Tim Tebow knows a thing or two about championship-caliber college football and what it takes to win the sport’s ultimate prize.
So when he says the College Football Playoff needs to remain at four teams rather than expanding to six or eight, he speaks words deserving of the respect that comes from listening to someone who knows of what he speaks.
Tebow went on ESPN’s “First Take” Friday to give a sermon for the college football faithful.
“I like it at four. I like it at four because the thing about college football and why it’s so special is every single week matters,” the former Heisman Trophy winner said. “That’s why it’s different than college basketball, it’s different than college baseball. Shoot, it’s different than the NFL. College football is special because every week matters, and if you fall, you might not get another chance.
“Now, the four-team playoff, it gives you a chance maybe, if you fall once, to still get in. But you have to hope and you have to pray and other teams have to lose. But if you open it up to six or eight, then I think you dumb down the regular season. You dumb down these big games that are happening every week, and I want to keep what’s special about college football special. …
“Or else let’s just turn it into 64 teams and play March Madness again. I only watch college basketball in March, for March Madness. You don’t need to watch the regular season.”
Tebow did a fantastic job in this interview, even impressing the hosts by pointing out that Jim Harbaugh, since he’s been coaching at Michigan, has yet to beat a ranked team on the road.
The former Florida Gator also pointed out that Notre Dame needs to be undefeated in order to even be considered for one of those top four teams.
The problem with Tebow’s argument is that if an expanded playoff renders the regular season meaningless, what happens when fans of a team see their team lose in October and render the rest of the season just a run-up to the Your Ad Here Cheap Bowl Presented By Fly-By-Night Industries on Christmas?
A bigger college football playoff means more chaos, more chances for an upset, more fun, just like the March Madness that Tebow points out is the only part of the college basketball season anyone cares about.
There’s probably room for something in between, because fans of mid-major FBS teams might as well be rooting for Division II compared with the Power Five conferences.
A graduate of the University of Nevada can see the Wolf Pack play in the Sweet 16 in March when basketball comes around, but during football season, even if the team upsets Boise State on national television and ends up getting a flag-hating quarterback onto the San Francisco 49ers as a result, the simple fact remains is that every game is meaningless.
Expanding the playoffs to 16 teams, including automatic bids for the Mountain West and Conference USA and the rest of the forgotten lands of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, means making college football more inclusive while still, when the clock hits all-zeroes, probably leaving the final four the same as it’s ever been with the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and a college to be named later.
But then again, there’s a good reason Tebow voiced these views on a show ESPN built an “Embrace Debate” brand around.
Tebow has a great argument for a four-team playoff; it makes every regular-season game feel like do-or-die, a “double elimination at most” season-long tournament, as Max Kellerman put it in response.
But for those of us who went to Division I schools not part of the club — I see you over there, fans of UCF, and I see you pointing out your team went undefeated last year — the four-team playoff just turns Saturday into a series of exhibition games that ultimately mean nothing at all but a “which work day in December are they playing a bowl game on?” question around the office water cooler.
It’s certainly a fun debate to have, so by all means, please have it in the comments. Do you agree with Tebow?
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