Expand the Playoff

(You Cowards)

October 22, 2019 - 11:23 am

Expand the playoff you cowards.

The argument that the college football regular season is a playoff is a farce. Really? Alabama vs Campbell has playoff implications? I don’t think so.

As of the moment I’m writing this blog there are 4 “Group of 5” programs currently ranked in the AP top 25: #16 7-0 SMU, #18 6-1 Cincinnati (who’s only loss came to undefeated #3 Ohio State on the road), #21 6-0 Appalachian State, #22 6-1 Boise State, with 6 more in the “others receiving votes” category. The group of 5 represents 16% of ranked teams and 27% of the teams receiving votes from AP voters.

You might be saying “well that doesn’t sound all that impressive, roughly 50% of FBS college football programs only representing 16 and 27% of ranked teams respectively. And in response I ask you to take into account the tremendous bias that Group of 5 programs face in comparison. Yes, the competition is different but even that statement has its pitfalls. Is it really? Outside of the top 3 or 4 programs in every conference the rest are pretty awful. Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Pitt, Purdue, Oregon State, Kansas State…you can’t prop up a conferences “superior strength” based on that cast of characters. You also have to consider that 4 “Group of 5” schools are competing at an exceedingly high level with a miniscule fraction of the resources granted to “Power 5” programs solely because of their conference affiliation. Take that $35 million a year gift away from Vanderbilt and watch them sink further into obscurity. Now give $35 million a year to a program with a winning culture (and a history of doing more with less) like a Boise State or Appalachian State and imagine those possibilities. Overnight scholarship budgets are met, facilities enhancements are green lit, recruiters are put on private jets instead of driving their cars, and marketing machines start turning their wheels at a pace never seen before.

All this to say that despite what the sneering jeering snooty P5 fans think, there is excellent football being played just over the hill, and the only reason for exclusion is unjustifiable fear. You’re afraid of what might happen if you give better programs even a taste of the exposure and resources granted to you by some arbitrary agreement 75 years ago. Anecdotal evidence is all we have. So you look at a P5/G5 blow out and say “see, we told you so”. But you’re basing your argument on one of the most un-level playing fields imaginable.

The top half of group of 5 football is good. The bottom half stinks. The top level of power 5 football is good. The bottom half stinks. The only thing that separates them is resources and access. Relative resource equality will never come until a relegation system is enacted or the ESPN TV rights bubble bursts. Access can be granted…if you’ve got the cajones.

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