College Football's playoff expansion plan is not perfect, but a start
Ok, great, we now know the overlords of College Football, a.k.a "The College Football Playoff Committee" want to make their event open to 12 teams instead of the current four.
Arguably, it's the best news the game has heard in a long, long time. It may not change the final outcome of who wins the coveted championship, but it will at least allow more than just the same small group of schools to compete for it.
And that will be good for the game because the game is being too narrow focused with ALL of the attention limited to those same four teams headed towards their inevitable playoff berth.
Sure, you may still see Alabama vs. Clemson in the title game, but both squads are going to have to work much harder to get there.
The idea of playing the first round of games on college campuses should be exciting. Any and all of these games SHOULD be played in college towns.
But that won't happen. It's the one flaw in the plan, the fly in the ointment.
The plan right now is for the first four games to be played on campus with the rest being played at a "Bowl Game". And that folks is the "bug" in the system.
It's time to retire the bowl system. Plain and simple. It's a relic from a bygone era that does not do anything for anyone other than the shareholders at ESPN/Disney and the bowl committees.
Don't come at me with the argument "It's good for the town's that host the games". NO, it isn't. I would argue it barely registers for those towns. A few thousand people in town for 2-3 days is not going to make or break a single random town like Shreveport or Boise, Idaho or Plano, Texas. Those towns will be just fine without the bowl games.
Don't give me any of this "It's a reward for the players" crap either. I don't buy it. At all. No, if you play on a team that went 6-6 or 7-5, you don't deserve an extra game just for the "heck of it". That's like getting a participation certificate.
Never mind the fact most of the "minor" bowl games are not exactly played at tourist meccas (except the one's in Orlando).
If you want to do some smaller towns a favor, let those with large university's host one or two or possibly three "playoff" games. You want to give the folks in those towns something, let it be like another game.
There is NOTHING better than a raucous home crowd at a college campus stadium at, well, any time of the year.
And that's why Bowl games are awful. There is no joy in Mudville when 15,000 people are in the stands of a 60,000 seat stadium in a random town. None. Imagine seeing playoff games in Tuscaloosa or Athens or Norman, Oklahoma in December. No, don't even say "well, the weather might suck". The weather might suck anywhere in December. It doesn't stop the NFL from playing outdoor games at that time.
I'd bet money the CFP wants to stay in bed with the bowls for whatever reasons, and that's why the proposal calls for selected games to host quarter and semi-final games.
Honestly, that's the fatal flaw in an otherwise good plan. It actually will penalize the schools that get Top-4 seeds because they don't get a home game. They start at a neutral bowl site which is a lose-lose for the team and its fans.
And I guess really that's the other part. It's a really bold assumption by the CFP that fans will buy tickets for games no matter where they are played on short notice. And maybe 20-30 years ago they would, now, I'm not so sure.
Anyway, good for the playoff committee for at least being self-aware enough to understand something had to change. The idea of a 12-team playoff is honestly more than most of us could have expected and should create at least a little drama during the middle and end of the season.
Yeah, I know, we'll have to wait a couple years for it. But somehow I think both fans...and the game will survive.