For the most part tonight, college football media, bloggers, message board wall flowers, and water cooler conversation junkies will be sitting around the picture box salivating at ESPN’s CFB Playoff committee rankings show like starving junkyard dogs do at a plump tom cat licking its paws right outside the gate.
If we’re all honest about wanting to make college football better, boycott the silly thing and let’s start making it go away. It does more hurt than help.
A funny thing happens about 50 seconds after the rankings are released … websites put up blurbs about who was ranked where, and FWAA types like us on this site get an e-mail almost automatically with the rankings and a blurb about them.
On the surface, the rankings show looks like some attempt at that transparency thing we all demand, but really, it’s just the reddest of red meat thrown in the hot take microwave and then on the plates of the immediate-opinion starved public.
It doesn’t have anything to do with the committee. Last year, each week when the rankings were revealed (full disclosure: I didn’t watch a single second of any of the shows), the college football world collectively got a chance to choke down their vomit in hopes that this was all some sort of ratings-grab charade.
For the most part, it read like an SEC fan club meeting.
The optimist said that this was nothing more than a function of needing saber rattling and eyeballs, and as we all know, bombastic language and smoldering takes that piss people off draw more reaction than logical thought and honest nuance.
That’s why there are so many scorched earth opinions and screaming media members on television and radio anymore.
Look no further than politics, where both major parties have seen a lead in the polls by wholly dishonest people (Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton) who like to use sharp tongues and fiery rhetoric to ignore the lack of substance and utter dishonesty.
The optimist said that when it came down to the brass tacks, the committee would flex the intellectual muscle everyone hoped it had and come to the best conclusion on the four teams worthy of being in based on the criteria they said was important.
The pessimist was seeing the sky falling, and since there was nothing to fall back on in precedent, it was time to build a bunker and hope this thing would be disbanded as soon as possible. Load up on canned foods, and we’ll see you when the Martians leave.
The optimist, thankfully, won out, as outside of some kvetching around Texas, most people felt like the final four let in was a reasonable concoction, and the logic that got them there was sound. This was only proven more correct when the only controversial team put in (Ohio State) ended up roughing up the two champs of the two assumed best conferences (Oregon, Alabama) en route to a title.
Interestingly, though, is that it exposed these rankings shows for what they are as nothing but red meat for the hungry public to lash out at. This may be a little Fox Mulder, but would it really surprise anyone if the ESPN brass sat down with the committee and gently suggested to make this have max entertainment value, even when it came to ranking the teams?
Transparency can be had without this weekly dog and pony show. The committee can very easily submit their full ballots up to whatever amount of teams are deemed necessary (doesn’t need to be 25) and write small blurbs on the top four as to why they personally put them there.
The cheese doesn’t need to be dangled in front of the mouse. You can simply throw the little guy the darned thing and leave the room.
There’s good transparency, and there’s transparency for the sake of being able to fall back and say, “look, we tried to be transparent!” whether the actual transparency was happening or not.
Help make college football better. Find something else to watch or do on Tuesday nights, and check your e-mail before you go to bed.
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