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college football re-cap: the tide rolls, the buckeyes get cracked.

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Weekly national rankings don’t really matter all that much since the advent of the College Football Playoff. If you’ve spoken to be about college football for five minutes, you’ll quickly learn I’ve always felt the rankings were pointless until conference schedules are underway. Since we’re several weeks into things, I thought I’d weigh in.

I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of all the undefeated, one-loss and two-loss teams in the Power 5 conferences; although I’m not sure why I care about two-loss teams since none of them will ever sniff the CFP. I also included a handful of non-Power 5 teams to watch; teams like Navy, Western Michigan and Boise St. No, they won’t make the CFP, but I do feel they’re worthy of Top 25 status over most two-loss teams. If you have three losses, you’re out. Period. That means no more three-loss SEC teams get unfair consideration.

Anyway, I’ve been keeping track. As of the conclusion of Week 8, there are a total of 33 teams on this list. My Top Ten probably won’t look much differently than what you see from the AP or the Coaches Poll.

Here’s my Top 10:
1. Alabama (8-0)
After last night, there’s no doubt in my mind they’re the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, until someone else says otherwise.

2. Michigan (7-0)
As impressive as the offense is, Michigan’s defense is even more impressive. Thus far, they’ve lived up to expectation. From this point forward, the season only gets tougher with three important road games (Michigan State, Iowa, Ohio State).

3. Clemson (7-0)
The Tigers have been flirting with disaster all season long, yet continue to find ways to win. Florida State this weekend will be their biggest test since Louisville.

4. Washington (7-0)
The Huskies are quietly putting themselves into CFP contention, thanks to high-powered offense and solid defense. The’ve got a tough road game at Utah this weekend, which could end up being a Pac-12 championship game preview.

5. Texas A&M (6-1)
As strong as the Aggies are, they are a distant second in the SEC right now. Unless something happens to ‘Bama, the Aggies are playing for the Sugar Bowl or something.

6. Nebraska (7-0)
This year’s Iowa. The Cornhuskers have had a similar ride as Michigan, thus far. Road games at Wiscy and Columbus over the next two weeks will be the ultimate tests for Nebraska.

7. Louisville (6-1)
That loss to Clemson means the Cardinals are relying on help from Clemson’s upcoming opponents the rest of the way. Even if they win out, Louisville needs Clemson to lose twice to have a chance at the ACC championship.

8. Ohio State (6-1)
No one—and I mean NO ONE!—anticipated Ohio State losing at Penn State. I still don’t know how it happened. But it hurt. The Buckeyes’ season is hardly over, though. They control their own destiny. Of course, The Game is going to decide the B1G championship.

9. Baylor (6-0)
This is not a great year for the Big XII. But Baylor has established itself as the top of this weak, weak heap. West Virginia might move its way past Baylor soon, but for now…who cares. Neither team has really distinguished itself this season yet, if you ask me.

10. Utah (7-1)
Don’t fall asleep on the Utes. This is a rising program amidst a tumultuous period for the Pac-12. UCLA, USC, Oregon and Stanford or vulnerable these days and Utah has moved to supplant them. No, they haven’t really played anyone yet, but they are undefeated. In my book, that does count for something (but don’t be surprised if they’re not here next week).

Games of Ultimate Consequence
Clemson (7-0) at Florida State (5-2)—The Seminoles are playing for pride. The Tigers are playing for a second consecutive ACC championship. I expect this to be a close game with the Clemson defense dictating the outcome.
Prediction: Clemson

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Alabama (8-0) at LSU (5-2)—Since firing its head coach, LSU has been rejuvenated, winning three straight games in convincing fashion. But they won’t have enough to take out Alabama.
Prediction: Alabama

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Michigan (7-0) at Michigan State (2-5)—I’ll admit, this is a sentimental pick for me. On the surface, it looks like a gimme for the Wolverines, who have only had a couple serious challenges all season long. But who could forget last year’s finish between the two in Ann Arbor? Sure, Sparty has fallen hard and fast this season, but it’s a rivalry game. Anything can happen in rivalry games. Mark Dantonio will have his team fired up to play the role of spoiler once again in a series that’s become insanely personal for him. On that same turn, Jim Harbaugh has kept his Wolverines hungry, intense and prepared for every challenge. I doubt he’ll let his team look past a rival.
Prediction: Michigan

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That’s my two cents. You may think I’m a complete idiot, but that’s okay. Disagree? Leave it in the comments.

