Making NCAA Football More Competitive

I took a Lyft ride to the Alumni Watch Party this past weekend, and started talking football with the driver

He was a big NFL guy, and I asked him if he ever watched college football. He said no, and it was mostly because the same teams win over and over again. I think he specifically mentioned Bama.

So, there is probably a big segment of an untapped market in the NCAA football that probably feels that way. I live in the north, so if you don't go to a college that has a descent team, it extremely hard to get into college ball.

It got me thinking, what if the NCAA limited the amount of 5 Star and 4 Star recruits that ever team could have. There are certainly going to be some outliers when it comes someone out working their star rating, etc.

It's about the only work around I could think of to fix the problem he stated.

I'm open to other suggestions.

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Comments

I don't have a suggestion, but that one is definitely not workable. You can't tell a kid who wants to play at Bama that he can't because they already have too many good players. Anything limiting a player's options is not going to be a good solution.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Well there is already a scholarship limit at schools.

So they are still turning people away.

I don't know why it would be any different.

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One key difference is that a player who doesn't earn a scholarship can still walk on. Your idea says that a team can't have more than a set number of 4/5 star players.

Another problem is that the star ratings are very subjective. This is not a very enforcable plan.

It's also worth noting that one of the main reasons that SEC schools have such a recruiting advantage is that a disproportionate number of the top recruits live in their footprint. If you arbitrarily place a cap on the number of top recruits any team can have, you're forcing many of the top players to choose between a lesser football program or one that's far from home. That's not very fair to the players.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Have some rating system, be THE NCAA SYSTEM as the pegging system.

Teams could still use there own rating systems for their internal recruitment, just the amount of players would be tapped.

The whole system isn't very fair to the players right now. They basically work for free full-time, and go to school full-time as well, while coaches and schools make millions off of them as is. Yes I know they get scholarships.

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Woohoo! This board has been lacking a pay-the-players debate for far too long.

That's got to be a Bingo for some lucky contestant!

Maybe a salary cap on coaches. I think thatd level the playing field a lot more. That way teams like bama cant pay more for a defensive backs coach than we can for a head coach

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Probably need a salary cap on the players too.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

And a salary floor.

I think this NFL guy might have a point, the same teams with the same good QB's definitely don't win the Super Bowl over and over again.

Wait.

I mean, theres been a pretty good mix of teams in the last 4. I would say the NFL certainly has more parity, but its set up that way. Of course. You still have the Pats dynasty occupying a spot every year, but over all its not as much like CFB which seemingly has 2/3 of OSU, Bama, and Clemson every year.

Ultimately, its the fact that really any NFL can have their turn to get a shot. This isnt true in college. A team like VT, one that is a periennial top25 tean has almost zero hope of winning a chip. Let alone all the dozens schools that wallow in mediocrity year after year.

Yeah I mean the middle of the pats dynasty had a 10 year stretch without a super bowl win. The different number of teams who have won a championship since Brady started playing is surprisingly high, considering there are only 32 teams. So even in the midst of a dynasty time there is still plenty of parity that proves any team has a shot.

In college that just isnt true

Virginia Tech School of Architecture Class of 2014
Fan of Hokies, Ravens, NY Giants, Orioles

It's because money is the driving force behind winning in college. In the NFL, they are all on the same footing in that regard.

Very true, and it's hard to argue that that isn't a significant advantage the nfl has

Virginia Tech School of Architecture Class of 2014
Fan of Hokies, Ravens, NY Giants, Orioles

That's an interesting argument for preferring the NFL to NCAA football. The Patriots are almost as dominant under Bellicheck as the Tide have been under Saban.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Belicheck is the outlier, not the norm. He' s a superior coach that coaches in a laughing stock of a division year in and year out. How many QBs have the Jets, Patriots, and Dolphins been through during that time period?

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Put together, probably not as many as the Browns.

Are you suggesting that Saban is not also an outlier?

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Saban recruits the most talent, and he has pretty much unlimited resources at his disposal.

