Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Debate Continues... 4 or 8 Team Playoffs?

Late in the evening on January 11th we will have an undisputed National Champion for the second straight year with the College Football Playoff.

While there will always be one or two fan bases who think their team got robbed of the pivotal #4 spot, but I think the Committee did a pretty good job this year. I'm sure fans of Iowa and Ohio State are upset, but Michigan State won the Big Ten. I'm happy to see a different conference in each of the four spots.

Stanfurd fans could possibly have a beef too, but they ended at 10-2. Their week one loss at Northwestern was a huge blunder. They looked as if they were still asleep as they played flat and with little enthusiasm. The Pac12 has to get an agreement with other conferences that games played in the Central or Eastern time zones do not start until at least Noon pacific time, but I digress. I will say this, and as a Cal season ticket holder it pains me to say, Stanfurd looked like one of the best 4 teams in November and on Championship Saturday.

By now we've all heard the talking heads on ESPN and elsewhere say the playoff needs to be expanded to 8 teams. Well, I said that 4 years ago right here on my blog. Former FSU QB & ESPN CFB guy Danny Kanell is very outspoken on this subject.

Is an 8 team playoff good for CFB? Hell yes! Major pros: money, money, money. Additional revenue for 8 teams, conferences, and every FBS team. Four additional fan bases who are very happy! Major cons: one more game, possible interference with school.

So let's look at what this years first round might have looked like with an 8 team playoff:

1 Clemson vs 8 Notre Dame
2 Alabama vs 7 Ohio State
3 Mich State vs 6 Stanfurd
4 Oklahoma vs 5 Iowa

Game 1-8: In week 4 the Tigers eeked out a victory 24-22 over the Fighting Irish. Clemson is undefeated and ND only lost to Clemson & Stanfurd. This would be a helluva rematch.

Game 2-7: I hate both teams, mainly for their obnoxious fans, but you can't argue that Nick & Urb are program builders and more importantly winners. Another game that is a win for the fans.

Game 3-6: The Rose Bowl on Steroids. Big Ten Champ vs Pac 12 Champ. Very similar styles of play and two stout defenses. And who would not like to watch Christian McCaffery go against Sparty's defense?

Game 4-5: I'm still not sold on Iowa and I really like the Sooners this year. But will the Big Game bite Bob in the ass once again? Stoops & Ferentz coached together back in the early 80's on the Iowa staff. This would be an old school grinding game with Baker Mayfield airing it out for OU.

In all reality any of those 4 mythical games could result in an upset, and I'm 90% sure that at least one of the 5-8 teams would win on the field. All four games would be a TV ratings bonanza meaning huge revenues for ESPN and more money for all FBS schools. This is a huge bonus of the "Group of 5" conferences like the MAC and Mtn West.

The CFP contract is for 12 years, meaning it would end in the 2025-26 season. But, contracts have been broken in the past so there is no reason to believe this contract could not be revised.  I personally believe the committee has an unofficial agreement to keep it as 4-teams for at least 5 years to see how everything goes.

Even though the book "Death to the BCS" is a few years old and we no longer have the flawed BCS system I believe it is still a good read for crazy CFB fans like myself. Especially those with a business background who are interested in how the non-CFP bowls work, where the money goes, etc. It was really an eye opener.

I will be a proponent of the 8-team format until someone can prove to me how or why it is bad for CFB, the conferences, the universities, the teams, or the Student-Athletes.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year's!  Enjoy the CFB Bowl Season!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Grad Student Transfers

Grad Student transfers all all the rage the past few years in college football, and I don't like the trend.

For those of you who do not know what a GS transfer is, it is a student-athlete who was usually redshirted their freshman year at University "A," they play 3 years, and at the end of their 4th year at Univ "A" they graduate with a degree.  After footbal ends and in the spring semester, this student-athlete applies to another school for grad school at another school (his oringinal school "A" can not have that masters program however). Then this player is allowed to join the new football team at Univ "B" and play instantly. He does not have to sit out a year like players who transfer schools before they graduate. Whew! That's hopefully easy to understand.

The past few years college football has seen more and more examples of the GS transfer. This year there are a handful of well known players who have done this. Vernon Adams Jr at Oregon is getting the most press, transfering from FCS Eastern Washington. But this is also Everette Golson who went from ND to Florida State. The new Georgia Bulldogs QB Greyson Lambert (soap opera name!) is also one, as is one of my favorite Cal players, Avery Sebastian who is now at Notre Dame. Cal also lost often injured but impactful Brennan Scarlett to our arch enemy, Stanfurd. This one is a tough call, as he decided to transfer simply to play on the same team as his lil brother who is a freshman on The Farm. And who could forget the Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. He went from North Carolina State to Wisconsin a few years back.

Here's my take. You accepted a scholarship to the university to play football. You've played three years out of four with your freshman redshirt. You graduated from college, congratulations! And you probably did not have to take out a student loan, get thousands of dollars from your parents, or work a part-time job on campus like the vast majority of "normal" students. Don't you owe the university a little loyalty? Shouldn't you stay at your original school, enter a grad program there, and play your fourth year of football?

What bothers me is that most of these grad transfers are players looking to go to a better school and to a school where the system fits their skill set better. And most of these players are offensive skill position players, QB RB or WR who are trying to improve their chance of making to the NFL.

If the player is truly transferring to a new university they will not have an issue with staying out one year before playing. It will allow them time to set a solid foundation for his grad studies, meet his new teammates, learn the campus, etc.

I wish there was a stat on how many of these grad transfer students ever really achieve their Masters Degree. I'm guessing this percentage is very, very low.

This grad transfer loophole is making a mockery of college football. A sport built on tradition.

End the Grad Program transfer rule. Or at least make the player wait one year.

          Nor-Cal Scott