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college football week 6 recap: the georgia pyrites strike again!

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Now that everyone’s settled into their conference schedules, the separation between good teams and great teams is well underway. Sort of.

Most Impressive Win
Lots of choices for this category. Could be Texas over Oklahoma. Could be Washington State over USC. Could even be Utah over Cal. Nope. It’s Michigan over Northwestern. The Wildcats got everyone’s attention by holding Stanford to six points in their first game of the season. Since then, Stanford’s been a scoring machine, averaging more than 40 points in their next four games. Not only did Michigan hang 38 points on Northwestern, they also pitched their third consecutive shutout of the season.

The Fightin’ Harbaughs are putting everyone on notice: do not look past the Wolverines. Of course, it gets no easier for Michigan. They host instate rival Michigan State next Saturday in what will be their biggest test of the season (until the next one).

Georgia Bulldogs = Fool’s Gold
I have never, ever, ever, EVER been a believer in the Georgia Bulldogs. Invariably, some hack on ESPN lays it out there early in the season that “this is UGA’s year!” Yeah, easy to say after they beat up on an FCS school in Week 1. After last week’s loss to Alabama, I felt slightly vindicated. Watching Tennessee come back from a 28-3 deficit to win the game. From hereon, the Georgia Bulldogs shall be known as the Georgia Pyrites. Why? Because they’re FOOL’S GOLD!

The Contenders & the Pretenders
I’ll put together my own Top Ten, but let’s look at it this way first: who’s a contender? Who’s a pretender? Let’s get into it:

The Contenders
Clemson (5–0 / 2–0)—They already beat a quality (albeit banged up) Notre Dame. The rest of their schedule comes down to two tough games: at Miami and at home vs. Florida State. Don’t be surprised if the Tigers run the table.

TCU (6–0 / 3–0)—The best team in the nation, if you ask me. Trevone Boykin is a Heisman contender and leads a high-powered offense that has a tendency to hang 50 points on opponents. Try and keep up with them. They dare you.

Notre Dame (5–1)—Against all odds and against all injuries, I’m still leaving the door open for the Irish. I’ve been impressed with ND’s ability to shake off adversity and keep coming back. The Clemson loss was a bitter, bitter pill. Next weekend’s rivalry game against USC will tell us a lot about Notre Dame. I still see ND as having an outside shot to make a playoff.

Ohio State (6–0 / 2–0)—The Buckeyes found their groove again this week against lowly Maryland. Until someone knocks them off, OSU is the top team in the B1G. They’ve got Penn State at home this week. Some are hyping it as a big game. I see OSU rolling over the Nittany Lions. Ohio State’s entire season will boil down to the last two Saturdays of their season. Period.

Utah (5–0 / 1–0)—What’s a Ute? The only undefeated team in what I consider the most competitive of the Power 5 conferences. With every passing week, their opening season victory over Michigan looks more and more impressive. And it would appear Utah flat-out broke the Oregon Ducks! How are they doing it? Well, they’re not flashy. They’re just playing solid, consistent football.

Texas A&M (5–0 / 2–0)—With the exception of Arkansas, A&M is beating everyone handily. In my mind, they’re the best team in the SEC, but that could change this weekend when they host Alabama. Beat ‘Bama, you remain a Contender. Lose? Bu-bye, 12th Man.

The Pretenders
Florida State (5–0 / 3–0)—After Ohio State, Florida State has a pretty weak schedule. All that’s left for them is Clemson and a resurrected Florida. Everett Golson has fit in nicely with the Seminoles. We’ll see if that remains the case, or if he’ll start throwing the ball to DBs, like he did so often in South Bend (when he wasn’t cheating on his exams). But I don’t see FSU getting past Clemson.

Michigan State (6–0 / 2–0)—Sparty could very well prove me wrong. But six weeks into the season and MSU hasn’t really been all that impressive. They win ugly, which certainly counts. But their two conference wins were eeked out over lower-level B1G programs. Like I said, they could prove me wrong. This week at The Big House will be their first big game since beating Oregon in Week 2.

