[Written by @gbdawkins - ParadigmShift35]
Looks like we’re headed for a four team playoff model in college football. Mostly because folks just couldn’t stand the fact that the best two teams in played twice last year or maybe it’s because one conference has basically taken over the show. I’ve already gone on record as being a-ok with the current scenario, though it probably needs tweaking a bit. Nevertheless, here we are. Now apprently there’s a to-do about whether the semi-final games shoud be played on campus or at neutral sites. Both present problems.
The on campus idea is designed to prevent the empty venues that so often happen in the NCAA hoops tournament when teams from, say, Kansas and California, have to play in Boston in front of tens of people. And it does reward those top two teams who have distinguished themselves (presuming that happens; but what if there are three? Or just one? ) But I get the rationale. The problem here lies with small stadiums on campus. I went to The University of Alabama. We’re going to travel with 25,000+ people. Now imagine we’re having to play in Boise, Idaho or somewhere weird like that, whose stadium holds about 35,000. You see the problem this presents.
The neutral site idea might somehow tie in the bowls or maybe completely different places. Certainly, no team would have a decided advantage. But you still have the problem of attendance. What will a Wisconsin/USC matchup draw in, say, Tampa or Miami, when one of those teams will be playing in the national title game the next week? Most of us can only afford one post season trip. An empty stadium defeats the purpose.
But I probably haven’t given you anything new to think about yet. But how about this: voter manipulation. With the exception of the small computer factor, these are humans who do the voting. Let’s face it; a primary reason for the expansion into a playoff format is money. Assume the neutral field scenario, which seems to be where we’re heading, and the top 5 looks like this before the final vote: 1: Oklahoma (11-1), 2 LSU (11-1) 3: Michigan (11-1) 4. Boise St. (11-1) 5: USC (11-1). Now no offense to Boise (whatever), but are they going to put butts in seats like the other four? Whether they’ll admit it or not, all other things being equal, I’m guessing USC gets the fourth spot. Same problem exists with the on campus scenario. If TCU or Rutgers is sitting at #2, would voters move them down a spot to ensure that a team with a mammoth fan base won’t have to travel to a tiny stadium that’s going to provide half the revenue that a game in Columbus or Tuscaloosa would generate? I’m leaning yes.
As it will always be, Follow The Money. Fairness be damned. America, f*^k yeah!
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