I think Saban is a fantastic coach, but he wins allot by just having 5 star after 5 star in waves. His backup players could create a competitive team. It's one of the ways he's able to destroy teams all the time.

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That leads me to an interesting thought. The recent loosening of transfer rules and the update to the redshirt rule is already leading to a reduction in talent advantage that many of the top schools have. Jalen Hurts will almost certainly be leaving Tuscaloosa after this season, and Bryant Kelly has already declared that he'll be leaving Clemson. Is there room to tweak that process to encourage a more even distribution of talent across the sport?

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

That goes both ways. Jalen Hurts transferring just opens the door for Bama to recruit another 5* linebacker or something.

Here's another crazy idea that could work, but would never get approved. The very top echelon of schools see a lot of players leaving early for the NFL, but don't get hurt by it because they've got 4- and 5-star kids beating down their doors for an opportunity. The early departures just give them more room on the roster to plug in the next super-stud. How about locking up the scholarship of any player who leaves early until his 4 years of eligibility are up? If you had 5 guys declare early for the NFL, you have only 80 scholarships to offer this year, instead of the regular 85.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

That sounds like a good alternative solution.

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So that's 5 kids who would have gotten a scholarship who will now most likely not be able to go to college. It's not like other schools will be able to offer more than 85 scholarships just because Alabama or Virginia Tech had some players go to the NFL early.

Doesn't sound like a good idea to those kids whose dreams are shattered I'd imagine.

Boo hoo. That's life man.

Sometimes you get the opportunity of your dreams or sometimes you miss out. The whole "kids" having their dreams shattered angle doesn't jive to well with me. Once you step outside of college you can have your dreams shattered in a heart beat.

Every time a dream is shattered though, a new opportunity is opened.

Personally, I wanted to go to the U since I was in grade school. I didn't make the cut, and I was very upset because I didn't get in.

I look back on it now, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I got into Tech, I absolutely loved it, and I didn't drown myself in the massive amount of debt that would have came along with going the U.

I made it out ok, and I'm sure a player who couldn't attend Alabama (For examples sake), can take his talents elsewhere and be just as successful and still make his ultimate dream of playing in the NFL a reality.

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Boo hoo? Come on man. Being around the program you should get it. The majority of these kids come from families who can't afford college and probably are trying to be the first one to make it to college. The more people that get that opportunity, the better. That would have a domino effect that would prevent certain kids from getting college paid for and getting a degree. If you're willing to risk that because you want more diversity in your playoffs then I don't get it.

Bud/Wiles 2020

This is a confusing take because it doesn't align with your sentiments towards college football at all. You wanna say "Boo hoo, that's life man," to his point about kids losing out on their dream school scholarships, while simultaneously calling for regulation changes to college football that would artificially create parity because we don't have the money, staff, and other resources to keep up with the big boys? Because I think by your logic things not being fair in college football could be answered with a very simple phrase.

"Boo hoo. That's life man."

I wanted to go to the U since I was in grade school.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

There are 65 P5 schools.

Last year there were 110ish athletes from those schools that declared for the draft early. I just did a quick scan, so I may be off, but not by much.

That's 110 high school kids who don't get an opportunity their talent would otherwise have provided. It's not like non P5 schools get to increase their scholarship limits by the amount the P5 schools would be docked.

If you are really looking to do anything to increase parity, allowing non P5 schools a higher scholarship limit is probably worlds better in all regards than depriving 100 or so high school seniors every year.

Without even doing a thing about limiting a P5 school's ability to recruit the best talent they can, you allow more athletes into the mix. Granted the non-P5 schools won't be working with the most refined talent, but they will have the opportunity to collect a lot more "diamond in the rough" depth, so when their 2 or 3-star starting lineman gets nicked up, there isn't so much drop off to the next level as there are more bodies that can develop into quality backups.

I'm not actually advocating for that, as I'm sure there are any number of good reasons that would be a bad idea too.