LSU (5–0 / 3–0)—Well, they’re playing like the big boys of the SEC. Right now. They haven’t really beaten any team of great consequence. Sure, everyone’s showering RB Leonard Fournette with well-deserved accolade, but let’s hold off on crowning LSU until we see how they fare against unbeaten Florida this weekend.

Dark Horses
Stanford (4–1 / 3–0)—One constant remains in college football: if you lose early, you can recover. Stanford laid an egg in Week 1, but have been rolling ever since. Their Thursday night game against UCLA this week will be a turning point for both teams.

Iowa (6–0 / 2–0)—Yes, the Hawkeyes are undefeated, but it’s way too early to book your trip to Indy for the B1G championship. They go on the road to Northwestern this week in their biggest test since beating Wiscy a few weeks ago. Iowa plays in the weak division of the conference, so, perhaps you can book a trip to Indy, but let’s hold off on CFB talk.

Florida (6–0 / 3–0)—Don’t look now, but the Gators are quietly climbing the board. After beating Ole Miss and Mizzou, Florida has a couple tough games ahead: LSU and Georgia (I think they’re good, not great). If the Gators are undefeated after the next four games, they could become a contender.

My Top Ten
1. TCU
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Utah
5. Baylor
6. Michigan State
7. Texas A&M
8. LSU
9. Florida State
10. Florida

The Big Three
These are the three games this weekend with major postseason implications. You should watch each of these games.

Alabama (5–1 / 2–1) at Texas A&M (5–0 / 2–0)—LSU has to play both of these teams. Whomever wins this game is going to challenge LSU for the division title.

USC (3–2 / 1–2) at Notre Dame (5–1)—The Irish should be a heavy favorite in this one, but it’s a rivalry game. We already know USC’s season is effectively over. For ND, a win means they are still in the hunt. The Irish have no room for error.

Michigan State (6–0 / 2–0) at Michigan (5–1 / 2–0)

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, calmly discussing a matter with an official.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, calmly discussing a matter with an official.

The importance of this game has grown with every week Michigan wins. This will be a bloodbath. Sparty needs a signature win to prove they belong in the CFB conversation. This will be Michigan’s biggest test of the season…until the final weekend.

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week 12 college football review: the playoff picture is getting clearer.

Sorry, kids. I had a life this weekend and really didn’t watch any college football. There is no Week 12 review. Suffice it to say the Mississippi State loss and Florida State win changed the top ranking. For my money, the playoff teams right now look like:
* Florida State
* Alabama
* Oregon
* TCU or Baylor (I’m leaning toward Baylor)

It doesn’t matter yet, though. There are a two teams that can change this Top 4 (or Top 5, as it were), but not many:
* Ohio State
* Mississippi State

So, yeah. We’re down to a six-horse race for four berths. In the past, I was a vocal opponent to the idea of multiple teams from one conference making it to the playoff. Now, it could be a very real possibility. But it’s not necessarily the teams you might think. I could see a scenario where TCU and Baylor both make the playoff, but only if every SEC team left at the end as two losses and Ohio State loses along the way. But that’s a long shot. What could really handicap the Big 12 teams is the fact that they don’t have a championship game. I don’t know where the committee will land on it, but for my money, it would be hard for me to slot TCU or Baylor over a one-loss Ohio State that had to play that one, extra game to prove itself.

On a similar note, I would have trouble putting any two-loss team ahead of a Big-12 or B1G team, regardless of conference championships.

This entire process is rather fluid and is going to be as much an art as it will be a science. Chances are it’ll work itself out in the long run. But to me, it only adds validation to my eight-team playoff proposal. In that scenario, all five conference champions are in. After that, the conference can decide if an undefeated Marshall or one-loss Colorado State deserves shot. If fans love March Madness™ underdogs, imagine how they’d feel about Marshall getting a seat at the table.

I guess that, and most of the hypothetical rumination, will just have to wait another day.

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college football week 11 wrap-up: i think everett golson just threw another INT.

"Coach Kelly will not be receiving an audience today. He is currently under the influence of horse tranquilizers to calm his nerves."

