Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss yet another year of blowouts in the College Football Playoff semifinals, and debate if expansion would help to alleviate that problem.
DAN WETZEL: I'm going back through all of the semifinal games. And we had the great Clemson-Ohio State game in 2020.
PAT FORDE: 2019, right?
PETE THAMEL: 2019 season.
DAN WETZEL: 2019-'20. Yeah, OK. 2019 season.
PETE THAMEL: Yeah, yeah. Right.
DAN WETZEL: Whatever. Yeah, I guess that's-- and I don't think that was January 1. We had the overtime classic in '17-'18, the Rose Bowl between Georgia and Oklahoma. And we had-- early on, we had Ohio State obviously beat Alabama. And--
PETE THAMEL: That was great a great game.
DAN WETZEL: That was a tremendous game. But other than that--
PAT FORDE: Blew them out. We've had three good ones in eight years. That's it.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah. So that's three-- and 13 kind of dogs. And so I think your point, it's not-- I don't know what it is. There's not, like, fix this, and they'd fix it.
I think your point on the lapping is broken. You know, Alabama, their talent is ridiculous. I'm looking at the-- 24/7 Sports puts out a composite talent ranking. They're number 1. Georgia's number 2.
There's a decent gap to number 3, Ohio State. And there's a huge gap when you get down to Michigan, which is 15th. And it's just sort of blowout city. What did you come up with, Pete, on why-- why can't we get a good semi?
PETE THAMEL: The column I wrote Saturday night for Yahoo basically said, look. Just because today is a dud, and these semis have been duds, and they've been decided by an average of 21, that's not a reason to expand the playoff. But to me, it's a reminder that more leaders around the sport should be arguing for an extended playoff.
Because we're going to have 10 days of SEC singsong chants. And they're going to march up to Indianapolis. And it's going to be a celebration of self, and a reminder of how much they've pulled away from the rest of the sport.
And these bowls-- and the bowls are great. We love bowls. No one on this podcast is arguing there should be less bowls.
DAN WETZEL: [CHUCKLES]
PETE THAMEL: But these bowls have been a reminder of the bowls' decreasing relevancy. Nobody you talk to in college sports, bowl system people, ADs, coaches, think that bowls are heading in a good direction with the opt outs and with the way things are headed. And you could argue there were some team opt outs because of COVID tests.
So the whole system needs to be stepped back and looked at. But there's nobody in charge, as we've talked about many times. So if you are the Pac 12 commissioner-- and the last time they had a team in the playoff, I believe, it was Washington when Chris Petersen was the coach, which is, like, six years and three coaches ago. Right?
So wouldn't you want this Utah team to take a swing at somebody? Because you're just, like-- again, the Rose Bowl is great. We all love the Rose Bowl. But you're just kind of playing a game that not a lot of people care about. And what if Clemson takes a little bit of a step back here, with its coordinators leaving and everything like that?
Wouldn't the ACC say, hey, maybe we'd like to have Pitt-- maybe we'd like to have Kenny Pickett chucking balls around the yard instead of you going to [? Exos ?] with his trainer and leaving his team behind to lose a Peach Bowl that they made clear wasn't really that important. If you keep the playoff smaller, you're-- that's not the right avenue to catch up to Alabama and Georgia and the SEC. You catch up to them by squaring off with them.
PAT FORDE: 100% that, yes, that this is obviously one more reason why we should have a bigger playoff. You know? And again, we may not get better semifinals. We may have some bad quarterfinals.
But we will have more teams, more fan bases, more regions of the country involved. We'll have games on campus, those 5 through 12 games that I think could be really good and a lot of fun. Because I do think, generally speaking, once you get past team A or B at the top of the food chain, there's not as much separation 3 through 12. So you're going to get some fun games in some different venues, and more-- again, more people involved, more inclusive with a bigger playoff.
So if everybody wants to keep playing into the SEC's hands, OK. As Greg Sankey has said, we're fine with four. Because we're winning with four.
We've got the All SEC Championship game. They're going to win their third straight national title, and they're going to have their second All SEC final out of five years. I mean, everything is coming up sevens for them at the craps table.