clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mailbag 1/5

What does the future of college football look like?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 11 CFP National Championship - Alabama v Ohio State Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

My contention is that D1 college football is broken. Plenty of people may disagree, but I’m looking forward to the “Big Game” about as much as my next colonoscopy. It’s not entirely about the team from our state; if it were Bama vs LSU or Florida it would be about as bad. What can be done that might bring or restore some competition to the top of CFB? Or will it just go to the SEC being all that matters. - Bill Brockman

Ben: College football won’t be competitive until there’s a split in FBS. There is just no way for even mid-tier teams to compete with the Alabamas and Georgias of the world. Even in an off year, a team like Clemson was still a 10-game winner. Alabama was supposedly down this season. They’re in the national championship. If you want to piss a lot more people out, you could always institute a college football cap limit on spending. Imagine if Alabama had a similar budget to Akron. That’ll level the playing field real quick.

Chris: Yeah, I’m kinda with you here. Another angle is that media like ESPN own everything and put ALL THE EMPHASIS ON THE PLAYOFF and that’s not really what college football is about in my mind. It’s so much better to not pay attention to the “big” stuff and instead just follow what’s interesting and/or cool to you. If you want to create any semblance of parity then I agree with Ben: either create a split or institute some kind of cap on spending.

Jeff: It's been a minute since I've had a chance to dive into a mailbag so let's have some fun. I read at Saturday Down South article today that quoted several SEC assistants claiming that Alabama and UGA are near next to impossible to catch at this point. They are almost a self fulfilling prophecy. The best players want to play there because they have the best chance to win it all, but that's because they have all the best players and it is not even close. Keep in mind Michigan just had the best team in decades and got curb stomped by halftime. I doubt even splitting the FBS would do much after so long because the best players will still flock to the same teams. Honestly, there isn't a fix for this now unless you did cap coaching salaries.

Jake: I don’t think you can lay everything at the feet of the playoff, but it certainly didn’t help the existing trends in the sport. Really, I think a huge part of the problems it exacerbated was the powers that be pretending like that was the end all, be all. When that’s the only thing that matters, well, it consolidates all that latent interest and power in a few really specific places. I think scholarship limits might help, but some sort of regulation on spending and analysts may help? Frankly, I think attitude may be the biggest problem, and I certainly don’t have the power to fix that. Expanding the playoff would only increase the overemphasis and over-concentration, in my opinion.

Assume our coaching staff knows it’s stuff and based on the coaching departures and arrivals, read the tea leaves for what the problem was last year. - GTalbatross

Ben: None of the hires have been super inspiring for me, but I think generally the coaching staff has improved. The biggest problem last season was the lack of development, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Since Collins and his staff took over, the defense has gotten progressively worse each season despite the talent level increasing. I’m most curious to see how Weinke and Tillman can develop their units in such a short period of time leading up to next season.

Chris: I feel like I always just say “I agree with Ben”, but yeah. Development was a huge problem. I’d also add an unwillingness to try something different. We did a whole bunch of “well that didn’t work, let’s just keep trying it and see if the result changes”. I’m hoping the new staff is both more focused on player development and more flexible with how they react and adjust to things as the season progresses.

Jeff: At this point we're going to need some Lipton instant tea mix rather than leaves. But the problem was there never seemed to be a plan or identity. I never saw anything the coaching staff thought they were good at and stuck with it.

Jake: I frankly don’t think they addressed the problems, which makes it difficult to answer. That said, I would really mainly echo Chris’ last bit.

Is it a stereotype in bball that women have a more natural shot then men? Use GT to prove or contradict. - GTalbatross

Austin: It’s more of a crutch for the fact that the women’s game doesn’t have as much flash (i.e. dunks, big blocks, etc.) as the men’s. Both have a lot of athleticism and are fun to watch, whether it’s great defensive or offensive plays. Plus shooting is proliferating both games right now, and positionless basketball coming into the women’s game has only opened things up further as more players become shooting options.

Chris: I have absolutely no idea, but I will say that when I started taking up golf a ton of people told me to watch pro women because they have a more natural swing.

Jeff: There probably is some science with a woman having a more natural shot. I've read where men can throw faster overhanded because their shoulders and chest align nearly at a right angle. Women throw nasty underhanded though. Cool fact, humans are also the only animal that can kill by throwing objects. A five year old boy can throw a rock harder than a full grown mountain gorilla.

Jake: I mean, based on the women being ranked #16 and the men...not...I think I’ll use that as my open and shut evidence to prove it. Case closed.

Are this offseason’s coaching changes complete or are there more to come? How are we feeling about them so far? - SullyGT

Ben: I have no reason to believe any other changes are happening. If someone else was going to be let go, it would have happened already, so that means a coach would have to be hired away, which I don’t see happening.

Chris: I’ve seen some rumors out there that there will be more but like Ben said, they really should’ve happened already and more changes coming this late will probably make me lose confidence that the staff has any idea of what they’re doing. I’m feeling pretty meh about the whole thing honestly. The hires themselves are meh and the process wasn’t executed very well in my mind. We’ll see I guess.