“Coach Kelly will not be receiving an audience today. He is currently under the influence of horse tranquilizers to calm his nerves.”


The College Football Playoff picture may appear to be taking shape, but don’t believe anything you see in this week’s rankings. It is almost assured it will change next Saturday. Like the midway point of a game of musical chairs, many teams lost their seats on Survival Saturday yesterday, but we are far from over.

National championship hopes for Auburn, Kansas State, Michigan State and Notre Dame all came crashing down. Or, in Notre Dame’s case, were thrown away. Repeatedly. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson threw four interceptions yesterday. Four! And if that weren’t enough, he fumbled the ball once, too. Brian Kelly’s cardiologist might even call Golson and plead with him to shape up, for the sake of his coach’s soon-to-be-exploding heart.

Alabama dodged a bullet, thanks to the most peculiar fourth quarter (in terms of LSU coaching) I’ve ever seen. What I predicted weeks ago—the SEC West would beat itself up—is happening. Next week will drive the final nail in the coffin for all those people who believe more than one SEC team will make the playoff. Not gonna happen. Mississippi State and Alabama are the last two elites standing. And they square off next Saturday night. Whomever wins that game will be in the driver’s seat.

It’s not like it took some great, mystical powers to figure this out. All I did was read the damn team schedules. All the top SEC West teams play one another. It doesn’t take The Amazing Kreskin to puzzle out that they’re going to knock one another out of contention.

A Playoff Without the SEC? It Could Happen
Here’s the real possibility that no one is talking about: NO SEC teams make the playoff. Think I’m crazy? Consider this: If Alabama beats Miss. St. and claims the SEC West with an 11-1 overall record and goes on to lose the conference championship team, ending the season 11-2, should they or an 11-1 Miss. St. team be considered over a one-loss conference champion from the Big 12, Pac-12 or B1G? No, if you ask me. Because doing so would be tantamount to saying records and championships matter less than perceived strength of schedule.

If Florida State goes undefeated (they will), and Oregon, TCU and Ohio State all win their conferences with only one loss each, who in their right mind would put a two-loss team from any conference in the playoff over those teams? Sadly, I can see that very thing happening. But the chances of an SEC-less playoff are greater than you think, too.

"I want to gnaw the face off that guy."—Mark Dantonio, head coach, Michigan State Spartans

“I want to gnaw the face off that guy.”—Mark Dantonio, head coach, Michigan State Spartans

Most Impressive Win This Weekend
Arizona State’s drubbing of Notre Dame is impressive. In fact, all the games featuring top-ranked teams basically lived up to the hype. But Ohio State’s authoritative win over Michigan State at East Lansing was the one I least expected. And they made it look easy. Most people wrote off Ohio State after losing at home to Virginia Tech. But now, they have positioned themselves to make a case for the playoff. Their season is far from over, but if they win the conference, it’s tough to deny them.

In the meantime, the pool of teams vying for the four playoff slots is really down to about eight or nine. Even though a couple two-loss teams are going to sneak into the Top Ten, they’re just there for show.

My Top TenMy List of Teams That Can Win the Championship
Screw Top Ten rankings. It doesn’t matter anymore. We’re down to three undefeated teams and nine one-loss teams in FBS. And three of those teams (Marshall, Duke and Colorado State) won’t factor into the playoff. I figure there are eight teams still in contention for the four playoff spots. Before we get to them, let’s pay our respects to the fallen teams this week.

in-memoriam
Michigan State (7-2 / 4-1)—I really thought this was Sparty’s year. I really did. I guess we should’ve learned how it ends for State by watching The 300: lying dead, in a pit, next to the body of Gerard Butler.
Auburn (7-2 / 4-2)—I suppose this loss at home to A&M was karma coming back to collect after last year’s magical ride.
Kansas State (7-2 / 5-1)—It was a longshot for K-State to make it through their gauntlet of a season unscathed. It’s a pretty tall order to win on the road at Oklahoma, TCU, West Virginia and Baylor…all in one season.