In the end, I'm just not all that concerned about the current state of competitiveness in NCAA football.

If you are really looking to do anything to increase parity, allowing non P5 schools a higher scholarship limit is probably worlds better in all regards than depriving 100 or so high school seniors every year.
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as I'm sure there are any number of good reasons that would be a bad idea too.

Foremost among the good reasons would be that the non-P5 schools are the ones least able to afford to award extra scholarships. Most of them are struggling financially with their athletic departments already.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Coaches would put more pressure on kids to not ditch for the NFL, for fear of that exceptional player leaving...and now having one less scholarship spot. Another reason why it wouldn't be fair to the kids.

JP

He's also one of the most brilliant defensive minds in all of football, NFL included. He also develops players extremely well, and his teams practice harder than anyone else. The narrative that he just out recruits everyone trivializes how great of an overall coach he is. He also plays against more talent than anyone in the country as LSU and Auburn are consistent top 10 recruiting teams, LSU is often top 5, A&M has been a top 10 recruiting team recently, and Ole Miss has had their years as well. 9 of the top 20 recruiting teams of past 4 years are in the SEC (the 4 year average rankings were posted on r/cfb earlier this year). Not to mention Alabama has been one of only a few teams to win national championships without elite QB play in the last 20 years.

If anyone is just out talenting everyone it's Clemson in the ACC. The talent gap between Clemson and everyone in the Atlantic and Coastal except FSU and Miami is much greater than the average difference between Alabama and their conference opponents.

And yet he couldn't cut in the NFL, where the talent is more equally distributed.

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This is a really weak argument that nobody really holds against him anymore given the situation he was in there. Not to mention it was revealed later that he was pushing extremely hard to get Drew Brees but the Miami management wouldn't allow it because they wouldn't clear him, despite Saban getting that super famous NFL doctor to clear him as a third party.

It's apart of the overall picture. It's a small part, but it's something that has to be brought up when discussing his overall work.

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Hes a pretty good coach though...its not like hes the only one that has 5* talent.

If you put Pat Narduzzi at Alabama and Saban at Pitt, keeping recruiting the same, in 3 years who has the better record?

If the talent is the same at Alabama I'm going Narduzi. Talent wins you games, just go watch this past season of Last Chance U.

Saban would also have Pitt playing at a high level though.

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Saban would also have Pitt playing at a high level though.

Now we're getting close to the realm of the 'what if Saban or Herman of Swinney was HC at Virginia Tech' hypothetical.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Miami and Texas and USC and Texas A&M and whoever else you want to mention have ridiculous recruiting classes year after year too. Do you see them doing what Saban does? There's a reason Saban has won everywhere he's been. Saban and Narduzzi aren't interchangeable.

Bud/Wiles 2020

How many QBs have the Jets, Patriots, Bills and Dolphins been through during that time period? FTFY

Since the Brady era began in 2000, these are the Quarterbacks that have started games for the other three teams in the AFC East.

Miami Dolphins (18)
Jay Fiedler
Damon Huard
Gus Frerotte
Daunte Culpepper
Trent Green
Sage Rosenfels
Cleo Lemon
John Beck
Chad Pennington
Ray Lucas
Brian Griese
A. J. Feeley
Joey Harrington
Chad Henne
Tyler Thigpen
Matt Moore
Ryan Tannehill
Jay Cutler

Buffalo Bills (17)
Rob Johnson
Doug Flutie
Alex Van Pelt
Drew Bledsoe
J. P. Losman
Kelly Holcomb
Trent Edwards
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Brian Brohm
Jeff Tuel
Thad Lewis
EJ Manuel
Kyle Orton
Matt Cassell
Tyrod Taylor
Nathan Peterman
Josh Allen

New York Jets (14)

Vinny Testaverde
Chad Pennington
Quincy Carter
Brooks Bollinger
Kellen Clemens
Brett Favre
Mark Sanchez
Greg McElroy
Geno Smith
Michael Vick
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Bryce Petty
Josh McCown
Sam Darnold

Taking away a kid's right to choose his own college is pretty draconian.

