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B/R CFB Community: What College Football Fans Would Change About the Sport

Adam Kramer@kegsneggsNational College Football Lead WriterAugust 12, 2021

FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2019, file photo, Oklahoma defensive lineman Neville Gallimore (90) waves an OU flag after his team's 34-27 victory over Texas in an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Texas and Oklahoma college football matchup will be a different game-day atmosphere this year with small crowds, no State Fair, a few food vendors, masks and social distancing. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter, File)
Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

Congratulations. You are now the commissioner of college football.

Well done. You've earned it. And with this power, you will now be able to shape the greatest sport on Earth as you please.

What would you do? Where would you focus first? Would you tackle expansion or perhaps the College Football Playoff? Would you change a rule that has driven you mad for years?

Earlier this week, we asked B/R readers to put on the commissioner hat—submitting their best fixes for college football. The responses were a mix of preseason and postseason reshuffling, demands for a certain video game, structure shake-ups and more.

Here are some of our favorites, with commentary attached.

                       

The Death of Preseason Polls 

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Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

User: @Adfelly88 

Proposal: "Get rid of the preseason polls."

In a word, yes.

Before I proceed, let us rise from our seats and offer up a sincere, hearty applause.

Not only do I fully endorse doing away with preseason polls, but I also have been clamoring for this for quite a while.

Will this clamoring lead me anywhere? Of course not.

Preseason polls are snackable content that promote the sport. They generate tons of clicks. (Trust me, I know.) They produce outrage and flood message boards. They are good for business—at least on the front end. They are part of our offseason itinerary.

You hate them, you love them, you despise them. Whatever your emotion might be, you can't help but care even if you say you don't.

And you should care, because these polls unknowingly inject bias into each year. If a team is deemed worthy of Top 10 placement before the season begins, it will have an easier time clawing back into the Top 10 after a loss. If a team starts outside of the Top 25, it will have to fight its way into relevancy over the first half of the season.

That is not how this should be done.

And here's the part that irks me most. Our College Football Playoff is decided by humans. Not computers. Humans, who have interest in these polls, are aware of expectations and can't help but get swept up in the yearly routine.

As much as they can say they're unbiased, it is impossible to escape the impacts.

                  

Supersizing the College Football Playoff

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

User: @BattlehawksSTL

Proposal: "This is the most obvious one but expand the playoff format to 8 to 12 teams so non power 5 teams have a better chance at winning the National Championship."

Good news. It's happening. This suggestion is already in motion. It appears to be a matter of when. Perhaps the only other unknown is how many teams will be included.

The CFP Board of Managers has already recommended increasing the size of the playoff from four teams to 12.

Now, there was some goofiness in this recommendation. For starters, while games would be played on college campuses in the first round—a fine idea for a sport that thrives in these environments—the top four teams in a given season would earn a bye and never play another game at home. Those games would be played on bowl sites.

Meh.

However, I like the idea of 12 teams. We can debate the nuances of this potential format at length, and I am sure we will in time. But the increase in teams could serve as a positive on so many fronts.

For starters, this would shine a light on the little guys. Coastal Carolina. UCF. Boise State. Pick your Group of Five team that has made noise in recent years, and imagine this program getting an actual crack at winning the national championship. In the current format, it's simply not happening.

More significant than that is the impact this will have on scheduling. It will allow more meaningful out-of-conference games early on (and hopefully more home-and-home series.)

It will allow teams like Georgia and Clemson to schedule more games against each other in the future. Teams will step out more, knowing there is more room for error.

The argument that this expansion will "water down" the regular season is incorrect. It'll add some needed teeth to scheduling, increase the number of potential teams involved and open the doors for others to finally be included.

I agree with the idea. Even if I didn't, it wouldn't matter.

It's coming.

                  

Resurrect the College Football Video Game ASAP

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28:  Former NFL star and ESPN analyst Keyshawn Johnson gives play calling advice as Esquire House guests play EA SPORTS NCAA 11 on LGÕs LE5500 at LG Electronics Party At The 2010 Esquire House on October 28, 2010 in Los Angeles,
Jordan Strauss/Getty Images

User: RiverCard

Proposal: "Only fix needed for college football... hurry up and release NCAA 2022"

Yes, another delightful concept. Thankfully, this idea is also in motion.