The Contenders
1. Florida State (9-0 / 6-0)—Still, in my mind, the best team on the field. Off the field, a complete train wreck. But they are a beatable No. 1, so they better watch out for Duke.
2. Mississippi State (9-0 / 5-0)—They had the week off, playing Tennessee-Martin in their annual in-season scrimmage (an SEC tradition I despise). Nothing like a glorified intra-squad game to tune up for ‘Bama!
3. Oregon (9-1 / 3-1)—Not their prettiest effort this week, but the Ducks are my pick to win it all.
4. Baylor (8-1 / 5-1)—Call this a course correction. Baylor belongs ahead of TCU. They have a big test to end their season, but if they run the table, the Bears should be in the playoff.
5. TCU (8-1 / 5-1)—I was not expecting the Frogs to win so resoundingly over K-State. But they need a Baylor loss to have a chance.
6. Alabama (8-1 /5-1)—An impressive win vs. LSU, but this week’s home game vs. Miss. St. will be the game of ultimate consequence in the SEC. If the Tide wins, THEN I’ll slot them higher.
7. Arizona State (8-1 / 5-1)—The Sun Devils are much better than anyone realizes because nobody sees their games on TV. Thumping Notre Dame went a long way, but they’re a long way from being a contender.
8. Ohio State (8-1 / 5-1)—Beating Sparty in Lansing so resoundingly is impressive; a signature win in an otherwise season of cupcakes (but don’t look past Minnesoooota, now).

The Dark Horses
Only a handful of teams can truly upset the apple cart and turn this burgeoning debacle of a playoff system into complete chaos. They are:
Nebraska (8-1 / 4-1)—The Huskers have a legitimate shot at making the playoff, but it’ll require several dominoes falling, first. Their season is far from over, too. Wiscy next week, followed by a vastly underrated Minnesota team will not be easy outs.
Duke (8-1 / 4-1)—The only thing Duke can do is spoil Florida State’s run in the ACC championship. The Blue Devils play a pretty weak schedule. But if they win the ACC and a few other things happen (Pac-12, Big 12 and B1G champions crap all over themselves), then they have a shot at completely embarrassing themselves in a playoff making the playoff.
Colorado State (9-1 / 5-1)—The Rams are truly a force with whom to be reckoned. CSU’s artful annihilation of arch-rival Colorado to open the season put the entire FBS on notice. I’m totally kidding. Who????? They’ll get a bowl game and they’ll like it. Playoff? Don’t talk so foolish.

The Other Undefeated Team
Marshall (9-0 / 5-0)—Yes, undefeated…in a weak, weak conference. Give them a Top 25 ranking and a Jan 1 bowl game and call it even. Maybe they can play CSU in the Who Gives A Rat’s Ass? Bowl.

Week 12 Games of Ultimate Consequence
Week 11 was, without a doubt, the best overall week of competition we’ve seen this season. Next weekend isn’t going to earn as much hype, but there are a few subtle games on the docket that could have major post-season implications.

Mississippi State (9-0 / 5-0)at Alabama (8-1 / 5-1)
This is essentially the final round of the SEC Round Robin tournament. The winner of this game is the likely representative in the CFB playoff…providing they win the rest of their games after this, plus the conference championship. In other words, it’s not over yet, but this game and this weekend should lay to rest any notion of multiple SEC teams in the playoff. Look for ‘Bama to win this one.

Ohio State (8-1 / 5-1) at Minnesota (7-2 / 4-1)
This is an important game for Ohio State. After a huge road win over Sparty, it would be easy to think the Golden Gophers are a gimme. Yes, Ohio State will be favored, but Minnesota is quietly piecing together a strong season. Jerry Kill’s Gophers haven’t played a ranked opponent yet, so this is their coming-out game. They need this win to prove they’re legit. But Minnesota is about to get schooled. Ohio State wins big.

Florida State (9-0 / 6-0) at Miami (6-2 / 3-2)
Sure, Miami isn’t an elite program these days, but this is a rivalry game. The Hurricanes could be looking for respect while the Seminoles continue to look for distractions from their off-field woes. FSU is playing better in recent weeks, but this will be the most hostile environment they enter this season. Don’t be surprised if Miami pulls off the upset.