How about you just replace the NCAA with an org that actually cares to investigate and punish infractions so there might be a real deterrent?

Now you're just talking nonsense.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

Yeah, that's never going to happen.

The deciders aren't interested in that.

The NCAA is literally made up of the schools. If they wanted that they could have it.

There were rumbles the P5 was looking into leaving the NCAA a couple years back. It's a voluntary membership. Arguably the P5 doesn't need the NCAA as it is now.

If the NCAA decided to do something so arbitrary as to set some sort of quality quota for recruiting, I'm guessing those rumbles would turn into action.

If you want to force more parity in Division 1 football, I think we need to look at things that make the high-resource programs better, other than better players. Limiting the options of "amateur" athletes is never going to be a good plan, IMO.

The small army of analysts and other non-coach coaches that Alabama has definitely gives them an advantage. It's not a bad thing to have those people on staff, but it's definitely a competitive advantage that a lot of programs really can't afford. If you limit football staff, you might achieve more parity, but it doesn't necessarily improve the product on the field.

Another option, which might encourage top-tier recruits to expand their options would be expanding the playoffs. I'm not entirely convinced that expansion is a good idea overall, but it could help increase parity. If you're a 5* player that can play anywhere you want, you're probably going to choose a team that has the best chance of making the playoff. You might not seriously conisder a Pac-12 school (or an ACC school not named Clemson, or a BigXII school other than Oklahoma), because those guys don't seem to have a lot of luck getting into the playoff. If the major conference champs were all assured a spot in the Playoff, it might help non-SEC or B1G schools attract those top recruits.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

I dont think you can effectively propose to limit that... The reality is there is data that describes your success rate based on your recruit ranking AND the college you choose, but 18 year olds dont usually read scholarly journals....

IE (If you come here as a 4 star you are statistically more likely to go to NFL then going to Alabama as a 4 star)
https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/esma/2013/04/25/best-worst-colleges-for-c...

https://www.landgrantholyland.com/2013/6/21/4451840/is-iowa-better-than-...

VERSUS (LOOK AT HOW MANY ROFLRICH ATHLETES WE MAKE!)
They look more at raw performance numbers not conversion rates:
https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/esma/tag/draft-efficiency/

The reality in the "sales process" it seems, is just that the larger programs with larger overall numbers and chances at glory for chance of playing for Natty in college pushes people towards it. I think maybe there are structural changes to playoff that could do something, but in reality we need to change and better how we sell to croots.

lol at UVa being in the bottom 15. In order to statistically fail at getting elite recruits to the NFL, don't you have to have elite recruits first?

New idea... how about equally distributing revenue through P-5 schools.

The ACC does it through the conference, along with SEC and BIG. That way the major players are all at least playing on a level playing field.

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Yeah, I don't really see the SEC or the BIG going for that.

We're talking hypothetical's here obviously that isn't going to happen.

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Well, in that case, yes, it would be more fair if everyone had the same access to the talent pool.

How about instead of trying to come up with new ways to punish the success of other institutions, we just work harder to find new ways to achieve our own success based on our own merits?

I don't want to win by dragging others down to my level. I want to raise my own game instead.

This is a hypothetical discussion. We aren't talking Tech or anything else.

The guy that was driving me around gave a very simple and easy reason to understand why he doesn't watch College Ball.

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It's a BS reason, though. There is a huge amount of variation in year to year success for college programs. Miami, Clemson, FSU, TCU, Notre Dame (I could go on) are all examples of teams that have either come into or fallen out of playoff contender status in recent years.

The fact that Alabama is consistently good really has no effect on my enjoyment of CFB. No more than the Patriots being consistently good impacts enjoying the NFL.

He didn't go to a school or live in a family/community where college football was important. It's as simple as that. I've lived in the north for nearly 20 years now, and I hear this crap all the time.

