Same time, next year; look for powers again

by Gary Shelton on January 3, 2021

in general

Sunday, 4 a.m.

So, are you excited yet?

In this corner, Alabama, filled with power and speed and NFL prospects. In that corner, Ohio State, filled with power and speed and NFL prospects.

Why, it will be the game of the century.

Or, if you want, you can just wait until next year.

When Alabama will play Ohio State.

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No, no, that isn't guaranteed, not with all the good programs out there who care about the sport. Heck, it could be Alabama vs. Clemson.If heaven drops everything else, it might even be Oklahoma.

But that's about it.

That's what you realize about the college football championship playoffs. Pretty much, it's a closed shop. Largely, the teams involved this year were involved last year, and they'll be involved next year. Maybe the year after.

Everyone else is trying to make the Peach Bowl.

Think about it. We are in the middle of the seventh college playoffs. That means that, over time, there have been 28 slots available.

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma have 20 of those. Teams outside of the five power conferences (besides Notre Dame, which reached it once as an independent) have none.

No, it is about being fair. It isn't designed to be fair. Teams like Cincinnati the year and Central Florida in years past serve only to bring up the same old arguments.

Is it time? Is it finally time to surrender to the consensus and have an eight-team playoff? Is it finally time to have a more representative playoff?

I'll be honest here. For years, I defended the four-team playoff because of this: It does what it's designed to do. It replaced the silly BCS. Bill Hancock, the head of the FBC, once told me that the FBC wasn't meant to settle all arguments. It wanted to keep the bracket low to preserve the regular season matchups. And, heck, if you think about it, the conference games of the big leagues are like a round of their own.

Besides, consider this: If college football had an eight-team playoff, the big conferences would have gotten seven of the slots this year. The next three teams (teams ranked 5-7) are Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Florida. Cincinnati would slip into the eighth hole (being undefeated), but it isn't like expanding the playoffs would open them up to the American, Conference-USA and the rest of the little conferences).

Ah, you say. but why not have champions of the SEC, Big 10, Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC. Add in the champions of the American, Conference USA and a Wild Card (Coastal Carolina of the Sun Belt was undefeated.) If you wanted, you could even save the Wild Card for the Power Five to include, say, Texas A&M.

You know why that wouldn't work? Because the big schools don't want it to work. They aren't about being fair; they're about holding onto power. You think the SEC wants to watch someone from the Mid-American in the playoffs? Of course not.

Hey, the College Football Playoffs work just fine if you're Alabama. Or Clemson. Or anyone in a Power conference. If you go unbeaten from one of those conferences, you're going to make it.

Everyone else is making noise.

See. you next year.

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