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Vukovcan: College Football is Broken



The big news in college football last night was the unveiling of the first College Football Playoff rankings. After meeting and debating, a selection committee came up with what they believed are the 25 best teams in the country.

This should be an evening filled with excitement and suspense.

But it’s not. It’s not this time and it really has never been.

The sport, or should I say business, of college football is broken.

I’m not talking in terms of revenue and even television ratings, I’m talking about competitive balance, which hasn’t existed there in many, many years.

At the beginning of every season, a sport isn’t healthy if you’re easily able to pick three of the four teams that will be in the college football Playoffs, which most people should be able to do on a consistent basis.

If you want to make easy money, go to your local casino and lay down money that Alabama (5 out of 6 years), Clemson (5 out of 6 years), Oklahoma (4 of 6) and Ohio State (3 out of 6 years) will make the College Football Playoffs and most years you’ll collect.

The fourth team will rotate between another SEC school, like Georgia or LSU or the occasional PAC-12 champ. This year Notre Dame is making a surprise run but that’s not something they’ll be able to sustain on a yearly basis.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the sport of college football but unless you’re one of the above mentioned teams, you have very little to no shot of ever making the playoffs as currently constructed and that’s sad.

The reality is that of the hundreds of schools in D-I college football, maybe 10 have a chance to play for the national championship. Everyone else is really only playing to win their conference, go to a bowl game and end the season ranked.

Teams like BYU, Coastal Carolina, Liberty and Cincinnati are nice feel good stories but that’s it. They have no shot at playing for a national championship and frankly they shouldn’t because they’re not good enough. If any of those teams competed weekly in a Power 5 conference, they wouldn’t be ranked and wouldn’t be talked about because of having multiple losses.

Like many things in life, big money has ruined college football and to a lesser extent college basketball. Between TV money, gate money and most importantly, money from boasters and alumni, smaller programs can’t compete with the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world.

Luke Fickell is doing a nice job at Cincinnati but they have zero chance of keeping him long-term. In all likelihood, this will be his last year there and then they’ll have to hope they can hire someone to maintain his success. Good luck with that.

That is something the elite schools don’t have to deal with.

I don’t want to be the guy that rains on the parade but I live in reality. And the reality is that college football doesn’t have a level playing field and has become too predictable.

The bigger problem is that I’m not sure anything can be done about it.

Sure, every once in a while a team like Central Florida, TCU, or Northwestern will have a great year and be a feel good story but those seasons are few and far between.

Unless you’re a player, fan or alumni of a school like Clemson, Ohio State or Alabama, have fun rooting for your team every Saturday knowing that when the college playoffs start, your team has no chance to be playing in them.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

This is a weird take… college football has been broken for at least 50 years. It’s not any different now than it was in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s before the playoff system. The sport has always been dominated by a few football factories that have big money, that bend the rules (cheat is an ugly word), and win national titles or have long sustained periods of excellence when you combine those resources with excellent coaches. For as long as I’ve been watching college football there has always only been a handful of teams with a realistic chance to win… Read more »

1 year ago
Reply to  Kirk

Umm. Your list is out dated. Believe it or not. I think NARDUZZI recruiting well in the WPIAL and state have contributed to PSU demise .

Kevin McCullough
Kevin McCullough
1 year ago

Mike; Unfortunately when it comes to politics and major D1 football success it starts with one thing – money. Hell many big time athletic departments and their budgets operate outside and are separate from the rest of their associated university. We have done this to ourselves as major programs and their associated major donors feed off each other in a frenzy that is hard to imagine. So I agree the business of major D1 football is broken. But I disagree with most of your reference that the sport is broken. The players are better athletes; training is better; coaching is… Read more »

1 year ago

Just cut rosters to 80 or 75 and the trickle down would extend all the way through every college football team regardless of division

1 year ago
Reply to  Vicsbean

Theoretically the #10 team would have 50 better players to choose from . Think of the impact it would have to better football all over the country.

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