SO WHAT EXACTLY is the difference between the now-defunct BCS and the current College Football Playoff?
That’s about it. The College Football Playoff folks who administer this new playoff system and ESPN have done a masterful job of promoting the new format. Most fans now believe everything is new and better with a four-team playoff.
The reality is that not much has changed. The regular season still serves as the real playoff. Now a partisan committee of 12 determines the four participating teams in the College Football Playoff. Previously, computers and polls determined the two teams that played for the national title.
Just as the BCS worked perfectly most seasons, the College Football Playoff will work without a hitch most seasons, including the current one.
All the panic and consternation of the season’s first 11 weeks will be washed away over the next four weeks, and the four best teams will emerge. This season started with 128 teams vying for four spots. The number of teams to survive elimination now stands at 11.
Auburn, Kansas State, Michigan State and Notre Dame were eliminated this past Saturday. All suffered their second losses of the regular season.
The remaining playoff contenders include Duke and Florida State of the ACC, Baylor and TCU of the Big 12, Nebraska and Ohio State of the Big Ten, Arizona State and Oregon of the Pac-12, Alabama and Mississippi State of the SEC, and Marshall of Conference USA.
Dropping out: USC is certain to finish this season out of The Associated Press’ Top 25. In so doing, the Gamecocks will be the 16th team since 2000 to begin the season ranked ninth or higher and finish out of the poll.
USC was No. 9 in the preseason, but its fall is hardly the greatest since 2000. In 2012, Southern California was ranked No. 1 in the preseason only to finish 7-6 and out of the rankings.
Closer to home, Clemson was ranked No. 9 in the 2008 preseason and fell out of the rankings with a final 7-6 record. The last team to pull off the trick was Georgia in 2013, when the Bulldogs started No. 5 and finished unranked with an 8-5 record.
Seniors only: Steve Spurrier said this past week that a couple of players who are considering leaving the program early for the NFL – junior running backs Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds – likely would participate in the annual Senior Day activities prior to USC’s Nov. 22 game against South Alabama.
It is a bad policy.
Senior Day should be restricted to those who have played in the program for four or more years, and are seniors. The idea is to honor those who have remained true to the program through the expiration of their eligibility. Those who jump early to pro football should not qualify.
Can you imagine if Kentucky basketball had that policy? It would honor all its freshmen players prior to their final home game of their first and only season in the program.
At the very least, change the name to “So Long Day.”
We’re No. 1! Three-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State saw its 33-game win streak snapped Saturday with a loss to Northern Iowa, thus paving the way for Coastal Carolina to earn its first No. 1 ranking.
The Chanticleers (10-0) have held the No. 2 ranking each of the past two weeks in the FCS Coaches poll. Coastal Carolina has been ranked among the nation’s top 5 teams all season.
This is a Coastal Carolina program that began in 2003 and will seek its seventh Big South championship in the season’s final two weeks against Monmouth and Liberty.
In 2005, Coastal Carolina received its only other first-place vote. One top vote went to the Chanticleers in the Sports Network media poll after Coastal Carolina defeated top-ranked and defending national champion James Madison.
In case you were wondering how Coastal Carolina stacks up against FBS teams, consider that the weekly Sagarin ratings has the Chanticleers at No. 86 nationally. Power Five conference teams rated behind Coastal Carolina include Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Vanderbilt, Kansas and Wake Forest.
Odds and ends: This past week marked the ninth football-related death in the United State this year when a Mississippi high school player succumbed to a brain injury. That is nine times as many deaths in the country this year as those resulting from Ebola. ... SMU missed perhaps its best chance to win a game this season when it fell 38-28 to Tulsa, which is 2-7. ... Florida State, Marshall and Mississippi State remain the only unbeaten teams in FBS. Coastal Carolina and Harvard (8-0) are the only unbeatens in FCS.