College football is finally, agonizingly, trepidatiously, changing.
Conferences are alternatively expanding and dying off in turn, there's a huge case that's about to thrust the issue of paying players to the forefront, scandal after scandal seems to be undermining the authority of the NCAA, and, in the midst of it all, we are about to jettison the beloved BCS formula for a highly dubious "playoff" system.
Let's get this out of the way: I am not happy with the idea of a playoff. This is America, dammit! We don't decide things in a fair and impartial manner! No, true Americans know that the only way to determine actual value is when a board of unknown, possibly ill-informed poster children for cronyism tell us what that worth is without any requirement to explain their methodology.
It works for the ESRB, the MPAA, the FDA, the EPA and a billion other acronyms, so you can understand why someone (like myself) who relies on other people to tell him how good something is would be pretty shaken by this whole playoff thing.
Well, it turns out my fears were unfounded. As Stewart Mandel wrote yesterday, not only will we not have to suffer through an expanded 8- or 10-team playoff that ensures competitive balance, we still get the fringe benefit of a small group of people, accountable to no one, determining who gets to participate in said playoff! Well thank God for that, and today, I'd like to offer nominate a few of my very favorite people in the world who I believe would make excellent additions to this shadowy cabal.
Note that I don't mean an individual ESPN employee here (although I'm sure that there are many who are qualified to make anonymous, baffling decisions on a regular basis). No, I mean ESPN the corporate identity as a whole.
Think about it. It'd be amazing, and it's kind of weird why we don't just entrust the entire selection process to them anyway. After all, they've essentially got a monopoly on the televised sports news content anyway, so why not just take the next logical step and allow them to directly influence the narrative that they get to create? I mean, yeah, you'd end up with some variation of USC, Alabama, Texas, and some rotation of Ohio State/second SEC team/random college from a top 5 TV market, but if
you think about it you'd just sit down and watch ESPN about it, you'd realize that these teams are just so awesome year in and year out that it makes perfect sense to include them.
One of those chickens that predicts the SUPERBOWL
Or dog, or octopus, or whatever, really. I think we can all get behind the idea of an animal helping to choose college football playoff teams, but only as long as it has a cute or funny name, like "Earl" or "Fin Fang Foom." If not, all bets are off.
Some Random intern at Fox Sports
"I like ya kid, I really do. You've got all the moxie in the world, with plenty of heart ta boot," said the hulking television executive as he slammed a hairy, meaty paw on the back of the sophomore from Fordham. "Listen, we've got this whole 'playoff' thing coming down the pike, and me and my buddies were wondering if you could do us a favor."
The executive pulled the gigantic cigar out of his mouth and leaned in closely. Too close. The nervous intern began to sweat as he could smell the tobacco and bourbon on the fat man's breath.
"TCU, Ole Miss, Montana, Harvard. Make it happen," intoned the large man as he slipped a $50 bill in the intern's breast pocket.
"B-but sir, some of these teams are terrible and I don't even think that Montana plays in the same–"
"Just do it, kid! TCU, Ole Miss, Montana, Harvard! I don't care who you have to bribe or tip off to the NCAA, just do it!"
"O-okay sir," said the intern meekly as the large, sweaty man stared holes through his skull.
Spencer Hall had a nice piece yesterday that brought this pressing issue to light:
.@callmeg_unit Simple Being a a Christian White male over 50 that's raised a family means nothing in today's culture. The sad truth. Period.— Tim Brando (@TimBrando) April 29, 2013
Well not today, SEC shill Tim Brando! I am going to do you a solid, and make sure that for once, old white dudes will finally get their voices heard. You're on the playoff selection committee, because dagnabit, I consider you to be just as qualified as any dog, chicken, or horse that can count by stomping its hooves.
And what's more than that, you're completely right! You only have a lucrative contract with one of the biggest sports networks in the world, 70 thousand Twitter followers, and a daily mouthpiece that allows you to reach hundreds of thousands more. If there were any justice in the world, 10 times that amount of people would be able to listen to and be directly affected by your dumbass opinions about sports, life, and a plethora of other things you are utterly unqualified to comment on.
You're in, buddy!
Doug lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer
This is mostly because I'm gunning for a "Twelve Angry Men" twist ending where one informed, upright juror manages to swing the vote to the side of justice, fighting the good fight against overwhelming odds. And also because the mental image of Doug ripping his hair out in a room filled with a duck, all of ESPN, a nervous intern, and Tim Brando is deeply humorous to me.
Yeah, that's right. Hell, I've been with 11W for three years as a writer and another three or so as a commenter; I'm just as qualified as any coach who doesn't have time to observe the other 119 or so teams in the country or the beat writer so intensely focused on one team that they have no time to watch any other games on a given weekend. Why not give ol' Johnny a crack at the big time? I promise to be just as unbiased as any of the other human nominees that I've proposed. Not the animal ones, though. Those dudes are rock solid.
And frankly, when 75% of the committee's work is done by preseason polls, does it really matter that much what my qualifications are?
What's so exciting about all of this is that all of my suggestions could be on the selection committee! Or it could be a hand-picked cross section of ADs and NCAA executives! Or sportswriters and coaches. Or the Muppets. The point is, even if we know, whoever is on the committee will answer to absolutely no one regarding their choices for the four-team playoff, which is just super exciting.
Way more exciting, even, than whatever games might arise from a more inclusive and expanded playoff. Because that'd be fair.
And fair is boring as heck.