THE QUESTION LINGERED IN THE AIR FOR FAR TOO LONG.
“Do you want to get tickets to the Peach Bowl?” My brain pondered it for about three nanoseconds, but it took my mouth much longer to respond.
“Nope. Why in the world would I pay premium prices for a ticket to a meaningless game?”
It’s rare I can sum up my feeling so succinctly, but on Sunday, December 3 at about nine in the morning I managed.
The night before, Georgia savaged my beloved Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship Game.
Even before the final results of the College Football Playoff rankings listed Georgia and Alabama as participants, my use for a $100 to $150 ticket to what isn’t even a consolation game failed to pique my interest.
Heck. I’m not even sure if you handed me four, free 50-yard-line seats I’d take them.
Instead, I’ll watch on television and then prepare to help cheer for the SEC and two teams that Auburn savaged play in the national semifinals. Before I get accused of being a spoilsport or sour grapes or some other list of words about sore losers, understand I began pulling for a college football playoff in the early 1980’s.
And when the powers that be finally acquiesced and granted us said playoff, I began pushing for an expanded field. A four-team playoff is great, but an eight-team one is even better. I know the arguments against are plentiful, but few hold water.
FOOTBALL PLAYERS WILL MISS TOO MUCH CLASS TIME.
Basketball and baseball players miss six to seven times as many classes as football players. In fact, at most major Division I schools, football players miss less class time than almost any other sports’ athletes.
THERE ARE TOO MANY GAMES.
Hogwash. Schools and conferences along with major sponsors and networks have done everything possible to add games. Feel free to go back to an 11- game season instead of 12 or get rid of the conference championship games, which are useless anyway.
IT RENDERS THE REGULAR SEASON MEANINGLESS.
Really? It hasn’t done that so far, and we saw key game after key game almost every single weekend. Alabama’s comeback win over Mississippi State, Iowa crushing Ohio State, Pitt manhandling Miami after Miami did the same to Notre Dame, the list goes on and on. If anything, the regular season means even more now than it ever has.
And before the SEC bias argument explodes into your mind, please note I would have welcomed the eight-team field every year of the playoff. Even those times where the Big 10 could have placed three teams or Notre Dame finished in the top eight in the final poll.
Before any other arguments can form, think about this.
How many of the 40 bowl games will be watched? To fill all of the bowl slots, 15 teams with a .500 record will be playing.
Talk about mediocrity and watering down the postseason. I’ll more than forgive the general public if they don’t tune in to see two 6-6 squads, Utah State and New Mexico State, battle it out in the Arizona Bowl.
Now close your eyes and think about an eight- team playoff this season. Imagine the buildup, the games, the emotion. It would be must-watch TV at its finest.
The first-round matchups offer plenty of these things and more.
Defending national champion Clemson handling Southern Cal, Alabama facing Ohio State and Urban Meyer, hungry for revenge after the beat down the Buckeyes handed the Tide three years ago.
Georgia playing a still smarting Wisconsin with a chance to prove the SEC is more than a one-team conference and help bolster Southern football spirits.
An Oklahoma offense led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and all-around jerk Baker Mayfield facing a legitimate defense against Auburn. The crazy thing is that it’s not easy picking these games. A solid case could be made for any of these teams to win. Clemson probably has the strongest edge and argument so let’s give Dabo’s bunch the win. If Bama is healthy the Tide beats Ohio State, if not the Buckeyes win.
I can’t see Wisconsin beating Georgia especially giving Smart and company a few weeks to prepare, so let’s say the Bulldogs advance. I’ll be nice and give the Sooners a win over Auburn although a full-strength Tiger’s unit would put up a fight like no other.
So, while my prognostications have the same final four as we currently have, I honestly believe I’m off and at least one of the lower seeded teams grabs a win. That’s one of the big reasons why the eight-team playoff is better.
All eight of the teams in this scenario could make a run at the title.
The BCS Championship rendered all other bowls moot. The playoff has rendered 37 of the 40 bowls pointless. My system isn’t perfect but give me seven major, meaningful games over the Arizona Bowl any day of the week.