Are You In Or Out?
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
You want to know what the trendiest trend is today in college football?
It’s called opting out. You can’t blame it on Covid-19 because this negative trend started a couple of years ago and it is getting out of control.
For example, The University of Georgia could be minus 8-9 starters in this week’s Peach Bowl due to opting out.
SEC East Champ Florida looked like a Gator team we had never ever seen in the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma due to opting out. All of Florida’s playmakers like Kyle Pitts and company were not in Dallas.
In my opinion the only way to cure the opting out issue is to expand the College Football Playoff to 32 teams in 4 brackets.
You could have a version of March Madness where you could have a committee deciding who gets in and who is left out.
A greatly expanded playoff eliminates opt outs because you could have a five-game post season that would crown a true champion and create the incentive to participate.
It could be accomplished by doing the following:
Notre Dame joins the ACC full time in football. Is there a more self-centered football program in the country than ND?
The arrogance about being a football independent has long run its course, and the powers that be in college football need to break it down for the Irish and say join a conference or get left out. This is not the 1940’s anymore. All independents join a conference.
Eliminate all conference championship games. Yes, I know it’s a cash cow, but a 32-team playoff is the ultimate cash cow.
Have all teams play a 10-game regular season that consists of 9 conference games and one out of conference game.
Set up rotating schedules and have tie breaking formulas in effect to determine a conference champion without a championship game. Alabama would have been SEC Champ in 2020 by virtue of being the only undefeated team in conference play.
Time to evolve thinking around traditional rivalry games. You may not get a UGA/Auburn or Alabama/Tennessee game every fall. Get over it we are trying to cure the opt outs here.
All current Power Five and Group of Five conference champions get an automatic playoff bid.
After that you fill out the rest of the playoff field with At-Large teams.
Football Playoff Committee selects 4-number one seeds to sit atop 4 brackets. You could name each bracket after four influential figures in the history of college football.
Each of the four brackets consists of 8 teams. The higher seeded team would host first round and second round games to get down to the final 8 teams.
Then you use traditional bowl games (Fiesta, Cotton, Citrus, and Peach) to determine bracket champions and narrow the field down to a final four
Use the Orange and Sugar Bowls as national semifinal games annually to determine the final two teams.
The National Championship Game will be played every New Year’s Day in the Granddaddy of them all The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
The Championship Playoff Committee could meet the week before Thanksgiving to set the field of 32.
Playoff would begin the Saturday after Thanksgiving with the National Championship game being played on January 1st.
Want to end the plague of opting out? I just laid out a plan on how to accomplish it.
If we had this playoff format in place today, I guarantee you Notre Dame would be the first number one seed to be eliminated.
Have a blessed 2021 everyone. I have opted out of 2020.