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The State of NCAA Football

Creebuzz

Survives on seaweed and Natty Boh.
Club Member
I disagree with a bunch of side stuff. But, yeah, college football is pretty imbalanced right now. I personally believe the playoff system really damaged the sport, but everyone wanted a clear winner and the destruction of the bowl system. I liked the prior ambiguity of the national champion. I argued on this very site against the playoff system. And the sport is definitely less fun today.
 

DBT

Club Member
Club Member
I disagree with a bunch of side stuff. But, yeah, college football is pretty imbalanced right now. I personally believe the playoff system really damaged the sport, but everyone wanted a clear winner and the destruction of the bowl system. I liked the prior ambiguity of the national champion. I argued on this very site against the playoff system. And the sport is definitely less fun today.
Yeah, I was thinking the exact same thing. The bowl system was a lot more interesting. As for the guys take on college football, I disagree with much of it. I enjoy the dynamics of college football, including recruiting. Personally, I find the NFL less interesting in many ways.
 

GawainBuff

Well-Known Member
I disagree with a bunch of side stuff. But, yeah, college football is pretty imbalanced right now. I personally believe the playoff system really damaged the sport, but everyone wanted a clear winner and the destruction of the bowl system. I liked the prior ambiguity of the national champion. I argued on this very site against the playoff system. And the sport is definitely less fun today.

I agree that it’s stupefying that CF has reduced its focus to just a couple of teams churning toward a single championship, with no sense of a level playing field.
I also was not part of the drumbeat toward a playoff. A playoff only makes sense within a closed, regulated competitive system. Nothing could be further from the present state of college football.
I used to love the bowl season. My entire family would get amped up for whatever bowl CU was in, regardless of its distance from any national honors.
I loved the option. I loved the variety of offensive schemes and bold choices, while finding most NFL games to be pretty vanilla, regardless of the “superior” talent level.

I disagree with the video that the greater NFL talent pool makes for a more enjoyable “product.” College football will always be a good game to watch. I don’t need every player to be one year from being on an NFL roster, like Alabama.

And free agency in the NFL pretty much killed rooting for a team of the same players for years for me. That’s just rare now. I mean, one year, I’m supposed to hate the Charger’s running back as he trucks our MLB, but this year he’s our running back!! Whoo! That just takes so much of the edge out of it for me.
It more like watching money move around. Why is that interesting? Ok. You get used to each new team each year, but just when you have a favorite player.. whoosh... he now plays for the Giants.
I love to root for the Buffs, in part, because they aren’t Alabama, and every game is a real drama. Winning actually means something, and isn’t ever a given. That’s drama. That’s sports.
Can we get the bowls back and lose the playoffs? Maybe a degree of competitive regulation?
Vent over.
 

MtnBuff

Not allowed in Barzil 2
Club Member
I agree that it’s stupefying that CF has reduced its focus to just a couple of teams churning toward a single championship, with no sense of a level playing field.
I also was not part of the drumbeat toward a playoff. A playoff only makes sense within a closed, regulated competitive system. Nothing could be further from the present state of college football.
I used to love the bowl season. My entire family would get amped up for whatever bowl CU was in, regardless of its distance from any national honors.
I loved the option. I loved the variety of offensive schemes and bold choices, while finding most NFL games to be pretty vanilla, regardless of the “superior” talent level.

I disagree with the video that the greater NFL talent pool makes for a more enjoyable “product.” College football will always be a good game to watch. I don’t need every player to be one year from being on an NFL roster, like Alabama.

And free agency in the NFL pretty much killed rooting for a team of the same players for years for me. That’s just rare now. I mean, one year, I’m supposed to hate the Charger’s running back as he trucks our MLB, but this year he’s our running back!! Whoo! That just takes so much of the edge out of it for me.
It more like watching money move around. Why is that interesting? Ok. You get used to each new team each year, but just when you have a favorite player.. whoosh... he now plays for the Giants.
I love to root for the Buffs, in part, because they aren’t Alabama, and every game is a real drama. Winning actually means something, and isn’t ever a given. That’s drama. That’s sports.
Can we get the bowls back and lose the playoffs? Maybe a degree of competitive regulation?
Vent over.
I don't think the playoff will ever go away. Cat's out of the bag and they killed the great thing they had.

A huge part of the fun of college football was the discussion during the entire off season about who had actually had the best season, who was the best team for that entire year.

