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Posted by on February 26th, 2012 in blog, Brady Baylor, CFF Features | No Comments

Where’s Jim Mora when we need him?  It appears that the worm has finally turned, the chickens have come home to roost, and perhaps other appropriate metaphors from the animal world.  What I mean is that we may no longer be inching, but rather charging toward a college football playoff.   Yes folks, the longtime playoff holdouts from the Mesozoic era, our friends in the Big 10, appear ready to embrace what we know as change, by virtue of proposing their own version of a playoff – a four-team system that would pit the top four teams at year’s end against one another in a pair of on-campus semifinals and that would culminate in an actual neutral site championship game.  Would some fans rather see eight teams in the little dance?  Yes.  Will there be grumbles about whatever emerges as the winning format?  Certainly.  Will most college football fans feel it is a giant step in the right direction?  I have to think so.


In advance of an actual playoff system announcement, I’d like to throw out a possibility for the inaugural playoff schedule.  The semifinal round will feature Alabama playing host to Georgia, and LSU playing host to USC, with the title game being played in Tampa, FL.  Can’t you just feel the winds of change blowing?  I’m being a bit facetious, of course.  This new system may only allow actual conference champions to participate, so the mighty SEC would be limited to but a single representative in that scenario.  Like many of you, I can already see the battle of public opinion being waged over the fourth and fifth-ranked squads to finish the season in a plus four system.  At least with eight teams, the perception would be that the fight for the number eight ranking would not be as consequential as would the second or fourth spot.  Pac-12 president Michael Crow has actually crowed about an eight-team playoff featuring the eight highest-ranked conference champions.  A newspaper columnist has proposed giving byes to the elite conference champions and letting the winners of the other conferences fight their way into an eight-team playoff.


Before I continue, I’ll have to admit right now that I have been shamefully riding the fence on the playoff issue for some time now.  Do I think it is the fair way to pick a champion?  Yes, although I’m a bit nauseous after having just used the word “fair”, placing me right alongside every other self-responsibility-shucking idealist out there.  My use of the word, of course, is for the far more noble cause of “what’s best for the world of college football”.  Would there be excitement?  Of course there would.  Would it do irreparable harm to a tradition that clearly stands out among the world of sports?  That’s what I’m afraid of, but I’ve decided it is worth it to unravel some of the threads of tradition for the sake of what’s right.  Besides, we can always ride the nostalgia express and use hindsight for endless debate about college football life in the bygone pre-playoff era, if we find we’re lamenting the decision to introduce a tournament to major college football.


So, will it be a plus-one format, a four-team playoff, or even eight?  Time will tell, but recent rumblings indicate a plan will soon be announced that will likely have a four-team version in place in time for the 2014 season, possibly featuring two on-campus clashes, with the winners of each headed to a neutral site to square off.  If this comes to fruition, even I for one will immediately be asking how it’s any better if football’s Gonzaga, or Butler, has no shot at going the distance.


What say you?

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