Cavalcade of Whimsy: The Five-Team College Football Playoff Solution
The answer to the College Football Playoff concerns, and reaction to a stunning weekend of upsets.
Cavalcade of Whimsy: Nov. 14, 2017
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
Like the first quarter of Washington vs. Stanford – allegedly, an important football game for the Pac-12 to showcase its Heisman candidate and possible College Football Playoff contender – it was shoved to the abyss of FS2 for some dopey truck race finishing up on FS1.
“The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!”
As God as my witness, 1) I thought turkeys could fly, and 2) I didn’t know there was an FS2.
Oh, and by the way, that Clemson team you all are in love with lost to a team that won’t be going bowling
Really? Georgia sucks now and was overrated all along?
Notre Dame was a mirage, and TCU was always no big whoop?!
Come on, people. I need you to be better than this. I can’t do this alone.
Of course Georgia is still great – it’ll probably win a rematch against Auburn on a neutral SEC Championship field if Bama doesn’t take care of business itself.
Of course TCU is still fantastic – it will probably screw up the Big 12 and win a rematch against Oklahoma (more on that in a moment).
Of course Notre Dame is outstanding – this is still the team that blew out Boston College, Michigan State, NC State and USC.
Auburn, Oklahoma, and Miami all played out of their collective minds at home in the spotlight games. That happens when November college football goes all November college football, and everyone is acting like Auburn didn’t lose to the team that lost to Troy, or the Sooners didn’t lose at home to Iowa State, and Miami’s D didn’t give the mediocre O the night off.
Don’t get all stupid and assume Georgia is off to the Belk Bowl.
Did you not see Iowa vs. Ohio State? Yeah, the Buckeyes stunk – and then they did that to Michigan State, while Wisconsin’s defense brought a big bag of yeeeeeesh to that Hawkeye offense.
It’s college football. Weird things happen.
Act like you’ve been there before, America.
“Thoughts and Prayers” should be replaced by donations to things like this. Always.
Of course it should be 100% totally and completely fine for Michigan State DB Josh Butler to have created a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay for his father’s funeral costs. Of course.
But if that’s not an NCAA violation, why should it be one if a player just wants to do this to get some money?
Butler raised money $9,250 – far more than the $5,000 goal – with what appear to be a slew of Spartan fans generously helping the cause.
Again, this is absolutely okay. But if this isn’t a violation, then why can’t Baker Mayfield start a GoFundMe page because he wants a new car?
Why can’t Johnny Five-Star Recruit start a page just because he wants to see which booster club loves him the most?
But compliance and common decency dictates that funeral arrangements and costs are different, right.
Fine … what if some player wants to raise money to pay for his sister’s medical bills? Or because his mom lost her job?
Or simply because if he starts a GoFundMe page, people will give him money?
Or start a GoFundMe page to pay for the dumbass consulting firm that might have knocked the Big 12 out of the College Football Playoff
I said this when it happened, I said this before it happened, I said this after it happened.
I said this to Big 12 people. I said this to College Football Playoff people. I said this to my Subway sandwich artist, Make It My Way Ajay.
The Big 12 was making a massive mistake slapping together a conference championship game in a ten-team league.
If Oklahoma beats Kansas (duh) and then takes care of West Virginia (sure, probably), it’ll be 11-1 with a win at Ohio State on the resume. With that, it would absolutely be in the College Football Playoff as a one-loss Power Five champion with one of the biggest road wins of the season on its resume.
The ONLY thing that can screw that up is a loss in some gimmick rematch against a team it already beat – like TCU or Oklahoma State.
Well played, Jacobellis. Well played.
Or, you can just go 13-0 and win your Power Five championship, and everything will be okay
Of course, you already know why last weekend was so amazing and why the college football season continues to deliver year after year – it’s the weekly pressure of the only regular season that truly matters in American sports.
The College Football Playoff people know this, too.
But this time of year also leads to the silly season when the hot-takers come out of the woodwork and start chirping about how Team X belongs in and Team Y doesn’t, all because they happened to watch one great performance by a brand name team they’ve heard of – cough, cough … Miami … wheeeeeze – all while some other team that might have seen in passing wet the bed on an earlier big stage.
And then comes the inevitable eight-team playoff discussion.
We didn’t need No. 8 Michigan State or No. 7 Mississippi State in any form of a 2014 playoff, and we sure as poop didn’t need a three-loss No. 8 Wisconsin team or a 10-2 No. 7 Oklahoma in last year.
But I do get it. To go all Mike Gundy, I’m all for an eight-team system that automatically takes the five Power Five champions, the top-ranked Group of Five champ, and two catch-all wild cards.
This would’ve been particularly awesome in 2015, when No. 1 Clemson (ACC), No. 2 Alabama (SEC), No. 3 Michigan State (Big Ten), No. 4 Oklahoma (Big 12), No. 7 Stanford (Pac-12) and No. 18 Houston (Group of Five) all would’ve been in, and No. 5 Iowa and No. 7 Ohio State would’ve had the extra two spots – each of them had one loss.