Now in terms of the P5 schools for every school but one the year was a failure. Pre-playoff the goal was to win your bowl game and let the chips fall where they may. You had teams and their fan bases happy because they ended up as the Rose Bowl Champ, the Sugar Bowl Champ, the Orange Bowl, etc.

The current system will continue to focus the money, the attention, and the best players to at most 5-6 schools with even those schools not being balanced.

How long is it until significant numbers of fans bases ask the question why are they putting in the time and the money for a program that will end every year labelled as a loser because they aren't one of the "elite" 5-6 teams.

Attendance is down across college football (talking pre-covid) as are TV ratings for most games.

They aren't going to beat the NFL for fans by trying to be more like the NFL. The NFL is a monster that eats everything that gets in it's way.

I will always be a CU fan but I may end up putting my focus on supporting a D2 program. Yes I know they have a playoff as well but I have talked to fans of those schools and seen comments from players. They want to do well in the playoff but the target for almost all of these schools is much simpler, beat their rivals and win the league. Anything on top of that is gravy.
 

hokiehead

Gobbler on the Mountain!
Club Member
all of those who were on the record as anti-playoff have posted here, but I'm really interested in thoughts from the pro-playoff crowd.

1. We now have a unambiguous system for determining something close to a consensus NC. That was the CFB holy grail that fans have been screaming to get for decades, and is now part of our reality. If the current state of power imbalance persists, and the same eleven (or so) teams make the playoffs year after year for the foreseeable future, do you consider it an acceptable tradeoff in exchange for having the playoffs?

2. Do you believe the situation will correct itself without further rule or policy changes and if so how? e.g. we just need a few legendary coaches to retire and those schools will no longer be able to stock pile top recruits?

3. if you answered NO for #2, what policy changes would you advocate? reduced scholarships at D1 schools? shortly after I joined AB there were some people advocating for a draft system -- that sounds insane to me, but? organize scheduling at the national level and implement a system where the best teams in year 1 play tougher schedules in year 2 (a.la. NFL)? break the P5 into two groups: the 11 or so teams who make the playoffs and the other 54 into a new D1 sub-division?


note: I completely understand why many people wanted a playoff. I disagreed with their reasoning as to why, but I understood the feelings and felt the passion from so many people on the subject. While I anticipated this current state as an outcome, even with my most pessimistic view of the playoffs I never would've expected it to get this bad this quickly -- I suspect very few did.
 

DBT

Club Member
Club Member
One policy I’ve always had an issue with, and I’m not even sure what the policies are now, is the APR requirement. It always seemed to me that policy favors schools with, let’s say, less stringent academic structure. Mainly, majors more geared for the less academically inclined athletes.

But the chasm is only going to widen when the NCAA approves athletes being able to sell there names for profit. There will never be a chance after that for a school like CU to make a run at a NC. No way. NCAA football will be akin to the NBA where superstars collude to build super teams.

With basketball, at least, lower tier teams can compete. And the reason is, of course, that there are way fewer scholarships available which results in a more even distribution of talent. And just the nature of basketball means they a few great players can make a huge difference in team success. So, maybe, reducing scholarships in football would make a difference.
 

hokiehead

Gobbler on the Mountain!
Club Member
One policy I’ve always had an issue with, and I’m not even sure what the policies are now, is the APR requirement. It always seemed to me that policy favors schools with, let’s say, less stringent academic structure. Mainly, majors more geared for the less academically inclined athletes.

But the chasm is only going to widen when the NCAA approves athletes being able to sell there names for profit. There will never be a chance after that for a school like CU to make a run at a NC. No way. NCAA football will be akin to the NBA where superstars collude to build super teams.

With basketball, at least, lower tier teams can compete. And the reason is, of course, that there are way fewer scholarships available which results in a more even distribution of talent. And just the nature of basketball means they a few great players can make a huge difference in team success. So, maybe, reducing scholarships in football would make a difference.
you touched on it with APR, but I think that raising the bar on academic requirements for D1 is one possible solution.

in the current model, I think this would have to come from the conferences, but some sort of requirement that effectively says "incoming athletes must meet the same academic requirements as the rest of the student body" could go a long way toward improving parity. I realize that wordsmithing the policy and defining an enforcement mechanism are large issues that would need to be worked out.
 

