John Swofford is making some sense. Sort of, in a kind of “he’s making sense but then he went and said something that’s kind of stupid” sort of way.
Swofford is the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and this week he said what most of us already know; an eight-team college football playoff is the best way to go.
There’s a solid chance Swofford is making one of his own schools sweat a little bit here. With Florida State the only major college unbeaten left yet ranking third in the current four-team rankings, I’m guessing Jimbo Fisher doesn’t want to hear about an eight-team playoff any time soon.
Should his Seminoles stumble in their last three games though you can be darn sure Fisher would be supporting Swofford 100%.
This leads us to the points where what Swofford said don’t make a whole lot of sense.
First of all, Swofford said that by going to eight teams in a playoff, this would eliminate most of the controversy over who is in and who is out. The boss of the ACC apparently doesn’t pay close attention to the NCAA College Basketball Tournament shows where the hottest topics of conversation are about who got snubbed.
Regardless of who makes the playoff and regardless of how many make the playoff there will always be controversy.
Back to where Swofford is right… By letting in another four teams you add the “Cinderella” element to the playoffs. Take Marshall for instance right now. If we assume that in an eight-team playoff field the winners of the power five conferences would get automatic berths, that leaves three open spots.
In my opinion, Marshall would have to get a bid if they finished unbeaten. The two other bids would then go to at-large berths from the power five.
Think about that scenario for a second; you’d have Marshall as the eight seed no doubt playing against Alabama. No one would give the Herd a shot but that’s why they play the games though right?
Not having a “Cinderella moment” in college football is what is lacking from its’ postseason. We will still get great football games in the four-team playoff but there won’t be any true underdogs.
The other stupid thing that Swofford said was related to why the move to the eight-team playoff would be difficult. Stop me if you’ve heard this argument before… The university presidents are concerned with academics.
(Laughs for 20 minutes then returns to keyboard)
The majority of university presidents are not in favor of extending the season over two semesters. By adding one more week of playoffs, most two-semester schools would then enter into a second semester.
Don’t buy this for a New York minute. First of all, this would affect a very small amount of schools; probably four or so. Secondly, are we to believe that academics are suddenly so important when teams that reach the basketball final four basically miss classes for three weeks? Have you ever looked into just how much school these basketball players are missing?
If a team opens the tournament on a Thursday-Saturday pattern then most teams will attend classes on Monday and Tuesday and then travel to their site on Wednesday. Should they win and play again Saturday then the earliest they return to campus is late Saturday night or Sunday. If that pattern continues for the next two weeks that means players miss a total of a minimum of nine days of class.
Because basketball teams are smaller, they can actually have a decent number of tutors travel with them but still, please stop trying to use “education” as the reason for not expanding to an eight-game playoff. It’s a weak argument period.
At the very least, one of the power five conference commissioners has at least brought the subject to forefront and that’s a good thing.