Tag: college football playoff

Bored With Bowls

bowl gamesSomeone asked me last night:

“Is this the playoffs?”

“No, this is the Sugar Bowl.”

“What are they playing for?”

“To win the Sugar Bowl.”

“Oh”

Now that we have the four-team College Football Playoff system, it seems that the other bowl games are now nothing more than consolation prizes for the teams which didn’t make the four-team cut.

I have heard many commentators and read articles from writers who poo-poo the idea of expanding the current playoff system.  I really don’t understand why not and I have heard all the arguments.  I know even with an 8-team field that there would still be controversy on who you would pick to be in it.  It’s true that even with the NCAA Basketball Tournament there is still debate there too even with a 68-team field, but you’re going to have the debate regardless on how many teams you put in the postseason.  That still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a playoff system.

I have always been an advocate of an 8-team playoff system which would give automatic berths to the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC champions and three at-large berths to the next highest ranked teams.  This season it would have been Clemson (ACC), Oklahoma (Big 12), Ohio State (Big Ten), Washington (Pac-12) and Alabama (SEC) as the conference champions and then the three at-large berths to Notre Dame, Georgia and UCF who are the next highest ranked teams.

If you really wanted to be completely inclusive, you could give automatic berths to ALL of the FBS conference champions, not just the “power” conferences so then you would have a 12 conference champions when you add the AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt then four at-large berths to make it a 16-team field.   I’m not really sure we are ready for that but then that would create yet another controversial subject.

The FCS, which is the next division of the college football system, has a 24-team playoff field.

Bowl games have become the NIT-Tournament of college football.  I have to be honest and wonder if players are truly bragging about winning the “Belk Bowl” or the “Cheez-It Bowl”.  Bowl committees don’t really want to see the playoffs expanded unless they are included in the playoff games as well as trying to hold onto the traditions of the past.  Even with an 8-team playoff you can still keep them in a bowl-format with four quarterfinal games and two semifinal games.  This would add four bowl games to the playoffs.  What’s not to like about that?

Back in the old days we had to wait until after the bowl games were played to find out who the AP and UPI would vote as the champions.  And if the polls disagreed then fans would argue the entire off-season on who was the TRUE champion.  At least now we KNOW for certainty who the true champion of college football will be.  We may not agree on the teams included in the football “final four” but at least we have a real champion now.

Is there a perfect solution?  Probably not but I think just one more expansion of the current playoff system would make the post season a more realistic playoff.

 

 

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Football Friday

xfl
I Hate To Tell You This But…The XFL May Play Again

1/5/18

The college football semifinal playoff game between Georgia and Oklahoma was a classic.  What a battle between two explosive teams.  Oklahoma jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first half but Georgia came back to win on RB Sony Michel’s 27-yard touchdown run in overtime to propel the Bulldogs to their first national championship game since the early 1980s.  Oh yeah, Alabama beat Clemson to advance as well.  Personally, Alabama should have never been in the playoffs but it is what it is.  The college football national championship will be played on Monday night in Atlanta’s shiny new stadium named after an expensive car.

Did you see that the University of Central Florida finished the season as the only major college to go undefeated? Yep, they finished their perfect season with a win over Auburn.  I read today that UCF is going to have a national championship parade in Disney World.  I know, I had to snicker at that too but, really, shouldn’t UCF had been given a wildcard or something for being undefeated? Yes, I know they play in the American Athletic Conference or something like that but just the fact they went undefeated should have got them somewhere in the playoffs.  It didn’t and – no – they aren’t going to be the official national champions outside of Disney World.  The playoff system won’t be right until they give all the conference winners a chance to play for the national championship.

I don’t know how to pick the Georgia-Alabama game.  I don’t it will be a high-scoring game.  I’m just going to watch the game and not risk jinxing anybody by making a pick.

In other football news:

The Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons rounded out the playoff field for the National Football League (NFL) playoffs this weekend.  Let me just get it off of my chest here – if Derek Henry ever learns to run straight he will be hard stop.  Please!  Pick the hole and run through it!  With that said, I think the Tennessee-Kansas City match up is pretty interesting.  Don’t be surprised if Tennessee wins.  Stranger things have happened.  The Carolina-New Orleans matchup will probably be the best one of the wildcard weekend.  Here’s how I see it going:  Tennessee 21, Kansas City 16; Los Angeles Rams 33, Atlanta 24; Carolina 37, New Orleans 34; Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 17.   Now go place your bets….

There are rumors that the XFL is going to come back.  Lord, I hope not.  You remember that one-year wonder right?  It was put together by WWE’s Vince McMahon.  Who could forget “He Hate Me”?  The league was quite gimmicky.   I used to have a Memphis Maniax jersey.  Dang, I should have kept it.  Don’t hold your breath for the XFL.  Aside from the United States Football League (USFL) – which most think was ruined by our current prez – no other league has been able to survive against the NFL.

Here are some of the best spring football leagues (that actually played):

  1. United States Football League (USFL)
  2. World League of American Football (WLAF)
  3. NFL Europa
  4. XFL

A new indoor football league called the Fan-Controlled Football League (FCFL) – nope I didn’t make this up folks – is planning to kick off this year with eight teams.  This strange league will allow fans to build up something called Ethereum-based FAN tokens and use them to manage the action both on and off the field.  So the games will be controlled by fans sitting in their seats drinking beer and chowing down on their nachos?  Yeah, okay, I think I can watch some grass grow somewhere.

