PLAYOFF EXPANSION? NOT TO 8
The first College Football Playoff is rightly declared a success. After Ohio State's emphatic 42-20 victory over Oregon, we can finally proclaim a national champion in college football that's more substantial than mythical.
Well, almost. TCU is still out there and a legitimate argument can be made that it was unfairly excluded. The Horned Frogs likely won't finish worse than third in the final AP Poll, maybe even getting a few votes for second.
That's why well before all the golden confetti streamed down from the rafters at Jerry Jones' football palace Monday night, there was already plenty of talk about expanding the playoff. We're only in the first year of a 12-year pact for a four-team playoff, but there's already clamoring for an eight-team playoff, or even a 16-team playoff.
It's not gonna happen. Not anytime soon. And probably not going to be eight teams and certainly never 16 teams.
TOP 10 COLLEGE FOOTBALL TITLE GAMES
At long last, college football has a playoff at its highest level. The first champion of the College Football Playoff era will be crowned Monday at Jerry Jones' football palace in Arlington, Texas.
Oregon and Ohio State have a lot to live up to if they want to make the inaugural CFP championship game a smashing success. Even though college football never before had a playoff, there have been epic battles to decide the mythical national championship in the past. These games didn't come frequently - because of tie-ins, postseason bowls rarely matched up top-ranked teams. But a few came with great fanfare and somehow exceeded the hype and became legendary in sports lore.
It won't be easy for Monday night's game - or any subsequent title games - to crack this list. Here are our Top 10 Best College Football Title Games (with video highlights).
REQUIEM FOR SEC's 'DECADE OF DOMINANCE'
After the SEC's disastrous bowl season, college football's cognoscenti are all rushing to write the obituary of the conference's dominance. In fact, make that two disastrous bowl seasons.
The SEC is the only conference not to win a BCS/CFP bowl in the last two years, going 0-5. The much-acclaimed SEC West went 2-5 this bowl season, with only bottom dwellers Texas A&M and Arkansas winning their bowl games.
But could it be that this "SEC Dominance" is more myth than reality?
Sure, the SEC did win seven consecutive BCS titles. It even managed to stage the only BCS championship game featuring teams from the same conference. But did the SEC really "dominate" as much as it (and its media acolytes) say it did?
The BCS was very much an SEC creation, designed by former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer and refined by retiring SEC commissioner Mike Slive. It helped to raise the profile of an also-ran regional league devoid of major media markets into the premier conference in college football.
The college football championship game is just around the corner and then we make our way towards Super Bowl 2015. If you love football, then this is the best time of year! To view the latest
college and Super Bowl online betting odds check out the guys at BSB
here and get in on the wagering action.
SEC IS HISTORY. DUCK DYNASTY NEXT?
PASADENA, Calif. - They could've saved us all that trouble and just had the Rose Bowl the way it's meant to be played - Pac-12 vs. Big Ten in the Granddaddy of 'em All.
Instead, Oregon and Ohio State will face off in Jerry World, a palace built for pro football, to settle who gets the biggest prize in college football.
But the combatants in the inaugural College Football Playoff should be grateful that the BCS died a timely death. If it had been around for one more year, both the Ducks and Buckeyes would've been home watching the championship game as the the BCS standings would've matched up Alabama and Florida State instead.
Now the Jan. 12 game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, not only will settle the national championship question, it will also decide just which conference will inherit the mantle of "best conference in college football" from the dearly departed SEC.
WHEN LITTLE GUYS STILL HAD A
SAN DIEGO - Thirty years ago on this
field, in this bowl game, BYU became the last team not from the
current power five conferences to win college football's mythical
national championship. We pay tribute to that occasion because
something like that probably will never happen again.
The No. 1-ranked Cougars, the only unbeaten
Division I-A team not to lose a game before the bowl season in 1984,
were by conference rule obligated to play in the Holiday Bowl
instead of a more prestigious New Year's Day bowl game. Their
opponent certainly had brand recognition, but its 1984 squad was far
The 1984 Michigan team turned out to be the
only one in the Bo Schembechler era not to post a winning record. No
Michigan team in fact compiled a worse record in the 30-year period
between 1968-2007 after it lost to BYU in the Holiday Bowl to finish
Even after winning the game, 24-17, BYU had to
sweat it out for 12 long days. Because of their narrow victory,
there was rampant speculation that the Cougars might be jumped by
No. 2 Oklahoma if the one-loss Sooners could handle No. 4 Washington
in the Orange Bowl. But thanks in part to the infamous Boomer
Schooner incident that wiped out an OU field goal, the Huskies went
on to win 28-17, handing BYU its only national title.