The problem is the realism factor. Remember, the CFPers are all bowl heads – they don’t want to do anything that kills the bowl system, and neither do athletic directors, coaches, and major college presidents.
Go to an eight-team playoff, and all of a sudden, it’s a 16-game season for the two teams playing in the national title. As is, the teams that get there are gassed.
But in a year like this when there’s so much doubt and so many question marks among all the teams, a four-team playoff seems too skimpy – especially considering it all comes down to the opinions of the judges.
So what’s the solution?
Here are the factors we’re dealing with.
– Logistics. The last thing the CFP wants is to diminish the product just as the four-team format is finding its footing. They fixed the New Year’s Eve glitch, and they still want to fill the stadiums and make the last three games of every season special.
– Bowls. Again, these matter to all the people involved in creating this thing. A bigger playoff means more of an emphasis on just those games.
– Keeping the regular season special. There has to be someone kicked off the island at some point – better to leave one fringe team out than let an undeserving team in.
– Money. Just like everyone else, the CFP would trade it all for a little bit more. How do you keep everything in the land of the real and yet keep making more dough?
Remember, one of the only reasons college football made the pivot from the BCS to the College Football Playoff was because it was easy. Everything stayed the same, but the BCS Championship was changed to the College Football Playoff National Championship – the basic bowl infrastructure was the same.
This has to be kept simple, so here’s your solution.
Five teams get in.
Five teams allows for the possibility of all the Power Five champs to make it. Five teams takes some of the pressure off without diminishing the regular season.
So how would this work? Simple. One extra game.
Play the game on the Saturday two weeks after the conference championships, with No. 5 going to No. 4 – no worries filling the stadium. That gives both teams time to rest up and prepare, and it gives the winner more than two weeks to heal up for the CFP.
Then, the CFP goes on as normal with the play-in team going against the No. 1 team, and 2 plays 3. There’s no massive change in the infrastructure, the bowl season is still cool, if not better – imagine that Saturday full of bowls all leading up to the CFP Play-In game – and almost no one would complain about that one extra game.
If you can’t get into the top five, you don’t deserve to play for the national championship.
So how would this have worked?
TCU still would’ve been hosed in 2014, but there would be no complaining about all five Power Five champs getting in. Baylor would’ve played at Ohio State, the winner would’ve played Alabama, and Oregon and Florida State would’ve faced off.
2015 would’ve been a fight, though. Iowa finished fifth after losing a close battle to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship, but two-loss Pac-12 champ Stanford would’ve had a beef. However, it would’ve been No. 5 Iowa going to No. 4 Oklahoma, with the winner playing Clemson in the Orange, and Alabama and Michigan State playing in whatever that was in the Sugar.
Last year, the five-team format would’ve solved a big problem with No. 5 Penn State going to Washington for the right to face Alabama in the Peach, and Clemson and Ohio State would’ve gone at it in the Fiesta.
There you go, America. Problem solved.
No truth to the rumor that the Big 12 lobbying to get the final two games on FS2
Come on, Kansas. You need something to have fun with to pass the time before your hoops team wins another Big 12 championship – and gets knocked out in the Sweet 16 by that plucky three-point shooting Upstart Directional State.
I started this a month ago, setting the over/under on points Kansas would lose the final six games by at +190.5.
The Jayhawks rallied.
They were getting blown away by Texas, but they pushed back just enough to lose by 15. Now it’ll take Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to combine to beat the Jayhawks by 94 points to hit the mark – you might have done it, KU. It’s asking a lot – even for the Sooners and Cowboys – to win their respective games by 47 or more.
Mr. Mayfield, your table is ready.
Five Cavalcade of Whimsy footballey opinions and, like, other stuff
Five conversation starters at your next dinner party, and/or to impress that special someone at the right moment …
5. If Brady Hoke is your answer …
In the It’s Never, Ever, Ever Going To Happen But It Should category. Teams playing out the string of a lost season have to quit with the idea that it’s all for the seniors.
Tennessee interim head coach Brady Hoke said that the “last two games are for the seniors,” which is a noble concept, but that does nothing to help the University of Tennessee get better at college football.
If you’re really going to do this right, then you play all your underclassmen and get them live reps. Get film on these guys for the next regime to go over, so they’re not starting from scratch in spring ball. Right now it’s all about 2018 and beyond – develop, develop, develop.
4. Upon further review, Butch Jones is still fired
My new favorite in-game thing: the righteous referee who got the call correct.
As in, the he made a call, he thinks he got it right, and then it goes to the replay booth. Referees LOVE it when the call is confirmed, not just overturned because there wasn’t sufficient evidence to change it, and not just upheld.
Just listen to the inflection the next time you hear, “after further review … the call is conFIRMED.”
And finished off by the implied $2-in-the-swear-jar four-syllable bomb.
3. Florida State
I don’t want to hear it.
Deondre Francois is good. He’s not Charlie Ward. He’s not Baker Mayfield. He’s a good, solid college quarterback who’s getting better.
His season-ending injury in the loss to Alabama shouldn’t have been enough for a team with national championship-level talent to totally go into the tank.
