Griffin pritchard

S

o the four teams competing in the annual Power Five Invitational … excuse me the College Football Playoff … have been set and the listing thereof is monumentally underwhelming and about as shocking as a G-rated horror movie. 

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and them Irish fellas from Indiana have been invited to the party. Cincinnati and Texas A&M were included in the discussion, but realistically had the chance of a Policy Driven Democrat winning a Senate seat against an Alabama Republican campaigning on Gawd, guns and ‘merica. 

I don’t understand why this is an issue. Every other sport from 8U baseball to World Cup soccer has figured out a way to use this new fangled contraption called a bracket to figure out who the actual champion is. 

I don’t understand why the Football Bowl Subdivision has such a hard time figuring (cue cash register noise: ChaChing ChaChing Chaching) …. Oh. 

So there it is - plain and simple. ESPN likes money and by having those four programs - which happen to be nationally recognized brands - playing one or two extra games that equals to advertising dollars which the networks can use to further line their pockets with. 

Think about this - a playoff with Coastal Carolina and Cincinnati just doesn’t bring the same financial umph Ohio State and Notre Dame do. 

The CFP alone is capitalizing on perceived value. Now for some people who have heard me use that phrase before but don’t really understand the meaning - throws eyes toward the uncut page on the book of faces - Perceived Value is summed up as this: “because it has the phrase ‘Playoff’ in the title the CFP is perceived to be greater than the BCS that preceded it.” 

The Hotel Talisi’s perceived value to the town is disproportionate to reality because of the memories that are attached to it. 

Republicans are perceived to know what’s best for this state despite having a track record of preventing actual improvements: see also failed lottery attempts, medicaid coverage, prison expansion and avowed opposition to the gays marrying. 

Notre Dame and Ohio State are perceived to be great football teams because … reasons? 

In 2015, which translates to Year Two of the CFP, Vanderbilt economist John Vrooman said: “ESPN’s estimated $610 million annual commitment ($7.3 billion over 12 years - through 2027) to secure broadcast rights reflects its confidence in the commercial allure. The rate more than triples the annual fee the network paid for the last four years of the BCS.”

Think of what the value translates to now, five years down the road. 

To help better hammer home the point that the CFP is more interested in putting the four best financially established teams in the playoff: had the season been cancelled due to the ‘rona, there would have been an estimated financial loss upwards of $2 billion. 

What’s the solution? 

Obviously expansion - there’s enough money generated during a 10-week college football season to fund Canada, Ghana (three times over) Hollywood …. A U.S. Senator … a California Governor … the list goes on and is only going to increase by the more people being invited to the table. 

The playoff should be expanded to eight as that would allow for the Power 5 champions plus three at large - realistically the best of the Group of 5;  Cincinnati this year since they were the highest ranked - selections. Granted the SEC on any given year would bring two to the table. ACC in some really competitive years. Big 10, 12 and the Pac-12 would depend on the level of competition. 

Which at times is laughable. Auburn could have won the Pac-12 this year. Arkansas would have been a tough test in the Big 10. 

I’m perfectly aware that some of you are under the impression that I’ve lost the plot - which is British for gone crazy - but I do realize that not all teams are created equal. For as good as Coastal Carolina was this season, Texas A&M would have beaten those chickens bald. Alabama would have been the Hoosier’s Daddies and Clemson would have rampaged the Sooners. 

But the opportunity was never there. The best version of the playoff is what’s currently being utilized on the FCS level. Sixteen teams with four top seeds. It would add one more week onto the schedule; utilize all the New Year’s bowls and then some of the lesser bowls and bring revenue to a bunch of different programs instead of just four who don’t really need it. 

But - like an Alabama Democrat - I realize that’s got a snowball’s chance of being breathed into life. 

It’s that simple.

Griffin Pritchard is a Tallassee resident and weekly columnsit for The Tallassee Tribune.