We know that EA Sports is reviving its college football series that last debuted in 2014. Well, sort of. The "NCAA Football" franchise will now be "EA Sports College Football."

EA confirmed this earlier this year in a tweet that brought the college football world closer together than it has ever been.

The timing of the release is a bit of a mystery—as is the possibility of having actual players in the game—although those two things should gain clarity relatively soon.

First, the release of the game. It takes time. It is unlikely that we see this game return in 2022. I imagine that the summer of 2023 is more likely given the scope of work required to rebuild a game as deep and popular as this one.

That is assuming it does not simply take the game engine from the Madden franchise and port it over. (That's not EA's style, so don't expect it.)

With the name, image and likeness rules underway, players are already taking full advantage of this new world of compensation out in the open. The group licenses necessary for the game are still a work in progress, although it seems reasonable to assume this will be worked out in a relatively short order.

It's going to be a bit of a wait, but I imagine it'll be worth it.

         

Let's Bring NFL Pass-Interference Rules to CFB

TUSCALOOSA, AL - DECEMBER 02: Auburn Tigers defensive back Quay Nelms is called for pass interference against Thompson Warriors wide receiver JB Mitchell (13) in the Alabama High School 7A championship game between the Thompson Warriors and Auburn Tigers
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

User: NicoASmith

Proposal: "Pass interference needs to be a spot foul just like the NFL."

Finally, a rules idea. Only I don't agree with this.

For those unsure of what is being discussed, here's a breakdown. In the NFL, the ball is placed at the spot of the foul where and when pass interference is called. In college football, pass interference is capped at a 15-yard gain and an automatic first down.

Here is why I would prefer not to adopt the spot foul in college. The officiating on these calls—at both levels—is questionable at best. While there are certainly plenty of no-brainer pass-interference calls made throughout a weekend, there are also plenty of bad ones.

Putting a cap on these calls limits the potential impact. On a deep ball thrown down the sideline, with two players fighting back and forth for the ball, it is unreasonable to reward an offensive player with more than 50 yards on plays that are largely judgement calls. 

I am not just saying this because I cover the sport. Call me biased. I've heard worse. It just feels like 15 yards is an adequate punishment given the difficulty officials have making these calls in real time. 

No change needed here.

         

BAN 'BAMA

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 11: Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban gives a thumbs up as he celebrates on the stage with Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (left), Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Landon Dickerson (69), Alabama Crimso
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

User: BRINGBACKBONDS

Proposal: "Remove bama." 

Ah, an aggressive concept.

I can't blame anyone for wanting Alabama football removed from the sport. Since 2009, the program has tallied six national championships. This is a comical amount. No matter how many times we try to declare the dynasty dead, it finds a way back into the title game. 

Now, how can we remove it? The NFL? CFL? MLB?

Can we convince NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to merely activate a new Alabama team and just kind of roll with it? This seems unlikely.

Could we simply dissolve Alabama? If you're an Auburn fan sizing up at least a few more seasons of coach Nick Saban, this sounds like a lovely concept. Let's just end this football program entirely.

This, well, isn't possible either.

If you CAN'T compete with 'Bama or you're just tired of 'Bama or maybe a bit of both, the answer is to wait until Saban leaves. That is the best chance you have of getting rid of the program.

With Saban just having signed a brand-new contract extension through the 2028 campaign—one that will pay him more than $10 million per season shortly—it might be a while. Godspeed.

      

Let's Not Do a Single Thing

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - AUGUST 29: Atmosphere before the Texas State Bobcats play the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on August 29, 2019 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

User: thafunk 

Proposal: "college football is perfect how it is……….……….………………"

First, let it be known that I included the exact number of periods posted in the comment in this article. There are 38 in all, and I assume they are for added effect. I wanted to honor the spirit of the comment. I care that much.

In many ways, this is the correct take. College football is a beautiful game. Perfect? Absolutely not. But beautiful? Of course.

In fact, I love college football for its imperfections. The mistakes. The weirdness. Even the realignment goofiness. All of it.

There are ways the sport can continually improve and evolve, but make no mistake about it. This is a wonderful game in so many ways, and I am thrilled that actual football is inching closer. 

Things can always be better. But this game is magnificent as is.

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