Thinking about it more and more, the next major domino that could fall would be the P5 teams merging some how to share revenue to create parody.

Conference realignment was just the first round of consolidation. There will surely be more.

As much as many of you do not want to realize it, NCAA football is a business first and foremost, and if ratings start to dip because of lopsided Natty winners, I am sure they will eventually do something to event he playing field to create parody.

Of course Nick Saban is in his mid 60's and might want one more shot at winning a Super Bowl, before he retires, but who knows how long it is before he retires. Probably sometime in the next decade though.

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I don't have a problem with a lack of parity. It's fun watching elite teams play, and if you spread that talent out over more teams, the product on the field will be worse, not better. I'd rather see a rematch of Bama-UGA than two teams with a talent level even less than what VT currently has (because that's what it would be if you got anywhere close to talent parity) play for the national championship. Games would be significantly less entertaining, and be much closer to the weekly Raycom Sports matchup than OSU-Penn State.

Also, how do you even begin to structure the 'cap'? There were 29 5-star recruits last class. No team could get more than one? There were an additional 342 4-star recruits. Do you spread that out between the 126 FBS teams, so each team gets a max of 3? What happens when a recruit waits too long to commit and frantically comes to realize that the only FBS school that hasn't hit its cap yet is a MAC team across the country from where he lives? Do Highschool --> College pipelines disappear? How does a coach even recruit multiple 4-stars knowing he can only have a few?

Remember the NFL only has 32 teams. The talent is forced into such a small group that the talent level between any two teams is really small, hence 'any given sunday', etc.

A Bama - UGA game would disgust the hell out of me. I don't want any part of it, and most people outside the SEC homers probably don't as well.

I went to bed midway through Natty last year, I could have given 2 shits who won,

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Fine, but that seems rooted in a personal disgust for those two teams. The way to draw from the untapped market you speak of isn't to enforce artificial parity at the cost of product on the field. No one wants to watch a game between two mediocre teams to decide the title.

Another point I just thought of, this might even make the parity worse, because success would be determined to an even greater degree by how much a team can put up for a coach.

You missed a helluva game, pardner.

Your statement about nobody besides SEC Homers watching the game is false. The overnight rating for last year's game was a 16.7, which means a lot of non-SEC eyeballs were on that game. And... that number increased from the 16.0 share from the year before when you had Alabama vs. non-SEC Clemson, and... the 16.7 rating is the highest rating for a championship game in the BCS/playoff era.

Leonard. Duh.

Which begs the question of the OP...
If there was more parity, would more people watch? I'm gonna go ahead and say a resounding NO.
So, next question, do you want it to be more competitive because of Bama? Well, that will come to an end, as all dynasties do. But having 130 teams in FBS that can win the title every year is completely unreasonable. Heck, having 15 teams that could win it will never shake out...

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

Honestly, the best way to increase parity is by instituting a pay-for-play system with a salary cap. That way each team could balance between having a couple superstars or balancing out the salary across the whole team.

In any case, it'll never happen.

Then youd just have the new bama bump where a 5star gets downgraded to a 2star upon signing

Danny is always open
23 can't read

The only reasonable way would be to institute a coaching-staff salary cap in my opinion. It would allow smaller schools to hold on to their coaches, create parity in staff sizes, and take away the biggest motivator for coaches jumping ship. We're a long way from something like that being at all feasible though (and the existence of private schools make it almost impossible even if there was momentum behind the idea).

That said, in my opinion the lack of parity is, in large part, countered by the fact that college teams have much more to play for than a single championship. Winning your conference is a big deal that goes down in your team's lore. Beating your rival(s) every year is more important in CFB than any other sport. The sport's history is tied to a sense of regionalism and place that make's the sport far more intricate than just the national picture.