BLAME HERBSTREIT FOR BIG 12 SNUB
The worst thing the Big 12 can do is going for the quick fix. When no such "fix" is needed.
Sure, the conference rightfully feels it got screwed by the selection committee after being the only Power 5 conference left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. But before the Big 12 runs out to hastily extend an invitation to Cincinnati or BYU or whomever to join the conference - or arrange a title game between its top two teams - it needs to ...
Stop. Just stop.
The Big 12 got left out not because it didn't stage a conference title game or because its conference champion didn't play a 13th game. It got left out because the selection committee proved to be no more discerning than the average fan who watches too much ESPN.
The fact is that if you replaced TCU with TEXAS, the Big 12 doesn't lose that final playoff spot to Ohio State and the Big Ten. Or if you replaced OHIO STATE with ILLINOIS, then the Horned Frogs would be on their way to New Orleans to face Alabama in a national semifinal game.
The Big 12 lost out because the schools it had in contention were small, private, Christian colleges, not college football behemoths like the four teams that made it. And in no small part because that's the way ESPN wanted it.
SEC CAN THANK UCLA FOR BCS RUN
The SEC dominated the second half of the BCS era, winning seven championships and firmly establishing itself as the premier conference in college football. That has led to an expansion of its footprint, added riches from television contracts, and a nascent network to be launched this August.
But none of it happens without the biggest upset in BCS history, a game that took place on the West Coast on the final day of the 2006 regular season. The end of one dynasty beget another.
USC entered its annual rivalry game in 2006 ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings. The Trojans were poised to appear in an unprecedented third consecutive BCS title game and all they had to do was handling their downtrodden, 5-6 crosstown rival. And why not? USC had won seven straight in the series and mauled the Bruins the year before, 66-19.
A simple USC victory would've set up a BCS title game against Ohio State, leaving Florida (and the SEC) on the sideline. It would've been an eighth consecutive season without an undisputed national title for the conference. After Tennessee won the first championship of the BCS era in 1998, the SEC only appeared in one title game in the subsequent seven seasons, and that resulted in LSU's split title with USC in 2003.
There was little doubt that USC would go on to trounce the Buckeyes in the BCS title game as Florida eventually did. The Trojans would've won their third national title in four years and left little doubt as to who truly rules the BCS. They likely would've gone to another one or two BCS title games in the following two seasons.
But that dynasty inexplicably got derailed on that December afternoon at the Rose Bowl by the underdog Bruins. USC's high-powered offense was totally stifled and shut out in the second half. It was the only time in Pete Carroll's final eight seasons at USC that his team would be held under double digits.
OTHER CONFERENCES SHOULD BOYCOTT SEC
The SEC wants to have its cake and eat it, too. The other conferences shouldn't lend it a fork.
The SEC's long-awaited resolution to its scheduling question is to not do a dadgum thing. It will continue to play eight conference games with just this one caveat
- each school is mandated to play another Big 5 conference team each season beginning in 2016.
But why should the other four of the Big 5 conferences accommodate this? What's in it for them?
By the 2016 season, the SEC will be the only one of the Big 5 conferences to play only eight conference games. The ACC also plays eight, but five conference members must play Notre Dame each year, so technically that makes it 8.35. The Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten will all be playing nine conference games by 2016.
Our previous extensive study of the 2014 out-of-conference (OOC) schedule already revealed that, across the board, the SEC plays the weakest non-conference games. Each of its 14 members plays one FCS team in its four OOC games and six of them don't play any OOC games on the road. Four SEC members have OOC schedules ranked in the bottom 10 among 124 non-independent FBS teams.
By keeping the the eight-game conference schedule, the SEC essentially tips the competitive scale in its favor for both the top and bottom teams. For teams vying to get into the four-team College Football Playoff field, they improve their chances by needing to win fewer games against top competition. For the cellar dwellers, they may qualify for a bowl berth with a mere 2-6 conference record.