And now FSU is scheduling ULM.- which there’s NO WAY it would’ve done it if was 9-1 and off to the ACC Championship – with the hopes of getting a sixth win so it can go bowling.
Great, so now it can extend the time we all get to talk about how this team massively underachieved.
And if the Noles lose to Florida to get knocked out of the bowl chase, the ULM game will be nothing more than a flaming spear of sad riding in a horse.
2. College Football Playoff new blood
After ALL of this. After everything that has happened, you know exactly what we’re probably going to get in the College Football Playoff.
Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State.
Not that it wouldn’t be a fantastic final four,, but I’m ready for something a wee bit different. I’m ready for some new programs to get a shot in the spotlight.
Miami, Wisconsin, Georgia and TCU? I’m cool with that.
1. We’re in the Golden Age of quarterbacks
I can’t take it anymore.
To everyone who won’t stop whining about the quarterback play in the NFL and fretting about all the Hall of Famers getting old …
Goff, Wentz, Luck (when he gets healthy), Newton, Jameis (yes, eventually), Watson (when he’s back next year), Wilson, Cousins, Mariota, Dak, Stafford, Carr – that’s over a third of the league, and they’re all under 30.
And that doesn’t include DeShone Kizer, who just turned 21 and is being forced to develop with the sad Cleveland Browns. It doesn’t include Blake Bortles, who’s at least serviceable, or Mitchell Trubisky, or Patrick Mahomes, who hasn’t had a shot yet.
And on the way are Darnold, and Rosen, and Jackson, and Rudolph, and Allen – okay, not quite sold on Josh Allen – and Mayfield, all to boost up the talent level.
And yes, Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Ryan, Roethlisberger and Rivers are still around.
If you don’t think we’re in a Golden Age of quarterback play, try checking out the top quarterbacks of, say, 1985.
Who was the 14th-rated quarterback at the end of the year? Eric Hipple.
Who was No. 2 in quarterback rating in 1999? Steve Beuerlein. Who was No. 3? Jeff George. Peyton was No. 4, and Brad Johnson was fifth.
Ray Lucas was the sixth-highest rated quarterback in 1999. In 2003, Aaron Brooks was the seventh-ranked passer and Chad Pennington was 11th.
And I’m randomly picking out years here. How about 2008? Seneca Wallace, Shaun Hill, Matt Cassel and Matt Schaub were all in the top 15.
But you want to go more recent when all these currently aging Hall of Famers were in their prime. Okay. How about … I’ll just pick 2011.
Yeah, it’s amazing up top with Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Romo, Stafford … and Matt Schaub. And Matt Moore 12th. And Jay Cutler 13th. And Matt Hasselbeck 16th.
Kevin Kolb was the 17th quarterback in terms of QB rating in 2011, and you want to tell me that we’re having a quarterback crisis right now?
1. 10 Most Important Games For The CFP
2. Can Ohio State Still Get Into The CFP?
3. Can the ACC Possibly Get Two Teams In?
4. Can the SEC Possibly Be Left Out?
5. Please Tennessee, Hire Lane Kiffin. PLEASE
– College Football Playoff Tuesday Night Projection
This week’s reason why Nick Saban didn’t suspend me for the season opener against Florida State …
As I was going through the Drive-Thru – getting my McPick two of double-cheeseburger, medium fries, and two super-duper large Diet Cokes – I had the change out for the St. Jude’s bin.
I wasn’t close enough, though, and it’s not like going through a toll booth when you can just throw the coins at it. I could’ve opened the door, scooched over a wee bit, and stretched out … but my fries were ready. But I did think about donating, and isn’t that what really matters?
Happy Holidays, America.
The sure-thing, 100%, rock-solid lock, sell the house, sell the kids, no doubt about it picks of the century for this week
PICK SO FAR: 54-23 SU, 39-36-1 ATS
YEEEEEEEESH. Stupid is as stupid does, and stupid didn’t realize until well after the fact that he picked a slew of road teams about to march into super-charged buzzsaws. Still, after the bloodbath, I’ll take the 4-5 ATS and get out.
Fortunately, these picks are all correct.
– Georgia -21.5 over Kentucky
– Georgia Tech -6.5 over Duke
– Arizona over Oregon PICK
– Virginia +19.5 over Miami (Miami straight up)
– Florida Atlantic -14.5 over FIU
– Wisconsin -7.5 over Michigan
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
5) Overrated: This week’s College Football Playoff rankings
Underrated: Next week’s College Football Playoff rankings
4) Overrated: Thinking Miami is back
Underrated: Asking Georgia fans what’s coming next under Mark Richt
3) Overrated: Jon Gruden at everything, especially a coaching candidate
Underrated: Tony Romo at everything
2) Overrated: Figuring out who’s No. 2 in the 2017 Heisman race
Underrated: Figuring out who’s No. 1 in the 2018 Heisman race
1) Overrated: The ACC getting two teams in
Underrated: Syracuse 27, Clemson 24
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
I’m still winless in SEC play – shockingly, 74 points in six games weren’t good enough – so Brady Hoke finished off the last section.