And in addition to that, the huge gap between the top-tier and the rest also fuels a little bit of the tribalism that makes CFB so weird and unique. VT is a perfect example of this, showing that long-term dedication from staff, alumni, and school coupled with consistent success can legitimately raise a program's stature. Florida State rode a similar wave that got an extra boost from shifting demographics putting talent in their region to become a blue blood. Program building isn't a 3-5 year project, it's a generational undertaking. Really, there aren't any parallels in American sports, but if you have even a passing knowledge of international soccer, the resemblance is uncanny.

(All that said though, the top tier is creating a frighteningly large gap between the elites and the non, and I'd expect some severe backlash in the near future when the regular season becomes even more of a formality for those 4-ish teams).

I definitely don't like the idea of telling a player that he cannot attend a university and obtain the education that they desire because they are good at football. I know that most of these players don't really consider the education side of things (which is another entire problem).

I think you make scholarships like contracts and a give the players more leverage. If a small school really wants a 4 star player, then they can give them a 4 year no-matter-what scholly and it counts against their limit until the player transfers, graduates, goes pro, or is kicked out of school (not just off the team). If a player gets hurt and can't finish his career, he can still get room and board and education covered. When Bama comes to the table with a non-committable offer and Wake Forest brings a 4 year offer, it should make a player think about what is better for themselves in the event the NFL dream starts to look bleak after two years.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Currently if you do have a career ending injury, you keep your scholarship and it doesn't count. VT has had to use this a couple times recently, notable Michael Cole and Marshawn Williams.

Yes, but the team is not required to honor the Athletic scholarship. I am proposing making it a signed deal, 4 years as long as they stay eligible for the school rather than eligible for athletics, and have it count against the limit. It wouldn't reduce the total number of young men who get a chance at an education as someone would be using the scholarship.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

I dunno what the solution is, but I'm on board #BreakUpTheBluebloods

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

RELEGATION IS ANYONE LISTENING RELEGATION

I've always thought that relegation would be an entertaining (although probably unworkable) idea for college football, but I fail to see how it would apply to this particular discussion. Unless we applied a sliding scale for relegation. Hey Louisville, 6 wins keeps you in the top tier. Bama....anything less than undefeated and we're sending your asses to the Sun Belt!

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Ah, quite true.

And NCAA penalties could also drop you down to a lower tier for a couple of years. How many 5* talents are going to play at Alabama if they have sanctions keeping them in a mid-major for half their careers? Throw in the notion that sanctions resulting in relegation could allow current players to transfer without sitting out a year, then suddenly if you are guilty of violations then your program has to start from scratch.

I think this could introduce 2 things:

1) If your payroll is so high that the NCAA catches wind of it, then suddenly you're in the Sun Belt and your current players can leave without penalty and you won't have the 5*s wanting to come play for you for the next two years. Immediate roster reset.

2) Let's introduce the idea that you can't play for the MNC unless you are in a G5/G6 conference. This would suddenly become more palatable because if you're in the Sun Belt, you wouldn't be able to play for the championship this year but now you have a path to become eligible. No more UCFs being shut out, because they couldn't play for it after a season in their conference anyway. Now they can get promoted one year and if they can compete the next year, they'll play for it all.

If a bad team, like, say, LOLUVA, were to drop down, then if they are really deserving of being in a major conference then they'll prove it the next year and be right back up again. Power teams like Alabama may never drop down naturally, but they might if they get sanctions. This introduces a real, tangible risk of cheating because if you get caught you get...not a death penalty but being put into an NCAA induced coma for a few years and then still have to earn your way back. Your incentive to have a high payroll is now weighed against the extreme punishment your program would have to endure if you got caught, so Ohio State and Alabama might have to think twice about their payrolls. And if they get too big for their britches, they win a temporary Darwin award, allowing balance to return to the sport.

Of course, politics and money will forever prevent this from ever occurring in the NCAA but it works really really well just about everywhere relegation structures exist.

I feel like relegation would make this situation worse as the top talents would be funneled into the fewer schools that are in the top tier.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Possibly. See above, I think the funneling of top talent is naturally aligned to some shady stuff in college ball, so introducing additional risk to that strategy may make the big dogs pull back their efforts a bit. Just speculation.

