You want rigged? Try college football

Hooter lifting the National Championship trophy, which was much more likely in 1979 than it is now.

For the first time in a long while, I checked out after halftime of college football’s national championship game on Monday.

I saw what I needed to see.

Some people have talked about rigged elections over the last month or so, but really–if you want rigged–looked no further than the state of college football today.

Alabama, as most of us figured out prior to the season, won the national championship. The Tide’s receiver is all world. Nick Saban is a great coach and, oh yes, Alabama is one of the few teams that uses a fullback (really a linebacker brought in for goal-line situations).

Seeing the same teams in the title game pretty much every year is just another in a long line of reasons why college football has become boring.

The national recruiting rankings come out every signing day and they mirror what happens four years later. All five star recruits go to places like Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama and, almost every year, the same teams are in the four-team playoff.

So 2025’s National Title has already been decided and the winner is (envelope please), Alabama. What a shock because the Tide’s 2021 recruiting class has been ranked No. 1.

The rich get richer while the poor press their noses against Mansion windows.

Mark Bright accepting his MVP trophy for a helluva ballclub in 1979.

What happened? There used to be a whole lot of different teams under consideration for the national title. Syracuse won it as recently as 1959. Hell, if Temple found 16 more points in the 1979 season, it would have finished unbeaten and probably would have played Alabama in the Sugar Bowl for all the marbles.

Those days are over, sadly.

Cincinnati gave Georgia a helluva game and probably should have won it except for some Andy Reid-level poor clock management in the final 2:45 of the game.

To me, Cincy proved it belonged in a four-team playoff–certainly more than Notre Dame did.

The gears of college football, though, are controlled by the Power 5 and they will never let a Group of Five team into the party.

That’s why the party should be more inclusive.

Teams like UCF (2017), Temple (2016) and Cincy (2020) deserved to be invited to the dance but will never be under the current system. If this were a graduating class of 129 in a high school, say, the 64 most popular kids would do everything in their power to keep the other kids from enjoying the same graduation.

That’s got to change.

How will it?

Ostensibly, the “bottom” 65 universities should also have strong presidents representing them and arguing a case for fairness to the governing body, the NCAA,

If some of those 65 can get even a handful of the other 64 to agree with them, then the rules should be modified to include things like an eight-team playoff, a scholarship limit of 75 (not the current 85) to make this entire boring offseason a little more interesting.

Anything less and you risk losing half of your fans and that’s not a business model even the most greedy among us should ever consider.

Until then, my interest in the so-called Final Four will continue to wane. I don’t think I’m the only one.

Monday: The projected Temple 22

13 thoughts on “You want rigged? Try college football

  1. I agree that the game is rigged but going to 75 scholarships is not the answer. The ten players who do not receive scholarships to the same four top teams will simply go to the next four ranked schools. naturally, these players have been rated as being not as good as the ones who received scholarships to the top four schools and if they play in accordance with their rankings,their teams will not beat the top four teams, which still end up getting the best players. In addition,the players who can’t go to the top four teams aren’t going to go to the TUs of the world. Thus, nothing will change except that the 1200 plus kids who otherwise would have received scholarships won’t. Although I am not a fan of the portal, it has one positive attribute which is that very good players stuck behind outstanding players are now free to transfer.Freedom to transfer means that the top schools no longer can control and stockpile most of the talent just to keep players from playing against them.

    Nothing stays the same and in a couple of years the top four may consist of completely different teams. Saban isn’t going to coach forever and the lure of the pros for the coaches of the other top schools may be too much to resist. Finally, there is a school of thought that says a lot of people like the status quo and that lesser known or popular teams are bad for ratings.

    • So just how unfair was the AAC and its conference champion treated this post season with respect to quality bowl bids in general, and a CFB Playoff spot specifically? When you look at the ACC with 2 Playoff bids, you see an 0-6 record in the bowls. AND Clemson and Duke had their respective heads handed to them in their playoff games. So had the AAC gone say 5-1 in their bowl games with a Cincinnati win over Georgia, then in hindsight Cincinnati not getting a playoff bid would’ve seemed largely unfair. Especially in comparison to the ACC having 2 playoff teams. But the AAC went 1-5 in the bowls with losses to Hawaii, Nevada and a 3-7 Mississippi State team. That record speaks for itself. The Big 12 went 6-0 in the bowls. Now they have, in hindsight, a claim to a rigged system that really benefits the Big 10, SEC and ACC (especially when ND is exercising its part time membership in the conference).

      So I guess I’m trying to make 2 points:

      1. When the AAC performs the way it did in this year’s bowl games, forget having a team in next year’s Playoff unless it’s champion goes undefeated with 2 or 3 20+ point wins over Top 25 P5 teams. Anything less and the AAC hasn’t demonstrated it deserves consideration.

      2. If things are rigged, then it’s more along the lines of only 3 power conferences being, as noted above, the Big 10, SEC and ACC. When playoff bids to non-conference champion or 2 loss teams are discussed, the truth is they’re talking about teams from those 3 conferences. And if any effective pressure to expand to an 8 team playoff happens, it might be because of some form of pressure (possibly political) from those large states with teams in the PAC 12 or Big 12.

      But I agree the CFB Playoffs is getting stale with the same roughly half dozen teams in the playoff every year. What makes March Madness great is the Cinderella upsets. As long as the 4 team playoff continues, there won’t be any Cinderella teams or AAC teams in the CFB Playoffs. That’s the reality of it.

  2. Take comfort in knowing that Temple provides just as many medical school scholarship as football scholarships. Alabama doesn’t even have a medical school, which shows us where their head is at. You’ll need a good proctologist to locate them.

    • Medical school doesn’t suppy millions of free advertising to Temple as national television exposure does to Alabama. The community also doesn’t seem to be as grateful to Temple for the hospital as the Tuscaloosa community is grateful to Alabama for the football team.

      • Sad but true. If I hit the Mega Million Jackpot, the Owls will have a waterfront spite stadium on the Delaware with a view of downtown and the Ben Franklin Bridge.

      • Plenty of room in Camden for that. They are going to knock down that relatively new $7 million 7K seat baseball stadium with a huge parking lot. If the New York Giants can play in East Rutherford, I guess a Pennsylvania university can play in New Jersey.

    • Pardon me, but have you ever heard of UAB? Med school is there. Penn State….no med school. UGA, USoCar, Miss St, Ole Miss, LSU, A&M have no med schools. Seems like med schools are located in big cities if you stop and think about it (Boston, NY, Newark, Phila, Baltimore, DC, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, LA, SF).

  3. A 4 team playoff should have been a test run to try a playoff, but never to keep it that way. 8 teams would with a rule that at least 1 or 2 teams from the G5 would be included would start to be more like March Madness (in January!). Which brings up that this P5-G5 thing is relatively new and is just a way to further divide things up to benefit only the big boys even more. They don’t want to divide the money, they want to horde it. I too couldn’t care less about the playoffs with the same old teams year in and year out. I live in Ohio but couldn’t care less about OSU – I care about TU teams to watch.

  4. Congratulations to Coach Arians. Looks like he’s going to the NFC Championship.

    Wish we’d get him back!

  5. There have been so many blow-outs with only four teams. Seems one or two teams are simply too stacked for the rest. Other than to give one or two others a sniff of it, seems that playing extra games would be simply to fill air time.

    Some years the fourth team is simply a pick ’em selection to fill the bracket. To your thinking, Cincinnati could have done as well as Clemson this year but A&M was howling about ND getting picked. They’d have gone nuts had they been passed over for UC. Not a reason though to not pick UC,.

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