Upon Further Review

Mike Zierath, Staff Reporter
Hawkeye Report
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For years, College Football had the pleasure of naming their annual champion via a poll. A poll voted on by broadcasters and sports writers across the United States. Huh. See any potential problems with that?

So did a few others.

In an effort to fix it, the powers to be came up with the Bowl Coalition from 1992-1994.

Then came the Bowl Alliance from 1995-1997.

After that, the BCS was born, and while it was better, it still wasn’t enough.

15 years later, another change brought us the current College Football Playoff format, which is actually a plus one type of system, which allows for four teams to be chosen by a 13 member committee. One plays Four, Two plays Three, in a round robin of six major bowl venues. This format will run through the 2025 season.

In three years, the college football playoffs have had eight different teams participate. Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Florida State have all participated once. Ohio State has two appearances, with one National Championship in 2014. Clemson has two appearances, both resulting in an appearance in the championship game, with one title coming last year. Alabama, or the Death Star as I like to call them, has been in the playoffs all three years. They have one title in two championship games, coming in 2015.

Thanks Captain obvious!

About now, you college football professional fans are thanking me for the playoff history lesson and wondering where I’m going with all this.

Picture this, we wait like eight months, every single year, for college football to start at the beginning of September. By the end of December, the majority of college football is over, with the exception of New Years Day games, and the playoffs. Imagine, if you will, that every single season is the same. Over and over and over. Just like Phil Connors, you know the outcome before it ever happens……….

Right now, that’s kind of how it looks. The outcome looks like the same basic group of teams will participate in the college football playoff format year after year after year. Is that good for college football overall?

I guess if you are an Alabama, Clemson or Ohio State fan, the answer is an easy one. If you are a fan of absolutely anyone else, the answer gets a little fuzzy.

For years, college football fans clamored for a definitive format that would crown a real champion. Well, like I always say, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it! And just like the BCS Format, it’s never quite what people envisioned, proving that you can never make everyone truly happy. You can only appease the masses.

After three short years, we have a snap shot of how this will work. What happens, if, in three more years, the OSU’s, Clemson’s and Alabama’s of the college football world are still dominating the playoff format? Does the interest in the current system wane? Do fans shut off the TV’s? Do ticket sales suffer?

Or……………do the talking heads figure out a way to move to eight?

Five conference champions and three at-large bids. It’s not perfect, but it gets all five major conferences an opportunity. Then, the committee can pick the next three teams, including a 2 loss team, if they are the best choice, get them seeded properly, and let them play.

You can still use a round robin format with the six major bowls as the venues. Four games on New Year’s day. A week later, play semi-final games at the last two bowls, then a neutral site game for the championship.

Is it perfect? No. Is it more ideal than what we have? It is if we want to have a wider variety of teams from year to year. It would turn on a few more TV’s. It would definitely sell a lot more tickets.

The current system is already a little stale. If we don’t want to feel like Phil Connors, if might be time for a change.

A quick look around the country, which saw some eyebrow raising results this past weekend.

Clemson took a big step in the ACC this past weekend, when they were able to contain Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals. Jackson still threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns against a very good Clemson defense, but it wasn’t enough. Virginia Tech moved to 3-0. Miami is finally getting back to live action this coming weekend. Right now, I’d have to say that Clemson looks poised to take control of the ACC once again.

There are five pretty darn good teams in the Big 12. Oklahoma and my preseason pick, Okie State, have looked unstoppable. TCU has taken care of their business in very Gary Patterson like style. Texas Tech is 2-0, but I don’t foresee that continuing, even from this offensive juggernaut. Tech QB, and Iowa transfer, Nic Shimonek, currently has the third best QBR in College Football. They get Houston this weekend and then start conference play. I anticipate that they will still live up to my preseason prediction. West Virginia is also very good. Don’t sleep on the Mountaineers, they will surprise some folks this year.

The Big Ten is still strong. Wisconsin still appears to be the front runner in the West. But Iowa, Minnesota and dare I say, Purdue, all look decent so far. In the East, OSU, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Maryland are all in contention. I would not be surprised to see Purdue beat Michigan this weekend. I would also not be overly surprised to see Rutgers give Nebraska a run for their money. Okay, I’ll say it, I will be surprised if Iowa manages to beat Penn State. Honestly, I don’t know how good Iowa really is. Las Vegas set their over/under at 6.5 wins prior to the season starting. I had them at 7-5, and one of those 5 losses belonged to Penn State. Matter of fact, I had them 4-2 going into the bye week, and they aren’t losing to Illinois.

The Pac 12 took one on the chin this past weekend. Really, it was two to the chin. Memphis took care of their business and beat the mighty UCLA Bruins. If that wasn’t bad enough, San Diego State managed to do something Iowa couldn’t do, and that was beat the Stanford Cardinal. Seriously! In the North, Wazzu, Washington, Oregon and California all remained unbeaten. Mike Leach has his merry band of pirates playing pretty damn well. Will they challenge the Huskies this year? Time will tell. USC survived a scare from Texas. Colorado and Utah continued to win.

In the SEC, it’s still the Death Star and the rest. There were, however, a couple very good games this past weekend. If you got to see the Vandy vs K. State game, and you like defense, you saw a very well played game. If you liked drama, and saw the Tennessee vs Florida game, you were treated to just that! And if you wanted a surprise, there was the total domination of Mississippi State in their win over LSU. Mississippi State has Georgia this coming weekend, I will probably keep an eye on that one. Another one I’m going to keep both eyes on is Arkansas and Texas A&M in Arlington, Tx. The coach of the team that losses that game will be front and center in next weeks article. Both coaches were in my preseason hot seat article.

As a reminder, my preseason CFP final four were Bama, Okie State, USC and OSU. All of those four teams could still definitely be a part of the playoff scenario.

Final fact: there are 36 teams left in both power five and group of five conferences that remain unbeaten. I’ll track that for a while and see where it goes.

Next week, we will be 1/3 of the way through the season. We’ll take a look at the pre-season and current hot seat situation. Till then….

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