By ROSS BISHOFF
Controversy and drama are what sparks our nation, for good or ill.
Of course, there’s a difference between healthy, fun controversy and, say, President Trump.
College football seems to have enjoyed the perfect mix of healthy controversy, drama, and excitement this season to the point that it has dominated the sports world.
Week after week after week, we’ve had nail-biting games and upsets, weekly poll debates, and even the coaching carousel. This week brings us renewed debate over college football’s playoff picks, the expansion debate, and its probable Heisman Trophy winner—Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, who is an absolute lightning rod of opinions from fans.
None of this is a black eye, really, for college football. What it is, however, is a massive amount of debate and excitement and fodder for talk shows. All of that adds up to a product that dominates on the field and off, in the collective mind of its fans.
And we haven’t even started the bowl schedule.
This past weekend all eyes were on college football from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, and we’re still talking about it.
The playoff committee had a tough decision to make between Ohio State and Alabama, two storied programs, and went with the Crimson Tide.
It’s the right decision. Alabama was one of the top two teams all season long and only lost on the road to a very good Auburn team. And we get Alabama-Clemson in a rubber match. That’s good for the sport.
Also, Ohio State gets to take on USC in a battle of old-school Rose Bowl opponents … albeit in the Cotton Bowl.
The bowl matchups, though not regularly exciting, are competitive and keep the interest rolling throughout the holidays.
The biggest question that remains is when do they expand the playoffs? When do they finally take that final step? This past weekend, I noticed commentators pushing out the notion that the conference championships were a de facto quarterfinal round in itself, despite Alabama not playing.
That’s an interesting concept that could be explored.
But really, the drama itself is what keeps us arguing and keeps college football in our emotions and minds when there’s no actual football being played.
Only they can ride that forever. And they know that. At some point, they have to put forth a plan for expansion and to me the reason why has nothing to do with “settling it on the field.” That kind of happens already.
My biggest argument for an expanded playoff field is to get more teams involved, more teams outside the blueblood schools. Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State have become virtual staples of the playoffs in a very short time. More teams need the opportunity to be in the mix.
Think of the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Dodgers making the playoffs year after year. How fun is that?
It gets old and frustrating, especially in college football, which relies so heavily on hometown crowds.
So, to keep the popularity hot, college football needs to expand at the right time in the right way. For the time being, however, the sport is certainly enjoying a tidal wave of popularity.
Number of the Week: 10
– Marion Local won its 10th state football title this past weekend, beating Kirtland 34-11. The 10 championships trail Cleveland St. Ignatius for most all time. It’s the Flyers’ sixth championship in seven years.
Quote of the Week: “When you get it rolling like we have, you have talent in the right spots. You have coaches that have worked together for a decade. The parents know what the expectations are. You just have to keep working it. The players buy in and work extremely hard in the weight room so when it’s their turn, they’re ready to go.”
– Marion Local football coach Tim Goodwin