Thursday Happy Hour is talkin' playoffs

(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Those of us fortunate (deranged?) enough to blog about college football often complain about the long summer dead zone between the end of May and the beginning of August, the time when spring camp is over and recruiting slows down so the kids can go to camps and, you know, be high school kids in the summer.

But is there reason to complain anymore? I'm not saying the off the field changes are as exciting as actual games, but college football isn't at a loss for intrigue these last few years with the rapidly shifting conference landscape and the now inevitable four-team playoff on the horizon.

Considering it is the first week of May, those of us who write about college football have a wealth of material, and there has been some excellent writing to that end:

- Dan Wetzel is, as always, the first person to consult with when talking "playoff", and his column "College football's potential four-team playoff isn't perfect, but it's a start" lays out some of the potential pratfalls of building this new playoff system.

- Luke Zimmerman, the progenitor of Land-Grant Holyland, took a look at what the Jim Delany model of guaranteed seeds for conference champs in the top-six would mean over the last decade and a half of the BCS's existence.

- Meanwhile, Seth of mgoblog took a look at the myth that top-seed home semi-finals would potentially hurt attendance numbers too much to make it financially feasible. If you need a hint: no, home games would have larger capacities nearly all of the time.

- Finally, the guys at Off Tackle Empire have another installment of Playoff Potluck to satiate your appetite for college football playoff speculation.

While none of this is actual football, at least it is something. Remember, it could be worse, you could have to get your sports fix from baseball alone for the next three months.

/shudders

Let's hit the links:

Video: Michigan LB Jake Ryan - Jake Ryan talks with ESPN's BTB about the Michigan defense.

2012 Recruiting: Jarrod Wilson - Another in Brian's yearly series of ridiculously awesome and detailed profiles of incoming freshmen.

Long term, there's this feeling. It's not like dread. It's kind of a feeling that you get when the sun's out and it's nice and breezy. No idea what it is, but not dread. Sort of like thinking something might work out in the future. No idea what it is.

If Brady Hoke does nothing else in his career as Michigan coach, getting Brian Cook to be optimistic about the future of the safety position could possibly be his greatest achievement.

Zak Irvin expanding game with college decision in the past

Green said Irvin is becoming a player who can take over a game offensively with his ability to score in bunches. "When he gets hot, we give him the ball," Green said. "And when he gets it going, he gets that look in his eye, and you know he’s feeling it right now. So we give him the ball."

The Countdown: No. 109: Indiana - Pre-Snap Read's first Big Ten preview stops by Bloomington to introduce the 109th ranked Hoosiers. Much more on Indiana coming next week as Maize n Brew kicks off its summer Big Ten preview series.

Are Ohio State Buckeyes too big to fail?

What makes Ohio State's situation unique? Smith lists the reasons: history and tradition; a huge athletic department flush with resources; a massive alumni base and fan base; top facilities; a location in a state filled with top high school players. He recites a familiar refrain regarding the NCAA violations, calling them "an isolated, individual mistake with individual people," not indicative of a systematic problem.

Or, in non-bullshit-speak: "We pinned it all on Tressel and kissed the NCAA's ass so they let us off with a stern talking to."

Ohio State isn't too big to fail, the Buckeyes just ensured a short down period by securing the services of a top-notch coach to keep morale high in the program. Rittenberg lists a few traditional powers that have seen downturns in the recent past: "Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State, Florida, Washington, Nebraska, Michigan and, most recently, USC." What Rittenberg doesn't mention is that all of these powers failed because of problems with coaching.

Ohio State's short fall and quick recovery is a product of coaching. Nobody is too big to fail.

- Quickly around CFB, Randy Shannon wants his money, Greg Schiano earns a whole bunch of goodwill from anyone with a heart, and in the intellectual fight over the fate of college football, all we could find to go against Malcolm Gladwell is Jason freaking Whitlock?

A WACTROSPECTIVE

Every conference exists, but not all truly live--to play a short-lived conference championship game in Las Vegas, or win the freakiest of national titles with a pass-first Mormon team, or even to pull off the only bowl game upset most journalists will admit cheering in the box during. That's you.

When it came time to win, a WAC team did not grimly line up in the power I, or do anything a mundane and supremely talented team would do. No, the team from the WAC ran a statue of liberty play off a quirky goal-line bubble screen which had been thrown by the receiver for a TD on the prior play. You put your pants on the flagpole, WAC, slapped an octopus on your head for a hat, and boldly strode into the final battle with a stale baguette for a sword and cunning as your armor.

Searching for Sugar Man: An acclaimed new documentary goes hunting for the lost Dylan

He'd left one world and returned to another. His songs were now attached to him, to his story. His obscurity and early failure make his success so compelling. For the songs to fly, he must sell himself, and this world doesn't like mysteries. The bigger the film, and the more popular his music, the more pressure will mount to answer all the questions. Part of the reason his songs became so huge in South Africa was that mystery, and I wondered if our modern machine would have allowed that mystery to exist. The answer, of course, is no. A new kind of attention must be paid.

Not sports, but Wright Thompson. Well worth the read.

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