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Wednesday Happy Hour is talkin' playoffs

Alex already touched on the new playoff system, but let's get some reaction from around the college football universe.

First, as always we turn to Dan Wetzel:

And, really, that's part of it. That has to be part of it. Of course they couldn't do the right thing. This is college athletics. It never does the right thing. These are the exact same people who wrote the NCAA rulebook, after all. Of course they couldn't do the sensible thing for the students, the players, the players' families and, of course, the taxpayers. Hell, no. Not these guys. For years, they turned down billions of dollars in playoff money in part because, when did a playoff concept dole out his-and-her Caribbean cruises, or spend $95,000 so they could tee it up with Jack Nicklaus, or pick up the tab at clubs where, ahem, gentlemen assemble?

The four-team playoff is still just a small step in the right direction, and one that ignores institutional problems that run much deeper. The true corruption and unfairness inherent in college football over the past century is still there.

Chip Patterson of CBS's Eye on College Football:

Even Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, who has wavered on the idea of a four-team playoff over the last six months, had a somewhat-positive reaction to the decision by the committee. "There will always be people who want more but sometimes less is more. We thought two worked for a while, 14 years, and I'm sure this will work for at least 12," Delany said.

So by that rate we should have a full eight-team playoff that is outside the horribly corrupt bowl system by the year 2075. Of course, we;ll all be dead then, but our children's children's children will finally get the college football postseason we've all pined for so badly.

Of course, Harvey Perlman had to weigh in yesterday:

"I don’t like the idea of a four-team playoff," Perlman said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I’m certainly open to hearing what [the commissioners] believe to be the best for the game. Personally, without that, I still think a plus-one, properly structured, would be better for college football, for fan interest and for bowls."

A quick counterargument, Harvey. A plus-one isn't better for college football because it wouldn't yield any more money than a playoff (which is probably more lucrative in the long run). It isn't better for fan interest unless you consider people going blind with rage over arguments about which of the three or four teams that wins the first set of bowl games deserves to be re-ranked into spot number one. A four-team playoff still has the 4/5 argument, but the rest gets settled on the field. A plus-one doesn't do that.

However, Harvey is right about one thing, a plus-one would be much better for the current bowl system. A plus-one is much more aligned with the old model of the college football postseason. While both systems use essentially four teams, the word playoff carries a lot of weight. Once people begin to like this playoff, they are going to clamor for more of it. Once things start to expand to six and eight teams, keeping the old bowl system in place will seem like less and less of an option because A) games will be played in more than just one weekend of semi-finals and B) more money is going to be rolling in and those bowls are going to be pocketing it. So yes, the plus-one would have benefited the bowl system. Way to champion a cause, Harvey.

Also, as you know, the potential windfall from a playoff is huge:

The 2011 BCS contract raked in $174 million, so a four-team playoff has the potential to nearly triple that number annually.

Not a bad financial outlook.

Yet everyone is still probably going to be pissed at some point:

Pretend for a moment that college football's change-fearing higher-ups actually implemented this system -- a four-team playoff with a selection committee -- in time for the 1998 season, when the BCS came into being.


The first year for a playoff is the perfect year for clearly enunciating all the limitations a four-team playoff presents. I have always said people's biggest problem with the BCS wasn't that it was corrupt or chose the wrong teams -- it's that the BCS could never figure out how to fit three teams on the same field. Well, in 1998, people may have raged against a playoff for its inability to figure out how to fit five or six teams into a four-team bracket.

But whateva, y'all. Playoff's here.

But what to call the new system that is logical, completely orthodox (if a bit small), and in no need of waves of PR to justify its existence? Jason Kirk, what say you:

Public relations-wise, many of those controversies can indeed be sidestepped for a time by coming up with a new name. Here is a list of recommendations for what to call the new system:

1. The college football playoffs

2. The college football playoffs

3. The college football playoffs

4. The college football playoffs


19. The Rose Bowl Four-Team Event, Rose Bowl'd to you by the Rose Bowl

20. The college football playoffs


And finally, Spencer Hall on what was accomplished and how it was accomplished:

OFFICERS WHO HELD COFFEE WELL AND NODDED ADMIRABLY. Brigadier General John Swofford held coffee for Gen. Slive with admirable poise, and kept the cup brimming and hot at all times. His nodding was consistently excellent.

And, well, whatever this is*:

"Who shall they be, these choosers?"

"Incompetent, biased, petty, short-sighted, and married to preconceived notions that the fiercest of logics cannot from them a divorce make."

"These sound like journalists."

"No, these people might have money, and possibly threw a foot-ball once."

"Set fire to the ships, Lieutenant."

"But the Belk Bowl and Beef O'Brady's Bowl, sir. They are still inside."

"Oh, well, then a cannonade for them immediately."

"Aye, sir."

"Now, where to put the Big East..."

"Sir! There's a teeming antpile in this dried up well filled with sleeping bats!"

"That will do, sailor. That will do."

*(Brilliant, that's what it is. Brilliant.)


Some more links for you: Check out Pre-snap read's preview on the Boilermakers of Purdue...Michigan hockey signee Jacob Trouba is taken in the first round of the NHL draft....Michigan State is going abroad...Drake Harris is deciding, and Tremendous makes the argument that few have -- that Drake could choose Michigan...

We Could Be Heroes

Surely somebody could have stopped him. Everybody could have stopped him. But they didn't, and the reason we all seem to land on is that Penn State football easily trumps the well-being of disadvantaged children. That seems a little too convenient. It's a narrative that should make you suspicious, sort of like any person or story that becomes a recurring feature on ESPN. We just might be letting football cloud our ability to reason.

Ramzy on Penn State and when a lot of people don't do the right thing.

A visit to the All England Club and Wimbledon for the kickoff of the 2012 tournament

My first two days at Wimbledon were an incomprehensible hell of double-decker buses, foliage, screaming soccer fans, SIM cards, underground zones, shrubbery, security guards, and scaffolding. I checked into my hotel on Saturday afternoon, and at no point since that moment have I understood what was happening, or had working 3G access. I have stood too long beside a hedge at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and looked down to find that my arm was crawling with tiny spiders. I have been inside TV control rooms with 80 humming monitors showing views of empty tennis courts. I have had my right to exist challenged by Wimbledon security. I have eavesdropped on two pristinely dressed line judges complaining about the cost of NBA tickets. I have been passed by John McEnroe in a hallway at the precise moment he turned around to yell, "Thanks for the sandwich!"

Brian Phillips goes to Wimbledon.