DBT

Club Member
Club Member
you touched on it with APR, but I think that raising the bar on academic requirements for D1 is one possible solution.

in the current model, I think this would have to come from the conferences, but some sort of requirement that effectively says "incoming athletes must meet the same academic requirements as the rest of the student body" could go a long way toward improving parity. I realize that wordsmithing the policy and defining an enforcement mechanism are large issues that would need to be worked out.
The issue is the majors that are offered. Some schools have majors sort of geared for athletes. That said, it isn’t like CU, for instance, doesn’t have “easy” majors. CU has somewhat stringent admission standards and limits the number of exceptions we allow. I think that is one policy that pissed Tucker off.
 

patebuff

Club Member
Club Member
all of those who were on the record as anti-playoff have posted here, but I'm really interested in thoughts from the pro-playoff crowd.

1. We now have a unambiguous system for determining something close to a consensus NC. That was the CFB holy grail that fans have been screaming to get for decades, and is now part of our reality. If the current state of power imbalance persists, and the same eleven (or so) teams make the playoffs year after year for the foreseeable future, do you consider it an acceptable tradeoff in exchange for having the playoffs?

2. Do you believe the situation will correct itself without further rule or policy changes and if so how? e.g. we just need a few legendary coaches to retire and those schools will no longer be able to stock pile top recruits?

3. if you answered NO for #2, what policy changes would you advocate? reduced scholarships at D1 schools? shortly after I joined AB there were some people advocating for a draft system -- that sounds insane to me, but? organize scheduling at the national level and implement a system where the best teams in year 1 play tougher schedules in year 2 (a.la. NFL)? break the P5 into two groups: the 11 or so teams who make the playoffs and the other 54 into a new D1 sub-division?


note: I completely understand why many people wanted a playoff. I disagreed with their reasoning as to why, but I understood the feelings and felt the passion from so many people on the subject. While I anticipated this current state as an outcome, even with my most pessimistic view of the playoffs I never would've expected it to get this bad this quickly -- I suspect very few did.
Ultimately, a four team playoff was a ways to get a playoff started. I don't think it was ever intended to be a long term solution. It's obvious that an expansion is needed. An 8-10 playoff seems to be the next step. Obviously, money is going to rule this next step so I can't see how that means less revenue.

You will still have your top heavy teams, but I do think it will help distribute talent more evenly, although it will be interesting to see how far the image and likeness goes because that could help some programs if they market it correctly (USC could have a massive advantage with this because of the music and entertainment industry right next to them).

Your second step that was listed above is furthering scholarships. We saw this when teams could offer 100 plus scholarships back in the day and then when it went down to 85, it had a resounding effect with talent distribution. I don't know if 80 or 75 is the answer, but it will probably have to be something looked at in the future if they want to fix the talent disparity.
 

GawainBuff

Well-Known Member
I don't think the playoff will ever go away. Cat's out of the bag and they killed the great thing they had.

I am sure you are right. Money moves all of this. But it seems to me that the non-playoff bowl system HAS to be taking a major hit. It's not just the three "bowls" that get the playoff games, its the inherent focus throughout the season on only those teams with a chance of making it to the playoffs.

In the past, there was a much broader discussion of teams and goals , with a large number of paths to the end of the season. The discussion didn't narrow as much as it does now. Which teams will end up in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Holiday Bowl, etc.? When will CU ever play a team like Syracuse in a bowl game again, with Hagen throwing jump passes as we shifted away from an option offense? Each bowl had its own cache, and sets of rivalries. As the season neared its end, my family would consider where we would vacation over the holiday in relation to the bowl(s) that CU might play in. The cities where those bowls were located had a huge influx of fans each year. That has to have dropped off.

I think another aspect of this is the in-conference scheduling. 9 games against the PAC-12 strips the fun of playing strange and different teams from around the country. That was always an interesting part of the season. I remember the Kick-Off Classic against Tennessee, which was a heck of a game. What would the history of this program be without Michigan? Instead, we get a couple of patsies, and maybe CSU. We might schedule one good team every other year or so, but the rest in conference play. I realize it's really a difference of one additional game, but it really seems like a big shift away from interdivisional play.

Maybe some of my disillusion goes with getting older, but I have a nephew who is a huge sports and Buffs fan (even with a friend on the team), and he has nowhere near the fanatic level of interests of engagement any of us used to have. That can't bode well for the state of college football going forward.
 

MtnBuff

Not allowed in Barzil 2
Club Member
I am sure you are right. Money moves all of this. But it seems to me that the non-playoff bowl system HAS to be taking a major hit. It's not just the three "bowls" that get the playoff games, its the inherent focus throughout the season on only those teams with a chance of making it to the playoffs.

