Football's Final Four: Separate Conferences, Please
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Is being consistent too much to ask?
If the College Football Playoff is going to have better cred than the BCS, then that's gotta happen.
Down and dirty, here's the point:
- Conferences' championship game qualifiers are division winners.
- Thus, conference championship games cannot feature intra-divisional rematches.
That's it. Carved in stone in both Power Five and Other Five circuits.
Think about these realities:
- Alabama and LSU will never meet in the SEC title game.
- Arizona State and UCLA will never meet in the Pac-12 title game.
- Florida State and Clemson -- thank the football gods -- will never meet in the ACC title game.
- Michigan State and Ohio State will never meet in the Big Ten title game.
Obviously. Each pairing lives in the same division!
These conferences have decided that -- no matter what the out-of-division format may be -- only division winners get a shot at their crown. The logic is that somewhere during each season, the best will emerge from their scheduling latticework.
In every other sporting competition around the globe, that's how pool play and brackets function. If they want wild cards, they expand their bracket.
The CFP is currently set on four teams for five big-brand bundles of teams. So, no matter how inequitable this is, one titlist watches with the rest of us.
This year, the SEC West is strong. Who knows? Five seasons from now, it could be the Big Ten West. It shouldn't matter. In some way, shape, or cupcake-chomping form, each of the conferences is satisfied its best will rise above the rest.
College football fans are fond of saying the entire campaign is a knockout tournament. OK, then, everyone's bought in to the concept. That should include the Selection Committee, too. It's hinted as much.
So, somewhere in a 12-game slate, every school is gonna have its shot.
Win and move on. The conferences built their schedules that way. They and their fans can come to no other sensible conclusion than to extend that consistency all the way through its season. And that means no conference should get a double-entrant into a CFP four-team bracket.