JOHN L. PITTS: Eight might be enough

JOHN L. PITTS

JOHN L. PITTS

CORINTH

A year from now, we’ll finally get that college football playoff everyone has been tub-thumping about for years, matching up the four best teams.

Already, there are people talking about the need to quickly expand the playoffs to eight teams.

I used to argue that there weren’t eight teams at the end of the year worthy of being in the national championship discussion. Now, I’m not so sure.

Let’s consider the matchups that would be played this year if college football had an Elite Eight:

Florida State (1 seed) vs. Missouri (8)

Auburn (2) vs. Ohio State (7)

Alabama (3) vs. Baylor (6)

Michigan State (4) vs. Stanford (5)

You know, that sounds like a lot of fun. The semifinals would probably be Florida State against Alabama and Auburn against the Michigan State-Stanford winner, and your guess is as good as mine about that last one.

We get to see who’s best in that matchup, as the Spartans and Cardinal will play in the Rose Bowl. Stanford, because of a “bad loss” to Utah, would be on the outside looking in if there had been a four-team playoff this year.

Yes, an eight-team playoff would add one more weekend of games to a schedule that already seems too long, But it would give us seven bowl games that really mean something.

And, as it happens, there are six major bowl organizations already on board for the playoffs – Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Rose, Sugar – so that math would be pretty tidy.

Random thoughts

• Voting for the Heisman Trophy – I was an “elector” this year for the first time – was so much easier, I suppose, when you just voted for Notre Dame’s quarterback, no matter how bad the team was.

• My wife suggested a clever idea for some bowl game to try – a winner-take-all payout. That would certainly spice up one of those fringe-y “Your Name Here” bowls.

• The actor Ed Norton’s clever “48 hours” Droid commercial does more to successfully rebrand Ed Norton than to convince me to buy a phone. And I need a new phone.

John L. Pitts (john.pitts@journalinc.com) is sports editor of the Journal.