I wanted to write about Chase Utley’s debut last night, and his forthcoming start for the Phillies tonight, but I jinx everything, so instead I’m going to discuss something that I have absolutely no emotional investment in whatsoever.
Yesterday, a bunch of college presidents had an official announcement of their agreement to move to a 4-seed playoff structure. Did you recognize anyone of those guys? They were made for TV about as much as John Clayton is made for HD (HIYOOOO!)
I’ve gone through a terrible swing of opinions about this subject in the past 48 hours, so if you allow, let me take you down the pendulum that is my feelings.
Initially, when there were just whispers of a college playoff, I was in full support of this overhaul. I didn’t really know the specifics, so to me, changing the system that has some mystery robot determining a 2-team championship out of thousands of teams in the country was an improvement. In my head, though, I was envisioning at least an 8 team playoff.
Then, after most of the details were explained to me, I kind of started to hate the idea. A group of 10-12 people selecting a mere 4 teams to have a playoff? 4?? That is, at best, only slightly better than the robot picking 2 teams. Creating semifinals is still going to exclude a wide group of teams and not really generate any sort of drama or Cinderella stories whatsoever. What, the #4 seed beat the #1 seed? That’s hardly anything to go crazy for.
Even people who are pleased with this tiny expansion have the questions of “Who is going to be in this committee? Are the committee members biased? What about the other teams on the bubble?”
To be fair, like many have pointed out, you are always going to have someone being unfairly excluded, whether it’s a 2-team, 4-team, or 100-team playoff. At some point, it stops becoming a valid argument.
I have since rethought my position on this adjustment once again. Part of the excitement of college football is the regular season games that draw and immense amount of fans, passion, excitement, and comradery. As complicated as the bowl system is, it still doesn’t deter the importance of regular season games like a playoff expansion would. Having a 16-team playoff would likely hinder that experience. Just getting into the playoffs (like the NBA and NHL) would make unlikely candidates eligible for glory, even without an impeccable regular season record. There is also the worry that hosting these games in a distant location will hurt the fan-base because of the increased travel.
But, it kind of works for basketball now. Allowing a post-season with variables makes for different, sometimes better stories.
So now I don’t know what to think. The system has adjusted so minutely that I don’t think things have been affected one way or the other. I’m terribly conflicted, and I can’t imagine how someone who’s actually invested in college teams feels about this. There’s simply no pleasing. I’m really more disappointed in the human race in general because there isn’t a better system in place for collegiate sports, their championships, and unfair recruiting, etc.
This post was written by Randy Neil