I write this post at 17-0, Clemson over Ohio State with 7:40 to go in the 3rd quarter. I am not sure this College Football Playoff is working the way everybody thought it would.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am amongst the most shocked it hasn’t caught fire. I said many years ago on the radio, that a true college football playoff, even with just 4 or 8 teams “would quickly catch and surpass March Madness in popularity and hype.”
Wrong. Very wrong. And I am now not even sure that adding more teams will fix it.
I mean, I guess a four-team playoff is better than the old BCS. Right? It has to be? No? I’m not sure. What IS college football anyway? What makes it fun? What makes it tick? What satisfies the hard-core fan (e.g. anybody who attended a relevant D1 football school) and also the casual fan (everybody else).
I’m in the casual fan group, having attended the “Harvard of the West” UC Santa Barbara. We had a fledgling club football team that went D3 for about 3 seasons before co-ed ultimate frisbee took over the stadium and the program folded. (Not an exaggeration).
I love college football Saturdays in front of my three TV’s. I love “virtual tailgating” via College GameDay. I love seeing Jordan-Hare basked in glorious fall sunshine in crystalline 1080p HD from CBS, with Uncle Verne in the booth. I love the wacky plays, the spectacle of 20 year olds drunk on wine coolers crying with a temporary logo tattoo on their cheeks. I love the rivalries, the tradition, and the “Trophy Games.” (Old Oaken Bucket!)
But I don’t give two shits if Clemson beats Ohio State right now. And I’ll likely never care. Plus, with Alabama being so utterly dominant now, it’s no longer “wow, awesome, cool…. such a dynasty!” It’s more like UConn women’s basketball stupid. That’s enough Nick Saban, that’s enough.
The push is for more teams in. Okay, I get it. Lots of ways to skin that cat too. Five conference winners, and 3 at large. You sweep up everybody relevant. You can play some early rounds on campus for more juice. Fill up early December with games. Money money money.
I suppose. But what if the general public doesn’t WANT that much college football? Especially if it’s a more sanitized, neutral site, snack-chip-endorsed, dome-version of the game? If I don’t care already about THIS game, then why would I care about say.. Penn State vs. Oklahoma?
Already, I am sorta dreading having to watch Jalen Hurts – bless his freshman heart – struggle to operate a basic passing scheme for one more game.
The college game is a far, far, cry from the pro game. This is not a debate. Teams are not nearly as equal in talent, and the amount of mistakes and sloppy play is often absurd. Therefore it’s just not as delicious or digestible to the non-hardcore-fan as the NFL playoffs.
And if you want to make the college game look and feel like the pro playoffs… well.. the difference in product quality will only become more stark.
Look, I have no answers. And no dog in the fight. I still watched both of these turd games at home on New Year’s Eve, because I am anti-social and like drinking and blogging alone.
Can we do eight teams? Sure. Would it make things “better?” That’s still very debatable. I think the smart move would be to sit tight for two more seasons of this format. Take good notes. Ask a lot of hard questions. And when you are ready to tear things up for an expansion (I’m just assuming going BACK to the old BCS way is a non-starter, although it’s not an insane idea, IMHO) just make sure you have a good answer to the most important question.