By Ed McGranahan.
By Ed McGranahan
Does the phrase “been there, done that” sound appropriate?
With apologies to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but other than adding a 13th game to the season, there’s not much appealing about another visit to the Georgia Dome this season. Imagine if this season’s Georgia Tech game had been in Atlanta. How many times can someone stroll down Peachtree and linger in Centennial Park?
Sure, seeing LSU up close and personal holds some intrigue.
Wouldn’t it all be more interesting if the game meant more than the difference between 11-2 and 10-3?
Back in the day bowls were rewards to wildly successful teams and their fans. Typically the games were staged in warm, sunny locales at the back end of the holiday season and the appeal of virtually every game was undeniable.
National champions were crowned arbitrarily, without regard to science, sometimes more than one.
There were always voices of dissent.
Some felt slighted because they weren’t in the final conversation. Others complained that the limited bowl opportunities created unfair advantages for recruiting and marketing.
Every year it seemed as if the same schools were on the bowl stage. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Southern Cal, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas were the stars. Everybody else served as the chorus.
Television changed the landscape, and now we’re stuck with a bowl system that won’t go away.
Starting in 2014, the Chick-fil-A Bowl will be part of the rotation as a site for the four-team playoff, a condescending compromise to what the game really needs. How much more interesting, more rewarding and fairer would it be this year to take to top 16 teams in the BCS Rankings, draw a bracket and stage a tournament?
Four weeks to determine a national champion just like in every other NCAA team sport at any level. The higher seeds would serve as hosts through the semifinal round with the national championship game at a neutral site.
As the No. 14 seed, Clemson would play this weekend at No. 3 Florida. South Carolina would face its worst nightmare with a Georgia rematch in Athens.
Here’s the first-round schedule:
Nebraska @ Notre Dame
South Carolina @ Georgia
Clemson @ Florida
Florida State @ Kansas State
Northern Illinois @ Alabama
Oklahoma @ Stanford
Oregon State @ Oregon
Texas A&M @ LSU
Just for the sake of discussion, let’s say Notre Dame, Georgia, Clemson and Kansas State win in the upper bracket; Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas A&M in the lower bracket.
I’d pick Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma and Texas A&M to the semifinals.
You take it from there.