Look guys, I need help. Obviously this GT season was a bit of a disappointment in a lot of ways. I found refuge in my NFL team coming back from a tough break last season and making some moves this year. It looks however that they may not be able to be the heroes I need though. The offense has moments of greatness in a few games followed by a sheer inability to score the damn ball in the next. The weapons on seemingly endless, the defense has a solid core and bolstered by some stellar first and second year stars. They’re going to make the playoffs, but I’m afraid its going to just let me down on a bigger stage.

So, help me get back excited for next season at GT. The loss of players into the transfer portal and T. Choice heading off to bigger and better things all have me a bit in the dumps about it. Y’all have been doing a pretty good job of not sounding like its all doom and gloom and I’m hoping I can stretch your good will once more. Can y’all aggregate what you each see as real tangible reasons to have some tentative excitement for what GT can do next season. Not something fanciful that is going to have us competing for a National Championship next year, but where are we going to see the improvement. Finish it off with what your rough overreaction is to our ceiling for next year is. Your choices are: 3-Wins, Bowl Game, End the season in the AP Top 25, ACC Championship Game, Playoffs, and of course NC Game

Bonus points if you can guess what NFL team is the source of my current woes.

— Adam H. (wordsinmycereal)

Ben: The only encouragement I can give you is that Tech’s raw talent is a whole lot better than its results, so Tech should be a better team than it has been the last few years. Currently, Georgia Tech ranks 33rd overall in 247’s Talent Composite and 5th in the ACC. There’s absolutely no reason that Tech should be in the basement of the ACC.

Austin: Ben nailed it, the talent is there to make meaningful improvement season over season. And...the Kansas City Chiefs?

Chris: Yup, the talent is there. Yes we lost some guys but we’ve got others to step up. New blood in critical coaching positions is a very good thing in my mind. All the components of a bowl team are there; it will all come down to execution as the season progresses. I’m going “Bowl Game” as my overreaction. And uhhhhh 49ers?

Jake: I think you’re talking about the Dallas Cowboys. I think the ceiling is a bowl game, based on the schedule and the track record. I hate to aim low, but, whew, it hasn’t been easy to point too much higher than that lately.

Please tell me a story of how it all works for Georgia Tech football next year. Does the OL finally click for Coach Key in year 4? Does Georgia Tech pioneer a 2 qb spread offense that revoltionizes the sport? Does the defense reawaken from their hiberation? I need a shot of hope before Monday for no particular reason. - LeeNobody

Ben: Realistically, I think we’ll see both Jeff Sims and Zach Gibson get playing time at quarterback. I don’t know who will begin the season as the starter or who will end the season as the starter, but I feel good about saying they both will see their fair share of playing time. I hope the defense improves from last season, but other than having one coach for the whole secondary, I have no reason to believe there will be improvement. As far as the OL, your guess is as good as mine on what happens.

Chris: OL clicks and lets our position guys play to their potential. Defense settles down and becomes a perfectly mediocre unit. That should be enough to get us to 6-6.

Future of College Athletics - Perhaps its better as a series of Articles, but what is the future of College Athletics? Super League? Pay for Play? Split of the haves from the have nots? Love to hear y’all’s thoughts? - LeeNobody

Ben: I think there’s definitely a split coming to college football. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s no way for even mid-tier teams to compete with the Alabamas and Georgias of the world. I think that split or Super League or whatever you want to call it will have 15 to 25 teams in it. I think Pay for Play is probably also going to become a thing.

Chris: Oh man this could be a series with MANY thousands of words. In tldr format: a split where the top 30 or so programs form an upper tier and we see some kind of relegation/promotion system.

Jake: I don’t think a few sentences could do it justice. I think Chris’ suggestion would be a radical shift, though. I think a clear SEC soulless football super monster is the easiest and clearest path, though.

Does anyone else feel hungover after the holidays? Man my whole body is tired and my head ain’t in the right place.

Question this week. Nick Saban made a point (debate on whether it’s a good one) that if this was the result of the top 4 teams in the country, and both games were blowouts then why would adding more teams to the playoff change things. I guess my question is not Should there be more teams in the playoffs (since most people agree there should be); my question is do you expect to see less blowouts if more teams get added to the playoffs. That’s what I got. Later homies,

An Annoying Press Writer (submitted via email)

Ben: I don’t know that a larger playoff will necessarily make the national championship more interesting, but I think it will make the regular season games mean more and make the other playoff games more interesting.

Austin: More playoff games would make for more meaningful bowls and fewer opt-outs, and we’d get better games as a result. Comparing the Playoff to the Peach Bowl, for example, shows the difference stakes make in players staying to play or heading to the draft.

Chris: I think you’d probably see the same two blowouts by the 1 and 2 seeds but the other games would be much more competitive, at least in the first round. And I agree with Austin, making the Playoff a consistently attainable thing for programs not named Alabama/Georgia/Clemson/OSU is a very positive change in many ways.

Jake: If you think 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 are bad, can I interest you in 1 vs. 8 and 2 vs. 7? There’s no way this gets better, and I feel like a crazy loner given how universal the opposite opinion (that it would mark a big improvement) is. I think the best answer for all of this is a bowl season with a reseed/top two picked after all the game are played for a national championship. Bowls matter, bowl results matter, more teams are in the mix and have an opportunity for important wins, and it’s better for the players by not adding a ton more games to their schedules. I give it a 0% chance of happening. Why would it? It doesn’t make the powers that be more money.