Here are the indoor leagues scheduled to play in 2018 (defending champs):

  • Arena Football League (Philadelphia Soul)
  • Indoor Football League (Arizona Rattlers)
  • Champions Indoor Football (Texas Revolution)
  • China Arena Football League (Beijing Lions)
  • American Arena League (none)
  • National Arena League (Jacksonville Sharks)

Mater Dei of Santa Ana, California are the USA Today National High School Football champions.  They finished at #1 in the USA Today Super 25 poll with a record of 15-0.  Yeah, doesn’t excite me that much either.  Well, here’s the rest of the top ten in the final poll:

  • IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
  • St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD)
  • St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
  • Allen (Allen, TX)
  • Ben Davis (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Pickerington Central (Pickerington, OH)
  • Cypress-Fairbanks (Cypress, TX)
  • Pine-Richard (Gibsonia, PA)

The Rome Wolves (Rome, GA) finished #16 as the highest-ranked Georgia team but I really still can’t talk about it.  Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, TN) over here in my backyard finished #22.

The Jerusalem “Big Blue” Lions shutout Beersheva 45-0 in the Israel Football League (IFL) to remain the only undefeated team at 8-0.  Jerusalem QB David Abell completed 19 of 30 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Lions.

In the American Football League of China, the Shanghai Titans and Shanghai Warriors will meet in the championship game.  Both teams will be looking to become the first team in league history to win two championships.  The Titans defeated the Shanghai Nighthawks 27-14 in their semifinal game as Titans’ receiver Jibril Rasheed scored on a 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put the Titans up 27-14.  The game was called early in the fourth quarter due to a fight which broke out resulting in multiple player ejections.  The Warriors defeated the Chengdu Pandaman 26-8.  A four-yard touchdown run by Chris Gardner midway through the third quarter gave the Warriors a 20-0 lead to pull away from the Pandaman. (I’m not making this up)

The Seoul Vikings scored the winning touchdown with nine seconds left to defeat the Goeje Bluestorm to win their fifth Korean National Football League title.

 

 

Happy New Bowl Year

rose_bowl
The first Rose Bowl was played in 1902

Today is New Year’s Day but for most college football fans, it will be a buffet of bowl games to binge watch.  I’ll be honest with you, I will probably be watching one bowl game today.  That’s it.  Unless I find myself on the sofa, by myself and the remote control within reach, I will not be one of those binge watchers.

Bowl games used to be different when I was growing up.  You simply had the bowl games such as the Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange Bowl.  With today’s sponsorship of the bowl games, they add some advertiser to the game.  Some won’t even hide it in the title.

They are called “bowl” games because of the shape of most stadiums were similar to a bowl.  The very first bowl game was the 1902 Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford.  Michigan won that game 49-0.  The Rose Bowl was the only major college bowl game in 1930.  In 1935, the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl were added.  In 1937, the Cotton Bowl began.

Today there are about 41 bowl games played when you include the national championship game.  In April 2016 there was a three-year cap put on the number of new bowl games due to the difficulty in filling the games with teams without losing records.  If this restriction is ever lifted, here are some new bowl games being proposed in the future:

  • Austin Bowl (Austin, TX)
  • Medal of Honor Bowl (Charleston, SC)
  • Myrtle Beach Bowl (Myrtle Beach, SC)
  • Melbourne Bowl (Melbourne, Victoria)
  • Christmas Bowl (Los Angeles)
  • Dubai Bowl (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
  • Ireland Bowl (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Little Rock Bowl (Little Rock, AR)
  • Toronto Bowl (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Chicago Bowl (Chicago, IL)

Personally, I would prefer to see the end to bowl games in their current format.  Instead, I would like them to all be restructured as part of a college football playoff.  I think you could arrange it so that the lower bowls had the first round play-in games and the biggest bowls get the later playoff games.  You could still use the bowl name and whoever was sponsoring the game but it would be part of the playoff system.   I’m not sure you will see anything changed in our lifetime but we also never thought they would have a four-team playoff either.

It usually boils down to watching whatever bowl game your team is playing in.  It’s still about finishing the season with a win and whatever trophy comes with it.

Enjoy your bowl buffet today.

If I Were In Charge Of The College Football Playoff…

cfpWhat is college football without some controversy?  Even with a weak playoff system, there remains controversy.  This year Alabama slips into the College Football Playoff even without  having won the SEC Championship.  Yes, I know the arguments.  Strength of schedule, quality of opponents, etc.  I think college football would benefit greatly by simply adding four more teams to the playoffs and making it a criteria that the conference champions get automatic bids.

I am not in charge of anything but I’d like to imagine what I would do if I were the king of the college football world.  No, I don’t have a degree in college football playoff management or anything important but I have a pretty good idea on how to fix this issue with the playoff selections.

Here’s how it would look if the five major conferences were given automatic bids to my playoff system:

  • ACC:  Clemson
  • Big Ten:  Ohio State
  • Big 12:  Oklahoma
  • SEC: Georgia
  • Pac-12:  USC

Based upon the current rankings, these teams would get the three at-large bids:

  • Alabama
  • Wisconsin
  • Auburn

If my playoff system were in effect, then the quarterfinal round matchups would be:

  • Clemson vs. Auburn
  • Oklahoma vs. Wisconsin
  • Georgia vs. Alabama
  • Ohio State vs. USC

I am well aware that even with my system that there would still be controversy regarding the at-large bids.  Penn State and Miami would be arguing that they should be in; however, making the conference champions mean something would go a long way to making the playoff system better as well as adding at-large teams who would still be quality teams to get into the playoffs.

When you look at this eight-team playoff idea, it really doesn’t add much more to the season.

The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) also includes five other conferences such as the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Conference-USA, SunBelt and MAC but these guys should have their own division and their own playoff.  The only way you could include these guys would be if you expanded the playoff field to 16 teams but I don’t think that is something we are likely to see.

Arguments will abound on Alabama getting in without winning their conference championship and Ohio State being left out in spite of winning the Big Ten but giving all conference champions a berth in the playoffs would help.