So as the college football playoffs come to a close, and the NFL playoffs begin, in addition to college basketball being in the middle of their season, I present to you an argument against expansion of the college football post season.
Mack Brown says it’d help keep players from opting out of bowl games. Maybe, but does that even matter (as said elsewhere, those games aren’t much more than extra practice and a jump start on preparations for the following season, so how does including soon to be departing players help that purpose?). People point to Notre Dame being woefully outmatched as the fourth seed excluding arguably more deserving teams from playoff glory (as if more lambs for the slaughter was a good idea?). And that’s just a small snippet of recent arguments public faces have used to promote expanding the college football playoff system from 4 teams to ???
But is playoff expansion a good idea? I say no, and not even for the reasons mentioned above (although I find them quite valid counterpoints to those claims). Two primary reasons I’d be against the expansion of college football playoffs are staring us dead in the face right now, and I already mentioned them above. So I’ll expand a bit on them now before ceding the floor to the other fine members of Dawgsports to tell me why I’m wrong, or right.
#1- Tomorrow night, the Tampa Bay Bucaneers travel to PG County in Maryland to face the Football Team from Washington, DC. I’ll be rooting for the amazing human that is Thomas Davis, Sr to continue his career just a little while longer cause he’s an amazing human in addition to being a miraculously excellent football player. But I don’t want a team similar to his current one in a college post season. They won their division, and as such they get to host a playoff game. One they might well win being at home, and thanks to a dominant defense that Mr. Davis, Sr is no small part of.
If the college football post season were to expand, one of the all but certain requirements would be a similar inclusion of any conference champions. Just like the NFC East in the NFL this past year, not all divisions in football are created equal. In high school, some regions are stronger and deeper than others. Same with college football conferences, and same with NFL divisions. And every college football conference has had their down years. The ACC has had dominant teams with Clemson of late, and Florida State prior to them, but does anyone think 2006 Wake Forest was on the level of a Chris Leak-led Gator squad? When Virginia Tech and Boston College squared off the following two seasons, that would have been for a post season berth? Or a certain team from up 316 that no loner has the 2009 ACC crown? How about 2012 Wisconsin at 8-6, thanks in part to both Penn St and Ohio St being inelgible? Oklahoma deserve a yearly ticket while the Big 12 can’t keep up? Did the Pac 12 champ Oregon, at 4-3, deserve a golden ticket to the playoffs? You gotta go back a ways for a truly bad SEC conference champion, but we’ve had our down seasons down here too.
Point is, by expanding the college football playoffs, you will automatically include teams that really shouldn’t be there. Are more non-competitive games gonna really get everyone going, and help increase the interest, ratings, dollars, and all that mess? It’s hard enough to get four teams capable of playing at the highest level in a given season, as we just saw and have generally seen at least once every college football semifinal round. Who thinks stretching things out to 8, 16, 24, 32 is gonna not stretch things far thinner than we already see? If you want a scenario where a mediocre at best team is rewarded with a post season berth, as the NFL is giving you this weekend, then you agree with expanding the college football playoffs. But I don’t, so I don’t.
And #2, did you even realize college basketball was being played right now? And if so, how deeply do you care? I know UGA fans are probably not the best group to ask that question, but how many fans follow college basketball with the enthusiasm for the entire spectrum of games like we see in college football? Sure, you can get up for YOUR team. And maybe even a singular big time matchup like Duke/North Carolina, or Kansas/Kentucky when both teams are strong. But who watches when one of the teams has a down year? How many people even watch weekly college basketball games until March comes around? Do you really want to numb a World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party game in years, like perhaps this one, where both teams can meet again in a playoff matchup since both are good enough to squeeze into an expanded system? Do you really care who wins the SEC or ACC, etc basketball tourneys when several teams involved are just getting a little last game work in before the prized competition starts?
And since money drives so much of this stuff, how much are ESPN, CBS, Fox, etc gonna pay these schools for their regular season matchups once that gets watered down and the enthusiasm is reduced with a focus solely on the final 8, 16, whatever post season games? Plainly put, ESPN, Fox, or whoever is gonna have to pony up a pretty big pile of cash to help cover the lost revenue on the contract giving them LSU/Bama in mid October, or Oklahoma/Texas, Ohio St/Penn St, etc, etc, etc. If you want college football to be a three week sport, instead of a three month sport, then you want to expand the playoff picture. But once again, I don’t, so I don’t.
Just say no to expanded the college football playoffs!