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.