Two days ago I took the time and effort to explain why the four-team College Football Playoff did not need to be expanded to eight or more teams. I brought up the fact that people typically don't want to do more work without more compensation. Many of the responses I got, both here and on social media (Facebook), were of the "players are already paid" type because they get a free scholarship. And steak dinners (that was a comment on FB). I suspect most of these responses are of the "I didn't get that when I was in college so neither should they - damn millennial's, get off my lawn" variety. It’s interesting that fans demand their coaches be paid millions of dollars but anytime student-athlete pay is mentioned many fall over themselves screaming of impropriety.
I enjoyed your responses so much that I'm going to expound on my position and try to explain why you, as a Nebraska football fan, may not want an expanded playoff system.
To begin our conversation, we must go back to 1996. As you know, our beloved Cornhuskers won national titles in ‘94 and ‘95. Nebraska was rolling again by the end of the ‘96 season, overcoming an early 19 – 0 loss to Arizona State. The Cornhuskers were ranked #3 going into the Big 12 title game against Texas. If they won, they would face #1 Florida State in the Sugar bowl for a shot at an unprecedented third consecutive national title. They did not win, losing 37 – 27 to Texas, as most people remember the famous fourth-down play by James Brown.
Tom Osborne was against a Big 12 title game. He lobbied against it. The Big 12 wanted it because they wanted more money. Osborne saw it as another chance to lose a big game on the way to a national title. Turns out he was right. Can you imagine the stories we would have told since then if Nebraska had won four (FOUR!) consecutive national titles. We would've stayed ahead of Alabama as being the greatest dynasty for at least a little while longer. We would be going around saying “FOUR IN A ROW” and “SIX NATIONAL TITLES” to everyone to remind them about our past.
Nebraska's position in college football hasn't changed all that much, at least in the big scheme of things. The Huskers play in the Big Ten West, considered the weakest division of all the Power Five schools. Most Nebraska fans believe that only Wisconsin stands in our way of winning a division title nearly every season, just like Oklahoma stood in our way in the old Big Eight days. Maybe it's not that easy, but compared to other conferences and divisions, Nebraska does have a fairly easy path to its conference title game.
Say Nebraska gets into the conference title game. If they win it, most years they are going to get into a four-team playoff. If they don't win it, they are most likely not (we’re going with probabilities here). Nebraska would be much like Wisconsin this season, likely pooh-poohed for their light schedule as it's doubtful the view of the Big Ten West will improve much over the next few years. You can play different scenarios out with this however you like, but those are most likely.
Under a four-team playoff, you have to win two big games on the road to win a national title.
Now let's expand this playoff system to eight teams.
No matter how it’s set up, with eight teams Nebraska stands a better chance of getting into a playoff. Nebraska hasn’t done much nationally other than become irrelevant over the past decade or so, and Nebraska fans are understandably hungry for a return to greatness. Winning a conference title or getting into the playoff would satisfy that hunger... for a year or two. Then they are going to want more.
The problem with eight comes when you look at a path to a national title as now you have to win three big games in order to win a national title.
Which would you rather happen?
Would you rather Nebraska had an easier shot of getting into the College Football Playoff or would you rather they had an easier chance of winning the national title?
Let me add some more fuel to the fire because I feel that Tom Osborne's wisdom of wanting to play one less big game won't be enough for you naysayers.
I tried to explain before that these games are going to be played at existing bowl sites. The current playoff system we have wouldn't exist without the bowl sites, and they are not going to give up their financial cash cow. You can come up with all the fairytales you want about home-field advantage and blowing up the NCAA but the bowls will stay intact and involved in an expanded playoff system.
Therefore, Nebraska will not only have to play three big games in a row, but just for fun, let's say they play USC in the first round in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, LSU in the second round at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, and then finish out the season in a title game against Alabama in Atlanta in the Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Three road games in a row against opponents who are basically playing at home. That’s what you want?
You can be thankful that as long as Jim Delany is around that this is not going to happen.
Tom Osborne did his time on the College Football Selection Committee, and you are not going to find any articles where he is lobbying for expansion. In fact, in this article by my close, personal friend (not really) Lee Barfknecht, legendary Tom Osborne points out his concern of adding more games to a title-seeking team's schedule:
The other worry for Osborne was the grind of a 15-game season for the two title-game teams.
