We're going to be in and out this afternoon so play nice. And gang, we have a few open spots for Friday's mailbag and the contest deadline is tomorrow. We're dealing with a lot of stuff.
From the "Talks Too Much" Studios, here we go...
Yeah, a playoff... Stink
In this Jan. 9, 2012, file photo, the Coaches' Trophy is displayed before the BCS National Championship game between the LSU and Alabama in New Orleans. College football will finally have a playoff. Come 2014, the BCS is dead. A committee of university presidents on Tuesday, June 26, 2012, approved the BCS commissioners' plan for a four-team playoff to start in the 2014 season.
The group of college presidents approved the four-team playoff model. It will take affect in 2014 and there was mention of a 12-year commitment to this plan.
We all wanted a playoff, yet this feels so anti-climatic, so disappointing. It's like opening a sweater on Christmas. Sure it's a sweater and the thought was nice and appropriate, but where's the X-Box games or the pitching wedge.
College football fans opened a gift with the announcement of a four-team playoff on the horizon, but that gift four was teams too small. And 12 years? 12 years? Sweet buckets, three presidential terms of this.
Deep breaths, deep breaths... and it is fair to ask that if you wanted a playoff and you're now unhappy with a playoff after about 14 hours after said-playoff was announced then there's no pleasing you. Well, it would be fair to ask that, but it would be wrong.
This is the lords of college football's manor giving the starving serfdom of fanhood a scrap from their table and expecting glorious applause of gratitude for their generosity. This is the worst type of plan; it's doomed two years before it starts. And it quite possibly could do what, until this very moment, was deemed unthinkable — there's a very real possibility that a four-team playoff could make fans long for the good-old days of the BCS.
Don't think so? OK, play out last year's scenario: The four-teams that would have been in the field after the end of the regular season were LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Oregon. That's no Wisconsin and Stanford, which is not a good start. Now what if Boise had not missed a 35-yard field goal in a one-point loss to TCU. And what if Georgia had not dropped a half-dozen passes — including a couple of for-sure TDs throws that could have meant a two- or three-TD lead — in the first half of the SEC title game.
If just those two things had not happened, who was your four? Oklahoma State, Oregon, Boise State and ....Alabama?
“It won’t be easy to pick those four teams,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford, a playoff supporter. “There may be some years where it’s really clear, but more often than not if you’re fifth or sixth, you’re going to wonder, ‘Maybe I should have been there.’”
And this is a crafter of the plan second-guessing the plan the day the plan was to be hailed as the plan of all plans. Well the stuff has hit the plan.
Granted there still are semantics to be determined. There were no announcements about the selection committee, which must be as open as a love-stricken teenager's wallet.
And the biggest shock is not the four-team format as much as the 12-year commitment.
There are three things we have said and believed from the very beginning. This can not damage the integrity of the regular season, this has to be an eight-team field, and this has nothing to do with fairness or fans and everything to do with finances.
And while we expected the power brokers of college football to disregard or be indifferent to the first two, we banked on the last sentence as the great equalizer between the wants of the haves and have nots and between the powerful and the passionate.
But 12 years? Most of the marriages that end in divorce don't last that long.
We knew the currents were blowing to a four-team field, and believed that a four-team field for three years — and with a $500 million per year TV price —would allow the big wigs to see the big checks that were out there. Then the escalation to eight teams and a $1 billion — yes, billion with a 'B' — deal would be there for the taking.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told reporters this was “the best new property to come on to the sports marketplace maybe in our lifetime.”
He's right, and it's still only half as good as what could have been.
More from Delany of the playoff: “There will be a period of time of celebration. We were probably the last defenders of the BCS, and we’ll be the first defenders of this. We’ll be the last off the wagon on it too. We won’t be calling for eight. We’ll be defending four.”
Of course you will because you are the puppets of the powerful. And if you don't believe so, how can you justify being defensive of your plan on the first day of the "time of celebration?"
The four-team playoff is better than the BCS. It's just not as good as the best sport in the country deserves. And it sadly appears it will be 12 years before it can be fixed.
In this March 31, 2012 file photo, Kentucky forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts during the second half of an NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball tournament game against Louisville, in New Orleans. Davis is a possible pick in the NBA Draft on Jan. 28.
We love the draft. You know this.
OK, now that we got that out of the way, we need to move quickly this morning, so here's where we are with our draft stuff.
The contest (pick who you think will be the No. 2 pick/the number of SEC players picked/the Hawks's first pick/and who has the most "impactful" suit) is in full swing. We updated it some yesterday and have some more for later this afternoon.
Let's spin sideways on the NBA draft.
Who are the best five players from this draft five years from now?
Anthony Davis is a hoss. We think Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is going to be star in the right situation (dude is not a lead dog, but he could be the best wingman since Maverick in the final scenes of "Top Gun"). Brandon Beal is going to score a ton — TON — of points in the league.
From there, it's dicey. We love Thomas Robinson's effort, but high-energy interior guys in college can struggle in the show. And he is just one of a slew of guys that appear to be in the "Scared" category — that is GMs are scared to take them and scared not to.
When this draft gets reshuffled five years from now, we think A-Davis, MKG, Beal, Jeremy Lamb and Austin Rivers would rank as the top names on the board.
Kenseth takes his steering wheel and drives
This April 14, 2012 file photo shows Matt Kenseth before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Samsung 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Tx. NASCAR points leader Kenseth is leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be promoted to his seat in the Sprint Cup Series.
Matt Kenseth is leading the points standing. It seems to be as stable a team as there is in NASCAR.
Seems to be some disconnect between appearances and application, no?
Kenseth announced he would be leaving Roush Racing at season's end. This actually gives NASCAR a little bit more of a professional sports feel. This is free agency, it happens in every big time sport (even college football, where transferring is as commonplace as khaki pants and New Balance sneakers at the fraternity get together).
It's the way of sports. Now the timing of said announcement is poor, and this will be a learning curve for the NASCAR folks moving into the spotlight: Take care of the BID-ness on the track from February to November; take care of the off-track BID-ness after the season.
And who knows where Kenseth is heading (hmmmm, is that Joe Gibbs smiling back there?), if we're a Dale Jr. fan, we're happy with the unrest atop the points standing.
This and that
— If you check back to Tuesday's 5-at-10, we predicted that Braves catcher Brian McCann was about to go on a tear from now until the All-Star break. He started the Braves' season-long, 10-game homestand Tuesday with two hits and two RBIs in five at-bats in an 8-1 win over Arizona. Buckle up.
— Want another reason to love Anthony Davis? Dude is embracing his unibrow. In an era of hyper-self-consciousness and insecurity, what a great example for kids everywhere. "It makes me different," Davis said recently. And different is cool.
— USA Today is reporting that former Georgia All-American David Pollack will be working the booth during ESPN's Thursday night college football broadcasts. Good luck, David. We can remember covering him in the Georgia state football playoffs. Dude was a nasty fullback back in the day. And sweet buckets, the high school studs that were his age in Gwinnett County back then: McCann, Pollack, David Greene, Jeff Francoeur just to name a few.
The four-team playoff system... friend or foe?
What was your first reaction and what was your reaction this morning? Was there buyer's remorse or subdued satisfaction or thrilled excitement?
The selection committee and the process of picking the four teams could still be a plus to this system, but who knows?
We still think it was only half what was needed. Or to put it another way, if you had a chance to save the entire world and only saved half of it would you be a hero or a mass murderer? (Sounds like Jack Bauer better be on the selection committee by golly.)
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...