So here’s an idea.
Rather than fooling around with committees and weekly rankings and complaints about which criteria are being absolutely applied, why not just let ABC and ESPN pick the four College Football Playoff participants according to which matchups promise them the best TV ratings?
Don’t sweat the seedings, which if mishandled or bound by some mechanical process might pair up teams like Alabama and Ohio State prior to the championship game.
Forget conference championship games. Well, other than the bonus money they bring in.
Just allow the TV networks to select their headliners with one all-encompassing December press release, based on the eyeball test and brand power and the wishes of advertising sponsors. After that, the boys in the colorful bowl committee sportcoats can fight it out over whoever’s left.
Wait, you’re not comfortable without some sort of predetermined structure to the process of choosing national semifinalists?
Fine, so do it Electoral College style.
Cable TV executives from the nation’s largest markets get 20 votes each in selecting the college powerhouses that their customers would most enjoy seeing. Middle-sized markets get 10 votes each. Remote outposts like Casper, Wyo.? They get half a vote.
What you’ll get out of that is a couple of teams from down South (People have come to expect it), a classic Big Ten brand name (or Notre Dame when they’re hot) and some team from out West (can’t have an entire region of the country tuning out).
Nobody’s going to care about records. Nobody’s going to cry about some upstart being left out, even if they’re unbeaten, because there’s a lot to watch on TV these days and Western Michigan football is the wrong kind of reality show.
Cut to the chase, that’s what I’m saying. Come up with some good matchups and dare college football fans to change the channel based on hurt feelings or on analytical arguments about head-to-head matchups and such.
Pare it all down to one question, the only one that matters, apparently. Are we not entertained? There need be no other rule, no endless series of meetings, once the College Football Playoff committee system is abolished and TV’s larger goals are wired directly to the NCAA’s celebrity roster.
Tell you the truth, it kind of feels like we’re there already.