The NCAA moves with the speed of Georgia red mud after a thunderstorm. This is a huge improvement since they measure progression against the quickness of the last ice age. But finally, after much bickering between the money creating athletic programs, the cash stuffed bowl series, and the aloof NCAA administrators, the vanguard of everything molasses has decided it will have a playoff.
The BCS is out and a playoff for the top four teams is in. The NCAA has decreed that these two extra college football games will continue to make all the rest of the bowl month useless. Before you run out and get your Buckeye shirt on, it is going to take a few years, in fact 2015 for any playoff systemto occur. The NCAA knows that it will take a few years to figure out how it will get Florida, Alabama and LSU in the four-team tournament and erase any hope of Boise State soiling their crystal football. But they are confident that they will continue to ignore enough recruiting violations, bribes, and academic regulations to get the right teams in every year.
There is no bravery here or innovation. There is no opening up the college football postseason to a true democratic judgment of talent. In fact, the NCAA does not fix any of the violations the SEC continues to gloat in the face of athletic and academic integrity. They do not take into account the safety of the young, non-compensated players, by limiting the number of regular season games or by coming up with a financial package for the student athletes. All they did was come up with a way to make more money, exploit athletes, and insure more cheating with no stipulations for graduate requirements. The NCAA did what it always does: they are making tons of money and not changing at all.
This is what they should have done.
The system should be used to highlight the top 16 teams. Starting on Thanksgiving weekend, all 16 will play making it a five round championship tournament. This will insure that all the bowl games will have meaning and stay profitable and valuable. There will be 31 games in total and that is plenty of college football for any avid fan. This will also allow smaller schools to show case their skills and institutions to a national audience while insuring the big name schools their chance to display their dominance.
If the NCAA made sure that no teams played more than 11 games during the regular season, then the most any player will have is a 16 game season. If the tournament lasts 6 weeks with a bye before the Big Game, then injuries should be held at a minimum. This will keep the players active and focused while producing the highest quality of football. This system will also insure that money is spread around the conferences to make even a better tournament in the following years by allowing money for player development and improving facilities.
This does not address player compensation, but it does make for a Thanksgiving madness with 8 games, a fun December with games of intensity and interest. The NCAA did not improve the game. They appeased the big Bowl sites and the SEC (and of course Ohio State). But then again, we are talking about the NCAA, the equivalent of Commodore 64 next to my Mac Pro.
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