Opinion: College Football Playoff Should Expand

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The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)


Good news, Ohio State fans. Your team is playing in the Cotton Bowl.

It should be a great matchup between the fifth-ranked Buckeyes and No. 8 Southern Cal. The teams play at 8:30 p.m., Dec. 29. It will be the premier contest that night.

OK, so it's not a college football playoff game. But turnabout, as the old cliche goes, is fair play.

Last year, Penn State lost two games early in the season, but it bounced back to defeat Ohio State, win its division and then win the Big Ten Conference. Yet the Nittany Lions failed to get selected for the College Football Playoffs. Instead, a one-loss Ohio State team that didn't win its division or conference got in. Then, the Buckeyes got blown out by Clemson in their semifinal matchup.

So Ohio State had no argument when one-loss Alabama was picked for the four-team playoff system over the two-loss Buckeyes, who won their conference while the Crimson Tide didn't win their division or conference. Alabama deserved to make the playoffs, their lone defeat on the road to No. 6 Auburn.

Hopefully, this will lead to an eight-team playoff. Don't say it can't be done, because Georgia Southern won all of its Division I-AA national championships playing in a 16-team playoff format.

An eight-team playoff could start in mid-December. If the NCAA had it this year, it would look like this:

No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 8 Southern Cal

No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Auburn

No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 6 Wisconsin

No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 5 Ohio State

As soon as the bean-counters see how much money can be generated from an eight-team playoff, we'll get it enacted. If and when that happens, the ninth team will be the one complaining. If we had a 64-team playoff, No. 65 would whine about not getting in. That's human nature.

Here's hoping we get a national quarterfinal soon. It'll be more fair, more inclusive. And it'll generate more excitement across the nation. Until then, we'll have to enjoy what we have.

COMING UP ROSES: Georgia will make its first appearance in the Rose Bowl in 75 years when it plays No. 2 Oklahoma on New Year's Day. In 1943, the Bulldogs defeated UCLA 9-0, scoring all of their points in the fourth quarter.

Georgia was led by 1942 Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich. Also on that team? The remarkable Charley Trippi, who celebrates his 96th birthday Dec. 14. Chip Towers at DawgNation spoke to Trippi on Sunday. Read the story for yourself: www.dawgnation.com/football/team-news/charley-trippi-pumped-georgias-first-trip-rose-bowl-75-years.

Sinkwich and Trippi, who each played running back and quarterback, were the Chubb-Michel tandem of their era, except maybe better. Both Sinkwich and Trippi are in the College Football Hall of Fame, and they are two of just four Georgia players to have their numbers retired by the school. Trippi, who missed a season and a half due to serving in the Air Force in World War II, returned to Georgia and earned the Maxwell Award (most outstanding college football player) and Walter Camp Award (nation's best college football player) in 1946. He finished second in Heisman Trophy voting to Glenn Davis of Army.

Trippi, who went on to star in the NFL, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968 - Georgia's first of three inductees (Fran Tarkenton, Terrell Davis).

In Towers' story, Trippi mentioned how this season looks a lot like the 1942 season, when Georgia was named national champion by multiple organizations. In '42, the Bulldogs lost to Auburn in Columbus, Ga. Then, Georgia bounced back to defeat No. 2 Georgia Tech to win the Southeastern Conference (the Yellow Jackets played in the SEC then) before beating UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

The Associated Press named Ohio State the top team in the country that season - the AP began holding a post-bowl vote 26 years later. The Buckeyes played two fewer games that season, not playing in a bowl. Ohio State lost at Wisconsin in the regular season, but it rallied to defeat No. 13 Illinois and No. 4 Michigan.

Too bad there wasn't a college football playoff then.

UP IN SMOKE: The Macon Telegraph's Jason Butt reported that Georgia linebacker Natrez Patrick was arrested mere hours after the Bulldogs' SEC Championship victory over Auburn for possession of marijuana (less than one ounce). Patrick had already been arrested twice before on marijuana charges while at Georgia.

Patrick was a passenger in a car driven by teammate Jayson Stanley, who was pulled over for going 87 mph in a 65 zone. Stanley was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and marijuana possession.

The main question: Why?

Why would you bring embarrassment to a Georgia team celebrating its finest moment in decades? Why would you jeopardize your college football career by doing drugs? In the case of Patrick, let's take this a step further. Why would you continue to do drugs after being arrested not once, but twice before?

Here's three words every high school and college football athlete needs to see and hear:

Just say no.

If you're receiving a college football scholarship at a major university, you have a huge advantage over others. You're receiving a free education. That's a big deal. Don't take that lightly. Many others, those who don't play college sports, graduate and then spend many years paying off college loans - like my wife, who needed 10 years to pay off her college debts.

If you need something to smoke, smoke a cigar. That's what you light up when you celebrate - not a joint. Kids, don't do drugs.

Just say no.

Here's hoping Patrick and Stanley learn from their mistakes and mature quickly. Whether they play football or not is irrelevant. I hope they focus on getting their respective college degrees and go on to successful careers off the gridiron. There's more to life than football. And certainly, there's more to life than drugs.

Just say no.

December 6, 2017


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