I listen to SiriusXM College Sports radio, read sports sites, the newspapers, the magazines, all of it, despite knowing better.
I get that it’s a big match up in week 1 of the season, pitting perennial powerhouse Alabama against media made contender Florida State. I know it will be a top 4 matchup and that, yes, bazillions of fans will tune into it. Blah, blah, and more blah.
Is it just me, or is a summer of this enough? I am so sick of hearing about this game and every detail on every angle on every player and coach and whatever there is to write about.
But, it does have me thinking about something else related. Since all the press this summer has been about these two teams (and of course Ohio State and Southern Cal’s QB) it has me revisiting this notion of the P5 and the College Football Playoff.
Since the Autonomous 5 was branded, I have been critical and wanting against all odds for ECU to be able to get a piece of the purse, but it has occurred to me over time and prodded quickly along by being subjected to unabashed broadcasters kneeling at the alter of these two teams 24/7 that my desires have been ill conceived.
I now think it would be better if the top teams – regardless of conference – were to simply split from the P5 and form a super-elite league, there would be nothing anyone could do and they would make even more money, establish and even bigger network and finally put to bed the notion of what is real college power or not.
Consider a league made up of the following teams (feel free to swap out few teams if it allows you to bet get the point of this rant):
- Florida State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Southern California
- Notre Dame
That’s it. No others. No rich by association (e.g., Auburn, UNC, UCLA, etc.), no friends with benefits (Vanderbilt, Duke, Indiana, etc.), no short term stars (e.g., Oregon, Texas A&M, Miami, etc.), just good old school, old boy established college teams…kind of like some of the pillars of American society like the Astors, the Forbes, and the Delano families (who cashed in on Opium) or the Carnegies, Vanderbilts, Mellons, and Morgans – better known as the Robber Barons. These schools, in the college football landscape, are similar (save maybe free shoes university) that they have deep pockets and longevity…in short, they established themselves at a time where there were no rules and then parlayed it over the years. Now with that head start, these schools like to say all is fair and that they are just doing things better.
Think of it this way, you show up for a race and when you get there, the veteran there establishes that he gets a 20 yard head start, you have to run backwards, and in the event of a tie, he wins. The stadium is packed and EVERYONE in the stadium fails to accept or acknowledge that you are 20 yards behind at the start and running backwards. When the race is over and you have lost, the crowd is standing in ovation for the winner, the press is clamoring for interviews and headline reads: Veteran destroys newcomer in even race. And the story goes on to discuss in great detail how great the winner was with no mention of the conditions set forth by…well…the winner.
If the P5 crap that has been streaming for years is true…or makes sense, then why not really do it right and shed all the other schools taking pieces of the pie? The television rights for this league would dwarf what currently exists – if you believe the talking heads and the network gurus. Every week, again if you believe the pundits, would be a game worthy of watching. And, if you believe the pundits and powerbrokers, the product is what ALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL FANS WANT. That last point truly shocks me, but it is a persistent message. Though if all college fans prefer the P5, then explain some of the weird choices of fans across the country in this fan-driven map done by Reddit. Oh well.
They could create their own oversight body…let’s call it the NFL Quality Control Unit. They could do away with the pesky things like “student-athletes,” “amateurism,” “Title IX” and suspensions for bad behavior…all those things…they get in the way of a good product. Don’t get me wrong, it is likely that all of these programs have been stepping outside the legal lines for years (success typically alludes those who follow the rules) but now they could simply do it in plain sight and be doing nothing wrong. Imagine the reality TV that would be spawned…On the recruiting trail: Follow these 5 star recruits as they party it up, hang with hookers, pit fat cat alumni against one another and end up on a team that they can make more money for.
Personally, I would be glued to that show.
I was listening to a radio show earlier this week and a guy called in and said (my paraphrase here): I don’t give a damn about fairness and what schools do or don’t do on and off the field, that really doesn’t matter to me. Alls I know is that my ‘Noles and ‘Bama are the only real elite teams out there.”
Sadly, Pirate fans don’t have to go far to see this kind of thought process – just talk to any of a zillion UNC fans these days. But I think it is reflective of where the college football world is today. So for the love of college football, it would be great if these teams could move on and leave the others the opportunity to relieve the pressure to be elite and establish a good quality, fair environment for competition that could exemplify the best of team sports competition rather than the worst.
I would probably take more interest in football if we could siphon off these semi-pro programs and let the rest get back to playing for the joy and satisfaction of the competition. Where it would matter how you played the game. Where fans would care if their team was doing things fairly and if the players for their teams not only gave a crap about the university but also were students who worked hard in the classroom. Where fans could be proud and where bragging rights truly were based on a mano-a-mano competition where the winner gets to brag and loser goes back and plans for the next meeting.
It will never happen, because there is too much money being made and the schools around the country all have fat cats who will break the bank in order to brag. Winning at all costs and by any means matters to those guys too much to let go.
Hopefully ECU puts together a great season and maybe goes bowling again. While, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Duke, Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, and the like, go nowhere but get paid and continue to be spoken about as if they are truly among the nation’s power elite on the field.