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game of thrones: the battle for the college playoff berths.

ncf_trophy1_ms_600x400The first College Football Playoff ranking comes out later this week. If they’re anything like the weekly rankings, the season is about to play out like a bloody season of Game of Thrones. From where I’m sitting, there are about five or six that could make a legitimate claim to be there. I’m not a fan of stuffing the ballot box with SEC schools—especially since they all will end up playing one another before the season’s over—so for me, I think only one SEC school deserves to be there. If the committee agrees, that opens the door for Notre Dame and Michigan State. I don’t even care what the committee says tomorrow. We’re only in the middle of this story.

In the end, the four-team playoff should something like this:
1. Florida State
2. SEC Champion
3. Oregon
4. B1G Champion or Notre Dame

The Seminoles are going to win out. No one is going to beat them. Mississippi State, Alabama and Auburn will continue beating up one another, so only one SEC school will be left standing. That’s all you need. Oregon will likely run the table in the Pac-12…unless Arizona wins the rest of its games. Depending on how USC’s season plays out, the Pac-12 championship game could be a rematch.

Michigan State has one more big game on its schedule in two weeks: Ohio State. If the Spartans win, they are all but guaranteed a berth in the B1G championship game. However, Nebraska is a dark horse in the conference. Should the Huskers win their division, they get a second shot at State in Indianapolis and they might have a rightful claim to one of those spots.

In other words…nothing matters until the end of November.

As for right now, here’s how I think the College Football Top 10 should look Sunday morning:
1. Mississippi St. (7-0)
2. Florida State (7-0)
3. Oregon (7-1)
4. Alabama (7-1)
5. Auburn (6-1)
6. Notre Dame (6-1)
7. Michigan State (7-1)
8. TCU (6-1)
9. Georgia (6-1)
10. Kansas State (6-1)

In reality, I think Auburn and Notre Dame should be tied for the No. 5 spot. Ole Miss is long gone after losing to No. 24 LSU. Yeah, the Tigers are a tough opponent and Ole Miss was in it right to the end, but I don’t care. They still lost.

Week 10 Match-ups of Note
Seemingly there are no big, marquee games on the schedule next week. The games may not be sexy, but a closer examination shows a handful of major showdowns:
Florida State (7-0) at Louisville (6-2)—Okay, so this Thursday night game isn’t that big a deal…unless you’re Notre Dame. Irish fans are still chapped over the end of the ND-Florida St. game and are hoping Louisville does to the Seminoles what the Irish did not.
Auburn (6-1) at Ole Miss (7-1)—If Ole Miss wins, bu-bye Auburn. And get used to this theme. The SEC will cannibalize itself over the next few weeks. Count on it.
TCU (6-1) at West Virginia (6-2)—The Mountaineers are giant killers this season. The Frogs better watch out.
Stanford (5-3) at Oregon (7-1)—The Cardinal’s playing for nothing but pride right now. A win over Oregon would send the Ducks’ season into a tailspin.
Arizona (6-1) at UCLA (6-2)—Arizona is one of four Pac-12 teams with only one loss. But you never hear about that with ESPN slobbering all over the SEC, do you?

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for the love of the eight-team playoff.

ncf_trophy1_ms_600x400I’ve taken an extended hiatus from picking college football games—because I clearly suck at it—but I remain a steadfast fan of the sport. I am also a fan of this year’s inaugural four-team national championship playoff. I’m taking a wait-and-see approach to it; going to be curious to see how the committee determines the four teams. Sure, it’ll be easy to to get your top two seeds, but No. 3 and No. 4 are certain to lead to a season of discontent for whomever is in the top five and not participating in the playoff.

Because the final polls are sometimes skewed and the voters’ criteria one season is not adhered to the following season—and the BCS was a complete and total joke—it’s best to let the teams decide it on the field. But four teams, to me, is just not enough. I advocated last year for an eight-team playoff and I hold to that.

Why eight teams? Because it rewards conference champions in the five power conferences and allows for other top-tier teams a shot to prove themselves. I mean, should Alabama be out of the picture because it’s one loss came at the end of last season? Should Baylor not have a chance to prove it can hang with Auburn and Florida State?

