After three weeks of the 2021 college football season it appears things are changing...everything except Alabama that is. For instance, the Clemson Tigers no longer seem to be a shoo-in for the playoffs this season. The Tigers have struggled greatly on the offensive side of the football and today one of their top running backs decided to enter the transfer portal. Since 2015, Clemson has won two national championships and finished second twice. They've also made the college football playoffs every single year since then, and have only missed being in the post season mix once since the playoffs began. Now that's impressive.
However, that long string of playoff appearances could soon come to a screeching halt unless the Tigers learn how to generate some offense.
The same is true for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 2-1 and have dropped to 10th in the polls after a lackluster 41-20 win over Tulsa. On the other hand, both Michigan and Michigan State are 3-0 as well as Penn State in the Big Ten. So, when the smoke clears at the end of the season, we could have Alabama and three new teams in the Playoffs.
A few months ago there was talk about expanding the playoffs to 12 teams, but when news broke about Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC, that idea was tabled and nothing has been done since. There now appears to be jealousy involved in the process due to Texas and Oklahoma's decision to join the Southeastern Conference. Down the road there could be a proposal for a smaller expansion to the playoffs, perhaps eight teams rather than 12.
For the most part change is good on every level. Forty years ago, there were no playoffs and only one game per week was televised. National champions were chosen by voters from the wire services and many times teams would claim to be treated unfairly by the voters. Now, there are fewer teams claiming unfair treatment and a true national champion is crowned every season. I truly believe expansion to the playoffs will come within the next couple of years and I am personally excited about those possibilities. It's all about money anyway and the networks are chomping at the bit to be a part of it all.
College football is a wonderful sport. It's fun to watch and it's also fun to talk about on websites, on talk shows and in barroom discussions. And if things stayed the same all the time, there wouldn't be a lot to talk about. That's why change is good...unless you're an Alabama fan.
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Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org