In the past, there was a much broader discussion of teams and goals , with a large number of paths to the end of the season. The discussion didn't narrow as much as it does now. Which teams will end up in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Holiday Bowl, etc.? When will CU ever play a team like Syracuse in a bowl game again, with Hagen throwing jump passes as we shifted away from an option offense? Each bowl had its own cache, and sets of rivalries. As the season neared its end, my family would consider where we would vacation over the holiday in relation to the bowl(s) that CU might play in. The cities where those bowls were located had a huge influx of fans each year. That has to have dropped off.

I think another aspect of this is the in-conference scheduling. 9 games against the PAC-12 strips the fun of playing strange and different teams from around the country. That was always an interesting part of the season. I remember the Kick-Off Classic against Tennessee, which was a heck of a game. What would the history of this program be without Michigan? Instead, we get a couple of patsies, and maybe CSU. We might schedule one good team every other year or so, but the rest in conference play. I realize it's really a difference of one additional game, but it really seems like a big shift away from interdivisional play.

Maybe some of my disillusion goes with getting older, but I have a nephew who is a huge sports and Buffs fan (even with a friend on the team), and he has nowhere near the fanatic level of interests of engagement any of us used to have. That can't bode well for the state of college football going forward.
I agree with everything you are saying and as the interest in the non-playoff bowls and the teams that are regularly in them continues to drop the money that goes with those bowls and teams will also fall off.

Unfortunately I don't think there is any way to go back. The limited number of big programs and their conferences aren't going to willingly give up the system. It may also be that the other bowls have already be damaged badly enough that a full return isn't possible.

Habits and customs have already been changed. I remember when New Years day was the highlight of the college football season. Fans all over the country settled in with their snacks and beverages and often with some friends (and a hangover) to watch an entire day of the cumulation of the season. I don't think that's coming back.
 

Buffs35

Well-Known Member
Expanding the playoff and giving P5 conference champs and automatic bid would increase interest in conference play, imo. And it could also lead to less b*tching from conferences that play more conference games than others.
 

TSchekler

Club Member
Club Member
Basically, this. Unless they reduce scholarship limits and class sizes, forcing the top talent to spread out among different programs more, things will likely remain top heavy. However, College Football HAS to do something to increase interest among the other 85% of P5 programs... Also, I do believe that the increased excitement will generate more TV money, more support, more booster $$, more exposure and therefore help spread talent out.
 

patebuff

Club Member
Club Member
Basically, this. Unless they reduce scholarship limits and class sizes, forcing the top talent to spread out among different programs more, things will likely remain top heavy. However, College Football HAS to do something to increase interest among the other 85% of P5 programs... Also, I do believe that the increased excitement will generate more TV money, more support, more booster $$, more exposure and therefore help spread talent out.
They are not going back to the old system of BCS or coaches/AP polls to determine the championship game so not even worth discussing. Expanding at least gives the illusion that other teams can compete and ultimately for most Schools, its getting to the playoff. College football is going down a path that I think is losing a lot of interest because of what the playoff has created. I don't know that expanding completely changes much, but gives fans interest in the fact their team actually has a chance and the casual fan a reason to cheer for the underdog.

I have friends who were big time college fans and have almost completely stopped watching because of this.
 
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Highlander

There can be only one
Club Member
Basically, this. Unless they reduce scholarship limits and class sizes, forcing the top talent to spread out among different programs more, things will likely remain top heavy. However, College Football HAS to do something to increase interest among the other 85% of P5 programs... Also, I do believe that the increased excitement will generate more TV money, more support, more booster $$, more exposure and therefore help spread talent out.
There is a reason the NFL structure is set up to drive parity across all teams.

It is very rare for an org like the Patriots to be as elite as they were for as long as they were.

Owners go along with it because they care about more $$ even more than they care about winning.
 

BUFFS14

Well-Known Member
We currently do not have a playoff, it is more of an invitational. If we want to expand and make lower teams more interesting, we should take all D1 conference winners and create a true playoff. IMO you should not win a NC if you don't win your conference. I would also lower the scholarships to 75. If every D1 conference championship had a chance to win the NC I believe you would see more top kids going to other schools than the top 4-5 that currently hoard all the top talent.

I acknowledge the G5 would get killed for a couple/few years, however they would get a chance to pick up players that would normally be out of their reach. The Cincinnati, Coastal Carolinas, Boise States of the college football world would have a chance.

