Although the first recognized game to have been played in the Rose Bowl tradition occurred in 1902, with Michigan demolishing Stanford, it was not until two decades later that it was assigned the name now held in such reverence.
I wasn’t around for any of that, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that day was the first time someone in a sports jacket had uttered the following eight words:
“The bowls have been good for college football.”
The people in charge of this wonderful sport have been spouting this nonsense ever since I covered my first college football game in the fall of 1984, so it seemed almost inevitable that when they finally got it right in the postseason playoffs, they would find a way to screw it up. . encourage him by insisting that the bowls be in the center of everything.
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This is the truth: bowls have been good for bowls.
As everyone will learn when the first real playoff comes around in 2026, or maybe 2024, we’ll see, the bowls have stood in the way of the best possible college football postseason for generations. And they are not quite finished.
Because now that the College Football Playoffs board has determined that it is prudent to modify their format to feature a 12-team tournament that will include six automatic qualifiers, they are still choosing to place games played since the quarterfinals and semifinals in the the bowls. There will be six such games in those rounds, so the “New Year’s Six” games will be the beneficiaries of this plan.
Four of those six games are in the SEC footprint: Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Peach. The others are Fiesta (Pac-12 region) and Rose (soon to be Big Ten country).
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So under this plan, Ohio State or Michigan could be seeded No. 4 in a given year as Big Ten champions and thus earn a first-round bye and then be sent to Atlanta to play No. 5 Georgia at the Peach. Bowl. Or it could be No. 5 Florida at Orange or No. 5 Texas at Cotton or No. 5 LSU at Sugar. There’s no corresponding bowl in Toledo or Cleveland, so there’s no way the Buckeyes can enjoy a home crowd advantage.
In the NCAA Tournament, there are times when a lower seed can enjoy a surprising advantage, such as when Connecticut in 2014 was able to play its Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games at Madison Square Garden. But those Huskies were a No. 7 seed. No one expected them to still play the second weekend of the tournament. It was, for UConn, something of a happy accident. But one year, the East Region is at the Garden, and the next, at the Carrier Dome, and the year after that, at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Arena. Sites move every year.
The expanded CFP format, by design, is a liability for contending teams from the Midwest, Northwest and East. With the possible exception of any championship games played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, none will enjoy the short travel distances that allow fans to more easily travel to playoff games.
The first round of the new CFP format, involving No. 5 against No. 12, No. 6 against No. 11 and so on, will be played at the home sites of the higher-ranked teams. That should continue at least until the next round, so that the teams that actually win the opportunity to play at home (the top four playoff seeds) have their stadium filled along with their city hotels and restaurants, and the opportunity to dress your way. lockers and play in front of their fans.
When the expanded playoff is implemented, college football will finally operate its championship format in the tradition of every other sport on the planet. Your competitors will understand exactly what is required to enter.
However, the CFP board was unable to solve his bowl addiction.
Maybe one day, college football will have its perfect postseason. However, we’ve waited more than a century to get this far, which means that day may not come until Captain Kirk’s son plays wide receiver for Iowa.