Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest. Instead, the first college football selection Sunday turned America's most recent lazy day into a full-fledged circus.
Anticipation and anxiousness enveloped the country as football enthusiasts refreshed twitter endlessly awaiting the reveal of the first ever College Football Playoff. Everyone had an opinion, everyone was ready to argue, no one knew for sure what the result would be, but the answers we sought feverishly were in front of us from day one. The majority of the selection committee hold memberships in the good ole' boys club of college football and as the four team field was revealed it became apparent the old guard still rules with an iron fist.
Ohio State made the most convincing argument in the final weekend, and their obliteration of Wisconsin allowed the committee a free pass to do what they were going to do anyways. If you examine OSU, Baylor, and TCU, the Buckeyes were the only team with a bad loss and they played in the weakest power conference. If you examine Baylor and TCU you will notice that their conference was very competitive, each team posted impressive wins with zero bad losses, and that their jerseys did not read Texas or Oklahoma.
I am not sure why there hasn't been more backlash on the actual committee, most likely because ESPN got what they wanted and the bluebloods of college football were protected, but eight of the committee members have no business being placed in such a powerful position. How could any of us expect athletic directors, former commissioners and coaches, and NCAA executives to act in any manner of fairness when they are directly tied to the millions of dollars to be made from the playoff? I am fully aware of media bias, but I believe I have a solution.
The FBS should designate 10-12 geographical regions throughout the country, sports journalists from each region should vote one colleague to represent that region on the committee for say a two year term, and those journalists who are independent from the academic institutions should debate similar to a jury panel and deliver us our four team playoff.
The other solution is to immediately shorten the regular season to 11 games (no need to play the Murray States of the world every year), and expand the playoff to eight teams. Eight is the perfect number and would allow a team to lose and regroup, would give hope to those outside the power 5, and it would reward teams who were hot and healthy at the end of the season. The NCAA basketball selection goofs stuff up regularly, but more often than not they reward teams playing well at the end of the year.
Here is an interesting hypothetical that requires the what if game. Let us pretend Louisville didn't muff a punt against Virginia, scored from the goal line against Clemson, and their only loss on the season was to 13-0 FSU. Louisville's resume would be comparable to Ohio State's, but how many of you believe anyone on that selection committee would argue for the Cardinals and point out that the Buckeye's lost to a 6-6 ACC team at home by 14 points? An eight team playoff would guarantee teams like Louisville, TCU, and Baylor would be rewarded for outstanding seasons.
As for Louisville's actual bowl selection, I am elated that the Cardinals have been given another opportunity to dismantle the SEC wall of superiority. By playing Georgia in the Belk Bowl, the Cardinals will play an SEC opponent for three consecutive games. The Belk Bowl is also one of the better games outside of the playoff and will have the country's full attention on December 30th. The upside for the program and fans is massive, not to mention a major recruiting opportunity. Louisville's run defense will face its toughest challenge of the season and Gerod Holliman will break the NCAA record for interceptions.
The College Football Playoff is certainly a step in the right direction, but 2014 revealed how much power and influence the bullies of yesteryear still exert throughout the playground. The bluebloods of college football will fight to their last breath to protect their own and will always feel threatened by the new kids on the block. The Cardinals finished the season in excellent fashion and have a bright future ahead with Coach Petrino at the helm. My only hope is that our Cardinals never feel the sting of rejection that was dealt to Baylor and TCU. Change doesn't happen overnight, the struggle for the upstarts is real, but ladies and gentlemen, look how far we've come.
All Hail UofL !!