Winning and recruiting to win your conference becomes more important. If you win the PAC (or any conference) you get a shot at a NC. IMO this would take some of the power from the Alabama, Clemson, or tOSU. Kids from CA would be more likely to stay in the PAC footprint knowing they have a shot at a NC, instead of running to Alabama, or Clemson.
 

TSchekler

Club Member
Club Member
They are not going back to the old system of BCS or coaches/AP polls to determine the championship game so not even worth discussing. Expanding at least gives the illusion that other teams can compete and ultimately for most Schools, its getting to the playoff. College football is going down a path that I think is losing a lot of interest because of what the playoff has created. I don't know that expanding completely changes much, but gives fans interest in the fact their team actually have a chance and the casual fan a reason to cheer for the underdog.

I have friends who were big time college fans and have almost completely stopped watching because of this.
It's been discussed in prior years for sure, but this is the loudest I can remember media and fans talking about how indifferent the mass interest in CFB has become. The video in the OP may not represent everyone's opinions, particularly the older crowd and fans of the blue bloods, but KFC (barstool personality) is pretty representative of the middle and younger generations that are going to make up the vast majority of the viewers going forward.

I used to be against the idea of automatic qualifiers, but I now believe there has to be a reward for winning a P5 conference. I don't care if the Pac 12 Champ gets it's ass kicked by Alabama in the first round (Hint: Notre Dame, aTm, etc all did or would have gotten their ass kicked by Bama in the first round).

CFB also used to be unique in the different offenses that teams ran (Air Raid, Pro Style, Spread, Triple Option, Wing T, Wishbone, etc), which made it fun to watch in and of itself. That has completely died and all offenses are the same, outside of the academies. All QBs are athletic and have a running component to their game and it's all RPO based. People say they don't want it to become the NFL, but it's already become the NFL, without the parts that actually make the NFL good. No parity and ****ty postseason.
 

MCskid

Well-Known Member
What makes the NCAA basketball tourney the most exciting event in sports, the upsets, david vs golaith. 4 or 5 of these small schools have made the final four. One year that small school had the final shot bounce of the rim that would have won them the NC. It would be incredibly easy for the NCAA to make the football playoffs the most exciting event in sports(people love football more than basketball). Expand the playoffs to 16 teams, like every other division, and have automatic bids for all P5/G5 conference champs plus 6 at large bids. This would bring a ton of excitement back to the regular season as everyone would be focused on winning their conference or doing well enough to get an at large bid. Do this and reduce the number of scholarships( like that 15/75 idea) and suddenly college football would be bigger than the NFL. It never ceases to amaze me how stupid everyone in college football is, the Presidents/AD's, Coaches and fans.
A system like this would bring in an insane amount of money, excitement, interest and give everyone a chance. For instance, with the current system there are 3 teams in the sec that can win a NC yet every other school and their fans want to keep the current system, chant "sec, sec" all the time even though they will never, ever win a NC.
 

Highlander

There can be only one
Club Member
I previously said I'd like to see a 32 game playoff. That was a bit too much. Watching Alabama play the #64 team in the country in the first round would be like watching paint dry.

Even though Alabama vs. the #32 team in the country would still be awful, there would be plenty of fun matchups and definitely some upsets in the first round.
 

TSchekler

Club Member
Club Member
I previously said I'd like to see a 32 game playoff. That was a bit too much. Watching Alabama play the #64 team in the country in the first round would be like watching paint dry.

Even though Alabama vs. the #32 team in the country would still be awful, there would be plenty of fun matchups and definitely some upsets in the first round.
I don't even think 32. I'm biased cause I'm a big Klatt fan, but I am basically in lockstep with his ideas on this.

 

TSchekler

Club Member
Club Member
I think a 14 or 16 team playoff would be ideal. Sure, Alabama and Clemson are probably still winning for a while, but the rest of the playoffs would basically be like the same non-CFP bowl season, except winner gets to go play another game against a high profile team the following week.
 

TSchekler

Club Member
Club Member
I am ok with any of those options.
Of course, all of this is contingent on whether or not "College Football" actually wants parity and more fan interest, outside of the blue bloods. Who is going to make these decisions? How do you get the SEC and ACC to play and equal schedule to BIG, Pac 12 and Big 12? How do you tell each conference to remove divisions? How do you convince the power brokers in the sport, who are already benefiting the most, to get on board with changing everything so they can't dominate as much?
 
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