BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
Are you an Auburn fan ready to celebrate a national football championship? Are you a Bama fan ready to jump off a bridge? I beg of you not to do either quite yet, as those newly-released College Football Playoff rankings will change this weekend.? The good news? The Tide and the Tigers are in great shape to land in the Final Four and head to the semi-finals. The bad news? There's lots of football yet to be played, and SEC western division teams will indeed eat their own.
While I'm having a blast looking for different scenarios as we head down the home stretch of the regular season, I do see one tweak I'd like implemented uh, well, right now. Of the teams that are ranked in the top seventeen spots of the new poll, fifteen of those have only one loss. Staring those special committee members smack-dab in their faces is proof positive that an 8-team playoff must be created, the sooner the better.
With all due respect to those teams currently in the final four, don't you think other one-loss teams deserve a shot? Alabama? Oregon? Michigan State? TCU? K-State? Notre Dame for crying out loud who took #1 FSU to the wire and is currently ranked 10th? Georgia (Gurley returns November 15th vs Auburn)? Arizona? Nebraska? Baylor? Ohio State? All one-loss teams here that should have some say in how this deal will wash out.
As much buzz as the Final Four has created, the Great Eight would result in an explosion of Twitter, TV ratings and advertiser revenues- and don't tell me it can't be done. Just imagine: Eight teams are selected by the committee, with the first four playoff games played at the campus of the higher-ranked team. The semi-finals would then be played (this go around) in New Orleans and Dallas, and the championship game played in Dallas.
The dates for this season? First round games will played January 1st, the semi-finals on the 12th and the championship game on the 19th. Perfect dates by the way, as these games would not conflict with NFL playoff games (the conference championship games will be held January 18th, the Super Bowl February 1st)
Too much on the athletes? Let's be real. With a zillion advisors and tutors, these young men will find a way to pass their classes. Basketball players are on the road several days a week and somehow find a way to get by (well, most of the time anyway).
And the best part of the Great Eight? The match-ups! In my playoff format, #1 would face #8, #2 vs #7 and so-on. If the Great Eight started today, you would be looking at some big-time games:
#1 Miss State vs #8 Michigan State
#2 FSU vs #7 TCU
#3 Auburn vs #6 Alabama
#4 Ole Miss vs Oregon
Notice #3 vs #4? Yep- we're talking an Alabama-Auburn match-up just over a month after the Iron Bowl! The 2014 Iron Bowl will be played November 29th in Tuscaloosa. If The Great Eight format existed, the Tide and the Tigers would meet January 1st in Auburn. Would Jordan-Hare Stadium be sold out for a re-match? You kidding me? Imagine the hype for a game like this: The folks at ESPN and the SEC Network would convulse.
I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm smart enough to know it's much too late to install The Great Eight in the next year or so. But how about expand the current playoff format after the 2016 football season? That would give the big-wigs on all fronts nearly two years to prepare for even more mayhem.
I've always tended to live my life by dreaming big and thinking outside the box. It's time the world of college football take lessons learned from this four-team playoff and take a big step in less than 2 years. After all, seeing Alabama and Auburn square off twice within the span of a month is about as big as it gets.