More is less on many occasions in competitive sports. That will be case when the College Football Playoff decision-makers give in to pressure from the whiners and double the size of the field to eight, sooner rather than later.
This was the first year for the playoff, and it was a spectacular success with two semifinals on New Year’s Day, followed by the title game played an exactly-right 11 days later.
The lone flaw in the whole thing was the completely phony ratings that the 12-person selection committee released on a weekly basis through the second half of the FBS schedule.
Now that we know those ratings were being manipulated to produce maximum attention for ESPN, we can get less worked up when a TCU randomly jumps an unbeaten Florida State some week next fall.
The “Power Five’’ conferences, not the NCAA, call the shots for big-time football. This year, 49 of the 65 teams in those conferences played in bowl games. As long as the administrators and coaches remain committed to that system, then it’s folly to expand the playoff field.
If you go to eight teams, there will be conference title games in early December, followed by the quarterfinals in mid-December, followed by semifinals on or around New Year’s Day in two of the six involved bowls: Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Peach and Fiesta.
Which means, two out of every three years, you’re telling the Rose Bowl promoters:
“We can’t send you teams that finished in the top eight this year, but we have Boise State and the third-place team in the Big Ten for you. That will take care of the needs for the Grand Daddy of Them All, right?’’
And, oh, Pasadena: “We had our college football orgy with the four quarterfinals a couple of weeks ago, and the public won’t be watching No. 11 vs. No. 16, even with your big parade beforehand.’’
There are two choices: Kill the bowls and go to a full playoff system; or, continue to choose four teams with superb credentials and reap the reward of the nation’s NFL-loving football fans actually being fascinated by three college matchups in a 1 ½-week period.
PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK
Reasons retiring commissioner Bud Selig should be forgiven here for baseball’s contraction drama:
*Selig’s push for increased revenue sharing made the Twins more viable financially and thus relevant in the 2000s.
*That revenue sharing and some spending rules ended the Yankees’ dominance (four titles from 1996-2000) and led to reasonable competitive balance.
*Selig was persuasive behind-the-scenes in getting approval for Target Field, a ballpark for generations.