So, there is probably a big segment of an untapped market in the NCAA football that probably feels that way. I live in the north, so if you don't go to a college that has a descent team, it extremely hard to get into college ball.

There's two ways to enjoy college sports: Either you build an emotional connection to a team (typically as a student) or you're a degenerate gambler (not that there's anything wrong with that).

There's something special about cheering for your alma mater; you literally live and breath the air on that campus during some of the most transformative years of your life.

The NFL is a neatly packaged and polished corporate product that perfectly aligns with our national culture. College football is rough around the edges, unpredictable, and highlights the bizarre oddities and irregularities that differentiate different regions of the country. College football is the imperfections you find so attractive about a loved one.

Maybe I'm over romanticizing it, but I want to keep college football just the way it is. I don't want college football to be like the NFL (although I am a fan of the Olympic model, but that's another discussion), and I sure as hell don't want college football to change drastically in an effort to satisfy a few more people. If you want to expand college football viewership, do it through the gambling community.

Twitter me

In less words, I completely agree with you.

I woke up thinking about this topic this morning. I was thinking that going to a 16 team playoff might make some difference. I would imagine that one of the most important things for any recruit is to choose a place where there is an opportunity to play on the biggest stage. If there are more teams every year that have a credible path to the championship, it may make a difference to a good number them, especially if some of the mid tier schools are otherwise a better fit. Still not going to be as much parity as the NFL, but it might spread things out a little.

I would love to get French's take or solution.

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Seriously, though, yeah it's a problem. But that's not the solution, IMO. Just like when there's a problem in the real world, usually the quick and "easy" answer is to apply regulation, but it almost never solves the core problem. Maybe we just live in a world where some things just are the way they are, for a myriad of reasons. Maybe, just like in the real world, college football will always be this way where the rich get richer.

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So your saying the merit system is bullshit?

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Not biting on this to go any deeper than what I said. Just don't really think there is a workable solution to this issue for many reasons, and they're all called "money".

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College football was at its purest and had the most parity before it became a feeder to the NFL. Create an NFL D league with immediate eligibility out of high school, and require that NCAA athletes earn their degree before they can go pro. Those two actions would level the playing field a lot, would get college football back to its roots, and would free up a lot of scholarship money for the kids who actually did come to play school.

How would the NCAA force a student to get their degree before going pro? I'm pretty that would be a rule that the NFL would have to institute, and I don't think they have any incentive to do so.

This. Who's to stop a kid from going to a community college, getting their associate's, and heading to the NFL?

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

Nothing is, but that's spurious to the argument at hand. I was clearly referring to bachelors degrees offered at the school where the footballing takes place, and provided a clear alternative for those athletes that would rather play football immediately than play school. If they wanna get an associates on their own dime, great for them getting educated, but it's not relevant to my proposal.

The NCAA doesn't, schools do. The scholarship becomes part of a contract. You leave for pro ball before finishing your degree, you pay back every dime. It is called a SCHOLARship after all.

So this would surely result in a significant decrease in the talent pool for college football, which would result in a less exciting product, which results in less viewers, less revenue.... money. Not gonna happen anytime soon.

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Absolutely agree. But this thread isn't about solutions that will make the NCAA more money, and thereby make them happier. It's about fixing the sport. Not that any of these ideas will happen, but this is TKP, and we love shouting into the void.

I wouldn't watch college football either if I didn't have an interest in the Hokies. You can give as much competitive equality as you like to all the teams and I'd still only watch one game a week.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

Didn't used to be this way, but this is how my life has evolved.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

On the contrary, being a Hokie fan got me very deeply involved in NCAA. For one I worked for the team directly, so the fate of my holiday season was in the hands of the team, AND the teams that were ahead of us in the standings.

Being a middle of the pack team makes me much more interested in the other games, because we don't control our fates as much as we would like.

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