When the Bowl Championship Series was replaced by the College Football Playoff – we used to handpick two teams to play for the national championship, now we’re handpicking four – everyone acted as if America had reinvented the wheel. Rather, we took a broken-down, two-cylinder gravy train and turned it into a slightly larger, just-as-broken-down four-cylinder gravy train.
Anyway, the moment the four teams were announced, there was talk that we need to expand to an eight-team playoff.
And after it inevitably is expanded to an eight-team playoff, there will be talk we need to go to a 16-team playoff.
And after it inevitably is expanded to a 16-team playoff, yes – trust me – there will be talk we need to go to a 32-team playoff.
Because of the slow nature of change, this playoff expansionism will take many, many years to complete.
Couch Slouch has a cut-to-the-chase solution that is so simple, it might seem radical.
There are approximately 128 Division I schools playing football. So let’s skip the whole 4-to-8-to-16-to-32 progression and make it a 128-team playoff in which every team qualifies.
That’s right – let ‘em all in!
What is more democratic?
This ends the endless, mindless debate on who should be in; of course, it creates an endless, mindless debate on seeding. Anyway, it’s a flawed selection process right now – a dozen or so people, most teeming with conflicts of interest, cooped up in a Texas hotel conference room for hours on end, wondering when the next pizza delivery is coming.
Granted, most folks seem to think “the system” worked this time. I suppose it did; it produced four traditional football powers – Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Oregon – each with an NCAA rap sheet from here to Barry Switzer.
(That reminds me of the old expression, “Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.” But in college football, it’s “If you don’t cheat, you’re gonna get beat.” They all cheat.)
By the way, in all the planning for this groundbreaking College Football Playoff, how could these gridiron Einsteins design a formula in which there are five conferences with a shot at the national title – the so-called Power Five – but only four playoff slots?
I mean, why would you go to all the trouble of rigging the system so that only five entities qualify and then have only four spots available? That alone tells you they’re expanding to an eight-game playoff ASAP, if not sooner.
A 128-team tournament will give everyone an opportunity to live the American dream. It will allow schools to benefit from an extra revenue-producing home playoff game or two, still incorporate bowl games in the late rounds and produce a true national champion.
Opening weekend: 64 games crowded into Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The next weekend: Another 32 games littered across Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
It will make March Madness look like Midnight Mass.
(It is possible Kirk Herbstreit’s head will explode, enabling him to broadcast on multiple ESPN platforms simultaneously.)
Sure, there will be the usual, high-minded uproar that this would extend student-athletes’ seasons by too long. Bunkum and balderdash. Most schools will only play an extra game or two, and the whole process can be completed in seven consecutive December and January weekends.
Plus, who are we kidding about pulling student-athletes away from their academic pursuits? They’ll be missing classes they already weren’t attending.
Or need I remind you of my favorite tweet of all-time, circa 2012, from the student-athlete who will be Ohio State’s starting quarterback this week, Cardale Jones:
“Why should be have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS.”
Whether you’re talking a four- or 128-team playoff, that sounds like A CHAMPION.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Was The Slouch smart enough to turn down all the shouts and murmurs that accompanied the College Football Playoff selection committee selections? (Kenneth R. Freed; Albany, New York)
A. No, I wasn’t. Speaking of which, College Football Playoff discussion terms we need to ban from usage: “at the end of the day,” “body of work,” “eye test,” “style points” and “resume.”
Q. What courses do you suggest that I recommend to my biology students at the University of Maryland to best prepare them to become water bottle squirters in the NFL? (Patty Shields; Silver Spring, Maryland)
A. Don’t even bother – those jobs are all about who you know, not what you know.
Q. In view of the resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, are there prospects for a restoration of any relations with your exes? (Robert Rosenberg; McLean, Virginia)
A. Coincidentally, most of my exes moved to Cuba to provide distance after our conjugal relations broke down.
Q. Florida State has a code of conduct? (Joel Rondeau; Glendale, Wisconsin)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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