The top four teams in the country will be present in the college football play-off semifinals on New Year’s Day afternoon and evening. It’s not much of a competition: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame, who competed with just one pair of losses, including some of the best given for the sport.
The semifinal round will feature three Hizman Trophy finalists this year, two coaches who already have multiple national titles, and an assortment of players who will find a place on the NFL roster in the coming years.
But the mood across the college football scene is not as deadly, or at least as exciting as the enthusiastic lineup, suggest there’s an unintentional taste of this year’s playoff redundancy. Clemson has made the last six semifinals and CFP 2014-1. Alabama has reached six semifinals in the seven seasons held since replacing the much-maligned Baul Championship Series this season.
But the reheated vibe is just a symptom of a larger problem for many. The crown jewel of the sport, the calendar around which the event revolves, seems increasingly disconnected from the details of the sport.
College football is unforgettably regional and chaotic – on the field, off it, and as quickly as it was at the start of the season and heated in the BIU-Coastal Carolina game, sometimes both at once. In contrast to college football play-offs and predictable, top-flight power-conference programs in the same handful each year pass the trophy among them.
Friday’s games will be virtual; They can be spectacular. But to many fans who love college football, CFP misunderstands the game whose champion is the crown.
Complaints from all angles
You don’t have to look at any specific aspects of college football to find someone who has a problem with the current system, including the CFP committee – athletic directors, former players, former coaches and a conference of other “high-integrity football experts” – the top four teams of the season. Works.
The press response to this year’s semi-final announcement was quick and intense the day after the championship was held at the conference in mid-December. A ranger headlined, “College football playoffs just made its worst pick.” “The committee remains disappointingly predictable,” ESPN said. Presenting a cultural touchstone of monotony, USA Today’s opinion columnist Dan Olken wrote, “College football playoffs have been going on for about seven seasons now, and at this point we will probably wake up Bill Murray with“ I Got You Babe ”. And again. “
Critics say the bi-standard is in favor of perennial candidates for the power-conference program, starting with other conferences. Strange, positive schedules during the epidemic emphasized the significance. Ohio State has played off after winning just six matches; Big Ten has amended its own conference rules to allow the Buckeyes to play their conference championship game after a canceled-out slate. Cincinnati, meanwhile, have won nine of their games but are eight places behind the Florida team with four spots and three defeats from the playoffs.
Roger Sherman of the ring filed a scathing lawsuit alleging that the Bearcats were disrespected: “Cincinnati was not only undefeated: the top-2 teams against Notre Dame or Texas were against the top-2 teams and this season ended with more team-winning teams. .A&M, which finished in fifth place). They are ranked in the FBS Top 20 in terms of scoring, total offense and total defense. ”Sporting News’ Mike DeCursi argued that college football playoffs do not deserve their own title.
“It’s not really a playoff,” he wrote after the Bearcats snap. “It’s an invitation.”
Analysts point out that the committee’s history-power conference doesn’t just affect the history of the teams, things have a secondary effect of shutting down fans throughout the season who realize that their teams have no shortage of top-level cracking in the sport. Some of the magic of BYU’s season, which began with a 9-0 start, was plagued by a lack of recognition and respect from the CFP committee.
The good news for those ready for something new is that the game’s recent doldrums have contributed to a spectator drop that may prove to be enough to encourage change.
Athletic’s Stuart Mandel writes, “Spectators watching more casual college football aren’t interested in seeing Alabama or Clemson Steamroll Notre Dame again or playing each other in the latest.” “It’s no coincidence that ESPN didn’t come very close to matching the huge 30.2 million viewers that first year.”
In short, fans seem to want a college football playoff that looks like college football, with glorious messes all season long, underdogs and the unknown occupying their possibilities. And a group of prominent voices have begun to push for change that could make it a reality.
“I’m telling you to extend the playoffs,” said Fox analyst Urban Mayer, a former Utah and head coach of Florida and Ohio State. “I can’t believe these words …” Her voice was revealed, but the feeling was clear. Even coaches like Mayer, a self-proclaimed “traditionalist” whose last championship came in the opening year of the current system, realize that things are not working out as they should.
To support the expanded play-off field, Mayer joined such a large groundway that a shift began to seem inevitable. Sporting News’ Jack Al-Khatib recently wrote about the apparent inevitability of a more inclusive playoff slate, and Mandel set a specific vision: a system that includes automatic playoff invitations for each power conference champion and a reserved space for a team in the group group of five. .
“The postseason boils down to what we know, and a fresh start where more parties think of investing, more games, and December feels less like an acceptance celebration and less like a letter of rejection,” Mandel wrote.
There are obstacles in the way of such overhauls. The epidemic to begin with, of course; Staging as safely as possible at the end of this season is of course a priority rather than determining the details of the upcoming asons. Additionally, the current CFP agreement with ESPN runs through 2026 and will require a rewrite of the managed agreement on how it will be broadcast in order to restructure the playoffs.
But if college football is a game commonly defined by squabbles – endless debate over rankings, calls, results, possibilities and legacy – then the present moment is one of the rare con minions. The next decision in the college football playoffs is how to recreate yourself.