I would like to begin today’s blog by wishing all of my friends and readers in the coastal regions of Texas, God Speed. I also would like to offer prayers for all to ride out Hurricane Harvey safely. Good luck to all!
Last night the College Football season opened in a limited capacity with fourteenth ranked Stanford and nineteenth ranked University of South Florida both seeing action. The season will begin in earnest on Thursday night with #2 Ohio State playing Indiana and #10 Oklahoma State going up against the University of Tulsa.
As yet another season gets underway, I have a few questions regarding the ranking system. First off, how are there rankings in place before any actual games are played? I know this goes on in basketball too, but the National Championship in basketball is determined by a 68 school tournament! Secondly, as the defending National Champions from Clemson defend their title, both the AP and USA Today have them ranked #5. How does that happen? How did they come out on top in January and sink to #5 in August? Was there a Spring League that was played in secret? How does Alabama take the top spot? Last I checked Alabama came out on the short end of a 35-31 score in the National Championship Game!
Clemson Tigers celebrate the 2016 National Championship.
Let’s digest this for a moment, Alabama, who LOST last year’s championship game begins the season as the top team in the nation. Clemson, who WON last year’s championship game needs to pass USC, Florida State, Ohio State, and Alabama to get back to where they ended last year. Not only are the defending champions not ranked on top to start the season, they aren’t even in a semi-final position. How did the Trojans, Buckeyes, and Seminoles cut in front of the defending national champs? None of this makes sense to this writer!
Let’s also examine the meaning of slots 1 through 4. In the current National Championship scheme, those are your four playoff positions. These are also determined by the poles, not by competition. How does Nick Saban and the boys have a leg up on everyone before the season starts? Were there style points given out in Spring Mini-Camp?
Coach Nick Saban leads the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide onto the field.
In looking at the opening weekend’s schedule, there is something else that is eye popping. Clemson opens the season with an “exposure game” vs. Kent State, while Alabama opens on a national stage vs. Florida State. So follow me on this one, if Florida State upsets Alabama, and Ohio State takes care of business on Thursday against Indiana, either Ohio State or Florida State will take the top spot. The defending champion Tigers will most likely take care of Kent State and not move anywhere.
To me this is a recipe to remove Clemson from competition before the season even gets rolling. College Football has been, is, and always will be a popularity contest based on performance and style points.
Some of you might remember a piece I wrote prior to last year’s Bowl Season. In my opinion, there are way too many Bowl Games that are contested by schools with either .500 or worse records. I am going to re-print my idea for a national tournament that I outlined last year. Just like each bracket in the basketball tournament has 16 teams, I believe that football should have a sixteen team national bracket. This would include the minor Bowl Games as part of the playoffs. This was based on last year’s top 16 (ignore the dates since I copied and pasted it from the original blog):
16 West Virginia vs 1 Alabama
15 Western Michigan vs 2 Clemson
14 Auburn vs 3 Ohio State
13 Louisville vs 4 Washington
12 Oklahoma St. vs 5 Penn State
11 Florida St. vs 6 Michigan
10 Colorado vs 7 Oklahoma
9 USC vs 8 Wisconsin
December 23 (since the NFL is playing on Christmas Eve this year):
National Quarterfinals (winners from December 17)
I also think we should scrap the preseason poles. The Top 25 should begin based on the first weekend’s results. I also think, just as the Super Bowl champion opens the following NFL season, the National Champion should be playing the marquis game on Opening Weekend.
Whether you like the system that’s in place or not, let’s root hard for our college boys! Good luck to all for a great 2017 season.