy , Also To Be Served up With A Side Order of Bull#hit .

    tophatal ………..

  11. I don’t know that there is a perfect answer, man, otherwise great blogging minds like you or I would have come up with it already.

    About that whole three SEC teams in the playoff, weren’t ‘Bama, LSU and Arkansas at one point last season, all reasonably considered among the best teams in the nation and not only do they play in the same conference, they’re in the same damn division.

    Just to play a little devil’s advocate, let’s say teams 1 through 4 are slotted, team one is undefeated and team four has two losses, then team four gets hot, wins two straight games and named your national champion.

    A la Steelers a few years ago, a la Packers and Giants after that, a la St Louis Cardinals last season.

    My question to you is, does that necessarily make them the best team that season or just the hottest at the end and thus…. your national champion?

    • Chris

      The ultimate goal is defined as finding a national champion but over the course of a regular season the team with the best record doesn’t equate as being the best team overall in the end . Seed them # 1 and then let’s see how they fare no matter what has taken place over the course of the regular game schedule .

      Whatever format now in place it will still remain skewered and favorable to the more renowned conferences .

      In reality what is currently being enacted has nothing to do with fairness or seeking a legitimate champion , it is simply about garnering more money (millions in this case) from the tv broadcast outlets and commercial sponsors with a high visibility with the BCS . This is the crux of what is now being done , nothing more , nothing less .

    • There always is something to be said for a team that improves as the season goes on and ultimately becomes much more than they were initially. Yet, your scenario is exactly as I see it happening as it does in the NFL. That #4 seed knocks off #1…and say there were a half-dozen teams that could have been that #4 seed to begin with. They then win one more game and they’re your Champion. What has that solved? Since there are so few haves and so many have-nots…and conferences are not created equal…and money influences humans…I say let the computers continue to sort out the two best teams who proved themselves over the regular season in a winner-take-all like we have it now. My answer to all those examples above is they were the best team in the scenario within and the one left standing, but certainly not the best team. College football is such a unique, enormous beast I like the fact we keep it as streamlined as possible, but as indicated in my earlier comments I would have signed off on the “Plus One” system if it was confined within the bowls…and the computers picked the two teams to play for the Championship.

      • sports’

        The only thing driving this whole new format is money , nothing more , nothing less . What’s been so comical has been to listen to the comments of the individuals proposing change within the BCS and amongst the coaches and AD’s .

        I mean you have to take it with a dose of Pepto-bismol when Urban Meyer says he thinks that nothing should’ve changed . Well he would, wouldn’t he . LOL,LOL,LOL !!! OSU President Dr E Gordon Gee still thinks it beneath the Buckeyes playing anyone that they can’t beat up on beyond like The Lil’ Sisters of the Poor and Needy . Hence his reason for repeatedly stating non that BCS conference alliance programs should not be afforded the right to play for the national title .

        I wonder if Dr Gee believes that Tressel’s gross lying was merely a blip ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!! Your thoughts ?

        If at all interested let me know what you think ? Merely click unto the link shown to view . It’s a piece on the upcoming a href=”http://olympic.org/”> Olympics annd the antics of IOC President Jacques Rogge .

        I’ll Take The Hypocrisy , Also To Be Served Up With A Side Order of Bull#hit

        No disrespect to Reuben Amaro but I believe you’d be a better GM than the incumbent for the Phillies ! Any chance you might throw your hat in the ring should he be fired at the end of the season ?

        I see the Nets for now have pulled the plug on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes ? If the Lakers want in on that drama they will need a ” third wheel” to assist because of the new salary cap level in the NBA . Last season Buss’ team were some $21 million over the mandated soft cap figure of $57.5million and this upcoming season’s figure pushes the cap to just over $58 million .

        tophatal ………………..

  12. Totally spinning with the extra second thing….Can’t wait to see what the giant solar flares do…melt all those expensive sneakers so all fall down?…might be a simple solution to the picking a champion?

    • Those giant solar flares apparently are a bit more troublesome than I first realized. Did a little reading up on them. Then again, it seems as if the lower 48 states are starting to closely resemble the sun itself. I guess we don’t have to worry about cooked communications…if we’re all cooked.

      • So nice of Ralph Lauren to design the uniforms of the US Olympics team . Pity though that they had to be made in China . Sign of the times you think ? LOL ,LOL,LOL !!

      • It is my understanding this is not the first time Lauren’s company produced non-USA unis so apparently the Olympic committee thought since that instance “blew over” doing it again would be no big deal. I think they look ridiculous no matter where they were made and would ask for a full refund.

      • Actually here the wild life land management dept. is saying the wildlife and grazing lands are rebounding after 2 years of drought. It takes a while for prairie grass to recover from over grazing, but the spring rains and current rains are keeping things going. Of course, the rain and lower temps might be a reward for saving that giant oak tree?
        In any case, the news media here is just in a frenzy about the college shuffle…it should be an interesting fall.

  13. Fashion nowadays is ridiculous . But here’s my thing with this . all of this pride is now misplaced if ” bs “ like this can happen , especially in light of the plight of the US textile industry . This country creates the perception that it has pride but it’s all misplaced and asinine to begin with .

    Jay Paterno needs to keep his damn mouth shut as it relates to the Penn St scandal . Every time he now opens up with an opinion concerning Joe Pa’ , he comes across looking crass and completely out of touch with his father’s actions and the plight of the victims .

    tophatal ……

  14. Steven Jeffries says:

    Hey Bruce! Here it is: “Sweet 16″ team playoffs by 2016! It’ll be interesting…

    • Steven…it will be interesting because they’ll probably be only 64 teams left by then who can compete in the “arms race” to maintain programs at the necessary level to compete.

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