How would an eight-team playoff work? Fairly simply. You take the conference champions from the ACC, B1G, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC + three wildcard teams—leaving room for those conference bridesmaids and/or major independents (Notre Dame) to compete for the title. It adds one additional weekend from our current four-team structure and would be decided long before the NFL ramps up its Super Bowl hype. People who argue against an eight-team playoff must then hold the same view for the NCAA’s annual basketball national championship tournament, because my proposal is the same, on a much smaller scale. And if you think an eight-team playoff leaves room for a weak-sister team to sneak in, think again.

Here’s how the top eight teams would’ve been seeded last season:
1. Florida State, 13-0
2. Auburn, 12-1
3. Alabama, 11-1
4. Michigan State, 12-1
5. Baylor, 11-1
6. Ohio State, 12-1
7. Stanford, 11-2
8. Missouri, 11-2

So the “brackets” would be:
1. Florida State vs. 8. Missouri – Orange Bowl
4. Michigan State vs. 5. Baylor – Rose Bowl

2. Auburn vs. 7. Stanford – Sugar Bowl
3. Alabama vs. 6. Ohio State – Fiesta Bowl

Following weekend
1/8 winner vs. 4/5 winner
2/7 winner vs. 3/6 winner

Following weekend
National Championship Game

You retain the traditional major bowl games, giving premium to conference champions (but not beholden to it), add one more weekend of college football and all the best teams get a shot to settle it on the field. Will there be debates over the wildcard teams? Always. But I’d rather be debating over a No. 8 seed than a No. 4 seed.

For the three additional games, the NCAA could use its four major bowl game sites or (and I think this would be a boon for the NCAA), allow for bids on neutral site locations, similar to the Big Dance™. Again, it would not tread upon the legacy of the bowl games and it would create opportunities for fans to experience these games in a unique, big atmosphere.

I could very easily see semi-final and championship games played in Dallas, or Indianapolis, or New Orleans. You can’t tell me fans wouldn’t flock to these games. And the argument that the season would be overextended doesn’t really hold water when you consider this year’s championship game is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 (In Arlington, Texas, by the way).

By my count, if you hold the first round games (the traditional bowl games) on Thursday, Jan. 1, the semifinals could be held on the weekend of Friday, Jan. 9 and Saturday, Jan. 10, with the Championship game being held on either Friday, Jan. 16 or—since the NCAA wants premium primetime viewing—a week later than already scheduled: Monday, Jan. 19.

So, why not, NCAA? How about an eight-team playoff.

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my very own sweet sixteen party.

In Focus...Rick Pitino's top-seeded Louisville Cardinals will play the No. 12 seed Oregon Ducks Thursday night in Indianapolis.

In Focus…Rick Pitino’s top-seeded Louisville Cardinals will play the No. 12 seed Oregon Ducks Thursday night in Indianapolis.

We started with 68 on Tuesday, and now we’re down to the Sweet Sixteen™. Now that the field is set, I have the itinerary of games for next weekend’s Midwest Regional games for which I’ll be the PA announcer at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Game 1
(1) Louisville Cardinals vs.
(12) Oregon Ducks
Friday, 29 March 2013 | Tip-off: 7:15 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Game 2
(3) Michigan State Spartans vs.
(2) Duke Blue Devils
Friday, 29 March 2013 | Tip-off: 9:45 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Game 3
Louisville/Oregon vs.
Michigan State/Duke
Sunday, 31 March 2013 | Tip-off: TBD
Television: TBD

Am I nervous? Not yet. I’m excited. This regional features college basketball royalty: Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino and Tom Izzo. I’m most looking forward to the Duke-Michigan State game. That will be like a championship game all by itself. The game will also feature a kid from my hometown of Bay City, Michigan, freshman Matt Costello. Not sure if he’ll get in the game or not, but it’s kinda cool.

I expect these games to be well attended. Louisville fans will make the short trip from Kentucky, no doubt. Sparty fans and Duke fans travel well, too. I have no idea how many Oregon fans will make the trip, but their Ducks should give Louisville a run for their money.

Prior to this weekend, the largest event I’ve ever worked was in front of 4,000 – 5,000 people over at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Lucas Oil Stadium will be set up to hold 45,000 for these games. That is a HUGE crowd!

But I’m not nervous…yet. 🙂

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