“It was probably about right that it ended there,” he said. “I was very satisfied with what I saw.
“But it’s somewhat of a survival thing. Every time you play an extra game, you’re not the same team you were the week before. We saw that with Oregon. They got hit pretty hard with injuries in the offensive line and at defensive back and receiver.”
I know that because you’re a true Husker fan, you would never do something like complain about the injuries that occur to players during the regular season while blaming the strength coach instead of recognizing the fact that players can be 300-lb plus tanks of humans mashing into each other repeatedly for your entertainment.
Husker fans are the greatest and being the greatest, you would certainly recognize the irony of asking beat up players to play even more games solely for your entertainment.
I also I know that you’re a true Husker fan and because you are, you would never disagree with the wisdom of Tom Osborne.
Did UCF get screwed? Of course, they got screwed, but if you were paying attention you knew that they were always screwed in the first place. The Power Five were never going to let the little guys into the big league, but previously they could disguise their position as having a teaser.
It's sad and unfair that a team like UCF would get left out of the College Football Playoff. It's been a nice moment in time Nebraska's shared with UCF and Scott Frost coaching their bowl game. Nebraska spring practice will start in three months and you will no longer care.
You’ll notice below a clipped article about Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby dismissing the idea that UCF should have been included in the playoff system. This is a rationalization, of course, and it’s what all great, powerful, well-paid men do when they’re confronted with something that conflicts their position.
Dismiss it with made up crap that’s just close enough to be believable by a lot of people.
What will be interesting is how the media votes on UCF’s position. There are still polls beyond the College Football Playoff. Will those voters put UCF at #1 and send a message, or will they collectively bow to their masters?
Division IA/FBS football has always had the most unique postseason of any sport. Bowl games. The polls disagreed with each other for years, then we had the BCS and now a four-team playoff. All other levels of football have playoffs. There are many people who refused to accept the chaos of the FBS postseason and wish to make it like all those other levels of football. This has been going on for years.
I’ve often wondered if these people have a specific psychological profile. Are they control freaks? Do they have a need to rearrange everything in their lives to maintain a constant sense of order? If we did an anonymous survey, asking questions about the college football postseason and a need to rearrange their friends’ silverware drawers, what would we find?
This article is a sure thing that I’ve run out of things to talk about. I should do a Star Wars review and ruin that for everyone.
Expect an active offseason for the Husker quarterback room | Football | journalstar.com
But what will the quarterbacks room look like by the time fall camp rolls around? Let’s take a look at what Frost and Verduzco did at Central Florida.
UCF’s Peach Bowl win should make us ask questions about the Group of 5 - SBNation.com
The Knights were good enough to get a national title shot, but current circumstances made that impossible.
Big 12 commissioner: UCF’s Playoff exclusion was fair because... - SBNation.com
He’s sort of got a point, but this sounds pretty BCS-esque.
Yep, UCF is paying Scott Frost’s assistants a national title bonus - SBNation.com
The Knights are putting their money where their mouth is.
A UCF national title claim would fit college football history just fine - SBNation.com
Making up national titles is an ancient college football tradition, and it’s high time we get back to it.
Follow UCF’s example: 28 teams who should claim old national titles - SBNation.com
Toledo! Drake! SMU! Hell, RUTGERS even. Hang up the banners!
UCF claims 2017 national championship: Raising a banner, having a parade etc. - SBNation.com
You go undefeated and you can do what you want.
NFL Draft 2018: Sam Darnold declares draft after 3 years at USC - SBNation.com
Darnold joins Josh Rosen and Josh Allen as underclassmen quarterbacks to declare early.
NFL draft 2018: Josh Rosen declares for the draft early - SBNation.com
The UCLA star is expected to be one of the first quarterbacks off the board.
Then There’s This
For example, Mukhande Singh, the founder of Live Water, told the publication his startup's water expired after a few months — something he said was normal for "real water."
"It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery," Singh said. "If it sits around too long, it'll turn green. People don't even realize that because all their water's dead, so they never see it turn green."
We’ve come so far.... and yet not....