College Football Playoff: Paul Johnson's Playoff View Is the One We Should Fear
Plenty of coaches have been asked about the college football playoff. Generally, the responses have been to the tune of getting the best four in and watching to see how the selection committee is constructed.
The idea of bracket creep is a real one, as Steve Spurrier remarked back in May, per Josh Kendall at The State via Twitter:
Steve Spurrier a fan of four-team playoff. "And I (will) like the eight team when we go to that in about five years."
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) May 1, 2012
Spurrier's off-the-cuff joke raised eyebrows because, even as he joked, he spoke a little truth.
One man who does not joke is Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson. Johnson embraces bracket creep and turns it up a notch—all in the name of hoping to "get a shot."
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, Johnson is not just in favor of a bigger playoff, he wants 16 teams in that thing:
“You take 11 [conference champions] and then you add five at-large [teams], give ’em a chance,” Johnson said this week at ACC Media Days. “If your conference hasn’t done well, you become the 16th seed. You have to go play against No. 1, but at least you had a chance.”
The idea that "everyone deserves a chance" is the scary, self-serving part of what a playoff should be about. Expansion creates more of a spectacle, less of a chance to crown the best team at the end of the regular season and moves the goalpost for greatness closer to average.
Should the playoff go to 16 teams, with automatic bids, as Paul Johnson hopes?
The idea that Clemson, Arkansas State, Northern Illinois, West Virginia and Louisiana Tech "deserve a chance" to win a title is just untrue.
They won their title, the conference title, by being the best of the "not as good" teams in their respective leagues. A national championship most certainly should not be next on their list. Not a group of teams that boasts losses like Mississippi State, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas and Syracuse.
Smaller is better. It retains the push to be among the top teams in the country to gain access and does not allow a "best of the worst" to luck into a title.
Of all the attitudes surrounding a playoff, this is the one to be most wary of.
Certainly, there will be a push for eight teams to get involved, after teams No. 5 and 6 miss out in the future. The push to 16, with automatic bids, should be avoided. This move only serves one group in the sport, the people who aren't good enough to actually rise to the occasion.
If you want into the playoff, shouldn't your goal be to get better? Not to, as we saw Jim Delany do early in the process, schedule a loophole or an easy way to get into the dance.
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