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Matt's (some)day morning musings: week five - PARITY LIKE IT's 1999!

Each week, our Executive Director, Matthew Redding (5’11, 185, 4.78 40-yard dash, $4.99 on Wish, 5.49 on TEMU) sits down with a cup of coffee and ponders life in the world of College Football and beyond. Ask him anything on Twitter (@TheBarningMan) and he may answer it next week over his breakfast. This week, he’s thinking about the all the teams we're not used to seeing in the thick of the rankings and what it means for the future of college football...

It was 2014 when the first College Football Playoff was dropped. I remember the first top 4 very well because of the debate around who should be at the top. Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles, or Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. All in all, the top four was as follows-

  1. Miss. State

  2. FSU

  3. Auburn

  4. Ole Miss

(First of all, who would've guessed both Mississippi schools would be there? Auburn and FSU had just played for all the marbles a season before, but Ole Miss and State? sheesh!)

Anyways, back when the rankings were new and the Playoff wasn't even a year old, everyone was relieved that the SEC wouldn't be guaranteed a national title game spot anymore, and when Ohio State went on to beat #1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and then route #3 Oregon in the title game, everyone cheered and said "see?! it works! the college football playoff works!" no more computers doing the eye test for us, no more "what ifs" for the #3 team in the country, just a good old fashion playoff that would create parity and truly help determine the national champion in the best way possible - just playing football!

The first final four was Alabama, FSU, Oregon and Ohio State. Then the next year, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Michigan State. Then, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington. Then Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson...

You get the picture. It's hard to look back and not find some configuration of the playoff that doesn't feature at least an Alabama or a Clemson or an Ohio State somewhere in the mix. Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma and Georgia have now been at least twice, and there are the random appearances from LSU, TCU and Cincinnati here and there.

So, what else was there to do but expand the playoff again in order to create some more movement in the race and get more names involved. Since money makes the needle move, Alabama and Ohio State would always get the benefit of the doubt even with a loss here or there. Now, the thought is that whoever can survive the top 12 teams is worthy, and the TV markets still get their views for traditional bluebloods.

After seeing this year unfold, I'm starting to wonder how necessary all of that really was.

Since the 2023 season kicked off, we've seen -

- Texas beat Alabama

- FSU destroy LSU

- Michigan look better each week

- Georgia look worse

- Notre Dame with an actual quarterback

And so on.

The top four consists of Florida State, Texas, Michigan and Georgia (for now) and the best conference in America is on the West coast this time instead of down South. Even though I'm an SEC guy, it's kind of a relief. Playoffs didn't create this parity, however.

The transfer portal did.

Think about it. Alabama used to hoard all the talent because they could sell themselves with all those National Championships and NFL Draft picks they were known for accruing. Thanks to the portal, positions that would normally take 2-3 years to fix are now overnight plug-ins, leading teams to compete right away instead of waiting a few years.

QB sucks? Go get the backup from Ohio State.

O-Line sucks? Replace the whole thing in one class.

Throw in the NIL equalizer, and now we're seeing the college football polls of our grandads again. Even teams like Kansas State make an appearance or two now.

Heck, Colorado just tripled its win total from last season, and there's still a few games left to play.

So, when we reach twelve teams in the playoff, do we go back to a single conference dominating the selections like the SEC or B1G try to do? My gut tells me no, for now. If what I'm seeing is true, then dynasties are about to become too expensive, so welcome back college football.

We missed you.

Now, someone go wake up Nebraska for crying out loud.



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