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Hooray, we finally have a college football playoff system.
Or not so much.
As we get ready to open my personal favorite season, we are still mired in the clutches of the good ol’ boys plague.
That means a bunch of bowls that don’t matter, and no real college football playoff.
I know, you read about it. We have a playoff system. Four teams.
That’s like inviting your best friends over for dinner and calling it a party.
Does the current system address the problem of a team stumbling early but developing into the nation’s best late in the season? No.
Does the new set-up take care of the non-BCS conference teams that deserve a national championship shot but aren’t members of the country club? No.
Does having a four-team playoff solve college football’s biggest problem, that all teams don’t start the season equal? No.
A real playoff system would go a long ways toward solving college football’s injustices.
One way to look at this mess is that there isn’t a tiny brain collectively in a room filled with some of the nation’s top college administrators.
Another way would be to take the less naive approach, that a lot of palms are being greased to keep a system alive that has allowed many people to play golf on $250-a-round courses.
Over the years, the college bowl system has forged relationships that have put steak and lobster on the table for a select few. A true playoff system would interrupt the flow of champagne.
Basically, they would be redirecting the wealth. And, believe me, there would be more money to go around than ever before in a true playoff system.
Think about it for a moment. When was the last time you watched the Eat-at-Joe’s Bowl in Trenton, N.J., that featured the No. 7 team from the Big Ten and the No. 8 team from the SEC?
Unless your son plays left guard for one of the schools or you are confined to your couch due to an intestinal virus, you’re going to channel surf to a “Hogan’s Heroes” rerun.
Now make that game a first-round playoff game. OK, you might not go from opening kickoff to final gun, but you are going to check it out. The nature of the playoff system makes it important.
So what is stopping us from putting together a 32-team playoff?
Oh, the students ... the students. We will be hurting the students. They don’t have the time to study.
Don’t make me ralph up my Jimmy Dean sausage. A 32-team playoff system would mean less lost time in the classroom for most of the students than the current bowl system.
Why, you ask? Like they say in college, do the math. In a 32-team playoff system, all but 16 teams in the nation are done playing football a week after the regular season. All but eight are done two weeks after the season. All but four after three weeks. You get the idea.
In a bowl system, you have teams from sea to shining sea playing football for a month after the regular season ends because most of the bowl games are around Christmas or after.
Wear and tear on their bodies? See the formula above. If you ask the players, they will tell you that practice is tougher on them physically than the games. The lion’s share of players will have less practice time under the true playoff formula.
What about that bowl tradition? You could easily work seven major bowls into the playoff system, hosting quarterfinal (four bowls), semifinal (two bowls) and championship (one bowl) games. There are only so many hands in a deck of cards.
Would a 32-team playoff be perfect? Of course not. There would be automatic bids, such as the top two teams from all the conferences getting a berth, then a selection committee to decide the rest. You would have the same arguments that you have now in the college basketball playoff system.
Would it be light years better than what we have now? Absolutely.
Most of all, it would be a real playoff system, not some illusion put together by those who want the current system to continue.
They would like to see all the dissatisfaction with the system that permeates the college scene today disappear. Don’t let it.
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