With few new teams in the mix and a whole lot of bad games, has the College Football Playoff gone stale?
College Football Daily Cavalcade: Has the College Football Playoff gone stale?
Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …
I’m still getting past the idea of an 11-seed that finished fourth in its conference could be one overtime away from playing for the college basketball national title.
No, stale is absolutely every one of the 2,493 songs in my iPhone library and the 10,000+ saved elsewhere, but …
(Superflex/brag way to start a rant … GO)
So I was on the Paul Finebaum show the other day and he asked an interesting question.
Has the College Football Playoff become stale?
Short answer – sort of, but not in the way many might think.
Of course it would be better if we had a slew of new teams playing, but that’s not really the problem.
America doesn’t seem to have an issue with Alabama – that’s an SEC-hate thing – as we’ve all come to accept it like Amazon. It’s an unstoppable monster that’s crushes the little guy like a grape, but what are you going to do?
By the time you’ve finished reading this, Clemson will have won another ACC Championship and will be in another CFP as the 2/3 seed, but at least it has fun NFL quarterbacks.
No one likes rooting for Ohio State – Ohio State fans aren’t even happy rooting for Ohio State – and Oklahoma can’t get over the hump, but again, the teams aren’t why the College Football Playoff is a tad stale, even though we have yet to have one without at least two of those four – Tide, Tigers, Buckeyes and Sooners – in it.
Everyone wants something new, but even then it doesn’t seem to work.
LSU got in, brought amazing energy to the mix, and then obliterated everything in its path. That sucked.
Notre Dame got in twice and got steamrolled. That sucked.
Washington didn’t have a prayer against an Alabama team that went through the motions and won in the 2017 CFP Chick-fil-A Peach – no joke, I’m still working off the weight from that week loaded with bins of free Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kremes for the media – and Michigan State didn’t even get off the bus in its CFP appearance in the 2016 CFP Cotton. Both of those games sucked.
Give Florida State and Oregon a pass because the CFP was a fun novelty in the first year, leaving Georgia as the outlier newbie with the two classics it played in the 2018 playoff.
I’ve said over and over again that the playoff needs to expand to eight – five Power 5 champs, top Group of Five champ, two wild-cards – with the first round played on the higher-seed home field the week after the conference championships. However, that would bring more energy and excitement to the regular season and not necessarily the CFP. An expanded playoff would likely have more blowouts in the first round, but that’s fine – teams at least want the opportunity.
No, the real problem with the College Football Playoff is simple.
The games have been AWFUL.
As a postseason format, I’ll continue to pound the table that the College Football Playoff really is the best in all of sports, issues at all.
Is it the most exciting way to do a post-season? No. Is it the fairest? Absolutely not. Should it come down to a panel of judges who kinda sorta watches college football and turtles at the idea of showing even the teeniest tiniest bit of transparency in the decision making process? Uhhhhh, no.
But the CFP isn’t a gimmick like the college basketball thing we just went through, and it preserves the integrity of the regular season unlike – for example – EVERY pro sport. There’s no such thing as a cheap College Football Playoff national champion.
No, the CFP as a system hasn’t gone stale. Again, the playoff games have to stop being bad.
We were spoiled.
The Alabama 45-40 win over Clemson in the second CFP national championship was outstanding, and the third – the Deshaun Watson drive for a 35-31 win over the Tide – was as good as college football has ever been. However, those two classics made up for the miserable semifinal games in both years.
The Georgia 54-48 double-overtime win over Oklahoma at the end of the 2017 season was epic, and Tua to DeVonta to win a national title was arguably the biggest single play in college football history. Since then, though, the College Football Playoff has been a giant gift box of socks.
Eight of the last nine CFP games were ugly blowouts – give some forgiveness to last year’s Sugar Bowl; the Ohio State 49-28 win over Clemson was at least entertaining – with three national championship games that were a total waste of time. The 29-23 Clemson semifinal win over Ohio State in the Fiesta two seasons ago was the only redeeming battle of the bunch.
That means we’ve had 21 College Football Playoff games and – throwing in the Ohio State win over Alabama in the first year – only six have been any good.
So how do we fix it? We can’t.
We’re getting the four best teams every year – or really close to it – and we’re getting powerhouse vs powerhouse games. You can’t ask for better matchups.
We just need a little more luck.
You want ugly? From blowouts to horribly played snoozers that just so happened to have close final scores, try the Super Bowl from the beginning in 1967 until 1989, with a few Pittsburgh wins over Dallas counting as the bright spots in a vast wasteland of bloated sports darkness.
The College Football Playoff hasn’t had enough time to be stale.
Give us a good national championship or two, and throw us a bone with competitive semifinals, and all of a sudden we’ll love the thing.
And if there happens to be a CFP without Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma … cool.