Earlier this week, the NY Post reported that there is momentum building to expand the College Football Playoff. I was not particularly surprised to read that; there is money to be made by adding playoff games and the college football mavens are not allergic to making more money by any stretch of the imagination. However, what was a big surprise is that the Post said the favored option now is to expand from a four-team playoff to a twelve-team playoff.
Here is one potential design for a 12-team playoff:
- Five slots go to the champions of the Power 5 Conferences.
- One slot goes to the highest ranked Group of 5 Conference champions
- Six slots are at-large and at the discretion – whimsy? – of the Selection Committee.
- The top four ranked teams get a first-round BYE; then everyone plays on.
This expansion – indeed any expansion even if only to 6 teams – will address one of the criticisms of the current structure:
- Since its inception, there have been 28 teams involved in CFP games.
- Four schools – Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma – have occupied 20 of those 28 game slots.
And there is the rub… The whole idea of an elite playoff “tournament” – the four best teams in the country squaring off against one another – is to present a football product of three exciting and high-quality football contests. That has not happened over the 7-year history of the CFP; there have been 21 games and only 6 of them have been decided by 7 points or less. More telling is this breakdown:
- There have been 14 semi-final games; 3 of them were one-score games.
- There have been 7 championship games; 3 of them were one-score games.
So, adding more “preliminary games” is somehow going to add to the top-shelf quality of the TV product and will likely produce more close contests? I do not get that at all… I do acknowledge that smaller schools that are not traditionally football powerhouses can rise up and pull off a huge upset. The folks in Ann Arbor surely recall less than fondly a visit by Appalachian State back in 2007 where the Mountaineers beat the Wolverines 34-32. I know such things can and do happen – – but not regularly. After all, that happened 14 years ago; and it still stands out as an oddity – like a giant pimple on the face of a movie star on the red carpet on Oscar night.
I feel the need here to recall a famous bit of analysis by Damon Runyon:
“It may be that the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong – but that is the way to bet.”
I am not opposed to expanding the CFP; giving some other teams access/exposure to the playoff format is a positive move. But I think a 12-team field will add a lot of window-dressing as opposed to quality games.
Whilst on the subject of college football, there is a sad and macabre situation unfolding at VA Tech. Isi Etute is a freshman there and is a 3-star recruit as a linebacker; he enrolled at VA Tech in January 2021. Etute was arrested and charged with second-degree murder; according to prosecutors, here is what happened:
- Etute was on Tinder and connected with “Angie” on that dating site. Allegedly, they agreed to meet in person for a session of oral sex.
- Upon meeting, Etute learned that “Angie” was a 40-year-old male and at that point Etute “lost it” and punched the man and kicked him in the head once the man was on the ground.
- Etute left the scene; the man’s body was discovered 2 days later.
[None of the above has been proven in court yet; these remain allegations as of today – – other than the demise of the 40-year-old male. He remains dead.]
VA Tech issued a carefully crafted public statement about this incident. Two things stood out from that statement:
- Etute has been suspended from the football team. [I should hope so…]
- Etute was a freshman majoring in “Human Development” prior to his “interim suspension” from the school. [Human Development … Really?]
Moving on … Ron Rivera is taking a proactive position with the WTFs in their minicamp. He brought in a “vaccine expert” to address the team trying to enhance understanding of the vaccine available for COVID-19. Rivera said in general terms that about half of the team roster has been vaccinated. He is certainly not going to mandate vaccination nor will he direct – or even suggest – that players avoid the vaccine; he is presenting them with expert information to let them make an informed decision about “getting jabbed”. Kudos to Ron Rivera…
Here is an indicator of why “education” might be necessary here. According to reports, Montez Sweat – defensive end for the WTFs – sees no reason to take the vaccine because:
- He does not have COVID, so he sees no reason to treat COVID. If he contracts COVID, then he will treat it.
The logic there is impeccable – save for one detail. Vaccines do not treat a disease; vaccines seek to prevent the recipient from getting it in the first place. Education is important…
Finally, since I referred to Damon Runyon earlier, here are several of his other observations:
“Life is tough, and it’s really tough when you are stupid.”
“Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you.”
“[Christy] Matthewson pitched against Cincinnati yesterday. Another way of putting it is that Cincinnati lost a game of baseball. The first statement means the same as the second.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………