Well, wasn’t that exciting.

Clemson routed Notre Dame, Alabama stomped Oklahoma and I changed the channel.

Watching this four-team, College Football Playoff was about as scintillating as watching Uncle Marvin labor through a 6.000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Come on, these were the four best teams in college football? Alabama and Clemson belonged. I have a hard time believing Central Florida or Georgia could have performed worse in the semifinals than Notre Dame and Oklahoma did.

Of course, UCF and Georgia didn’t get the opportunity because the CFP is capped at four teams chosen by a committee.

This isn’t a playoff. It’s an old-boys club designed by college football’s fat cats to keep the riffraff away from the national title game and the money and attention that go with it.

The public is voting with television remotes. TV ratings are dropping like a stone. The semifinals, which had ratings of 14.8 and 12.5 last year, checked in at 10.3 and 10.4.

This is down from highs of 15.5 and 15.3 in 2015. If this continues until 2024, the playoffs will be swamped in the ratings by Modern Family reruns.

Apologists for the current system contend the ratings drop is because the semifinals weren’t played on New Year’s Day. I find that reasoning faulty. This year’s semis were on a Saturday at the end of a holiday week.They had the stage to themselves. There were no other college or professional games to compete against.

I think it’s simple. Much of the country was turned off by the matchups.

Inclusive playoffs are inherently dramatic because underdogs have a shot. Rocky gets to step through the ropes and challenge Apollo Creed. The New York Jets from the fledging AFL get a Super Bowl opportunity against a NFL blue blood. David picks up his slingshot and faces Goliath.

The NCAA understands this, which is why the NCAA basketball tournament has become March Madness.

The greedy Power 5 conference commissioners and the ESPN overlords who control college football’s postseason don’t care about the drama. They abhor underdogs. And they are sucking the life out of college football’s postseason.

Instead of a true playoff we have bowl games that often play to half-empty stadiums. Bowl teams are missing marquee players who decline to put their bodies and pro futures on the line in exhibitions that exist to make money for someone else.

It always was understood that the bottom-feeder bowls would take a hit from a four-team playoff.

The assumption was the excitement generated by the CFP would make up for it. The assumption is wrong.

As Dan Wolken of USA Today writes, The playoff has become … boring.

Andy Staples of SI: The best two teams are in the title game, but this system is joyless.

Well, there is hope. The only thing the people running this show care about is keeping the cash rolling in. The drop in the ratings is exactly the sort of shot across the bow that should cause them to look up in alarm from the appetizer spreads in the luxury boxes.

OK, more links:

The R-G’s Austin Meek revisits his 2018 predictions, and riffs on his hits and misses.

The Athletic’s Tyson Alger: It’s been an up-and-down college career for Oregon’s seniors, but they leave a program on an upward trajectory.

Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal: Oregon and Michigan State share a harsh reality in a sport ruled by the blue bloods.

Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press predicts Oregon will beat MSU in a close game.

The Redbox Bowl will be a sendoff for selfless UO senior Jalen Jelks.

Oregon’s multiple defense has been a preparation problem for MSU.

The Spartans’ under-achieving offense gets one, final chance for atonement.

Michigan State’s defenders say UO running backs Travis Dye and CJ Vardell are a formidable combination.

Ducks say they will be patient with their running game against MSU.

Oregon presents the Spartans’ top-ranked run defense with one, final test.

UO seniors want to end it with a bowl victory.

Three Ducks to watch in the Redbox Bowl.

Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press: Here is what is fueling the comeback of Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke.

Scouting the Spartans, who meet Oregon in Monday’s Redbox Bowl.

MSU seniors go through an emotional final practice.

Michigan State will be without NFL-bound corner in the Redbox Bowl.

Injury helps Michigan State receiver Felton Davis put everything in perspective. (The Athletic)

Davis says he won’t let a torn Achilles derail his future.

The Merc’s Jon Wilner says UO quarterback Justin Herbert’s decision to return for the 2019 season will make the Pac-12 relevant for the next eight months.

Transfer QB Jacob Eason has yet to play a down for the Washington Huskies, but he already is turning his teammates’ heads. (The Athletic)

One key to the Huskies’ rugged defense: Eason has been running the UW scout team.

Despite the negative reviews, Washington QB Jake Browning has been a program-changer.

Coordinator Jimmy Lake’s competitiveness has spurred Washington’s defense.

Lake has created the UW defense in his own image.

Brad Rock of the Deseret News: New Utah defensive tackles coach Sione Po’hua brings some Navy discipline to the job.

The team Utah will play in the Holiday Bowl isn’t your father’s Northwestern.

Winning bowl games is a Utah tradition.

Utah QB Jason Shelley has a different role in bowl prep than he did last year.

Key for Stanford in the Sun Bowl: contain Pitt’s two 1,000-yard rushers.

New Colorado defensive coordinator Tyson Summers brings a full resume to Boulder.

Former Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez reportedly interviews to be offensive coordinator at Ole Miss.

Vince Grippi for the Spokesman-Review: Playoff semifinals expose the yawning gap between the haves and have-nots in college football.

Alabama holds off Oklahoma to advance to the national championship game.

Clemson crushes Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl semi.

Paul Myerberg of USA Today: Oklahoma is really good, just not good enough.

Miami coach Mark Richt announces his retirement.

LSU linebacker Devin White calls out Central Florida for making claims on the national title.

The Daily Star’s Greg Hansen: Nevada coach Jay Norvell and the Wolf Pack radiate warmth on a winning day in Tucson.

This content was originally published here.



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