After years of enduring Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel’s withering complaints about the Bowl Championship Series and resisting his utterly logical and sensible ideas for a better postseason system, the NCAA relented and created the College Football Playoff, which this year is playing out for the very first time.
Wetzel joined Bill Littlefield on Only A Game.
BL: The first-ever College Football Playoff semis took place on Thursday. No. 4 Ohio State shocked top-seeded Alabama, and Oregon crushed Florida State. Were those semifinal games a good start for this new system?
"If anything, this showed how important it is to settle this on the field and give the [Ohio State] Buckeyes and the [Oregon] Ducks a chance to show how good they are."Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports columnist
DW: I think they were a brilliant start for the new system. Due to the many off-field issues in Tallahassee involving Jameis Winston and other Seminoles, they had become quite the villain of college football. So, I think America reveled in watching Florida State lose big.
And then you had this very dramatic back and forth — you know an upset if you will, of Ohio State defeating Alabama in the nightcap. So, it was a very, very good day for the College Football Playoff. I did not on social media see one person complaining that it affected the sanctity of the Bluebonnet Bowl and we should go back to the old system.
BL: After the four playoff finalists were named, there were bitter complaints from TCU and Baylor, each of whom felt they deserved the postseason nod. Based on the results of the teams’ respective bowl games, is it fair to say that one team had it wrong, and one had it right?
DW: Yeah, probably. I guess you could say TCU should have gotten in over Florida State. Look, they need to expand the field. Under the old BCS, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams would have been Florida State, the undefeated defending national champs, and Alabama, the big name, mighty SEC program. They would have played for the title.
Oregon and Ohio State would have been left out, and they would have just played a game in the Rose Bowl. Lo and behold, the two better teams on Thursday were Ohio State and Oregon. Now you might not have looked at it from afar and said, "Oh, Ohio State definitely deserved their crack," but in truth they did. And that's why, I think, if anything, this showed how important it is to settle this on the field and give the Buckeyes and the Ducks a chance to show how good they are.
BL: You talk about potential expansion of the College Football Playoff. But even if 16 — heck even if 32 teams were included, somebody would complain, right?
DW: Someone will always complain that they didn't get in. But what you have right now are five major conferences in college football. And it's different when you tell a champion of a major conference that you're not in because we chose someone else. When you're taking from a pool of, say, two or three non-champions — it's a different ball game when you're telling a team "Look, you didn't win your conference. That's why you're not in" than "Yes, you won your conference. We just don't like your conference."
BL: Including Thursday’s two CFP semifinals and the title game on Jan. 12, there will have been 39 Bowl Games played this season, the most ever. Is this too much of an allegedly good thing?
DW: There is never too much football.
BL: Why did I see that answer coming?
DW: Only you! Is there too much soccer? Is there too much World Cup qualifying? Are there too many friendlies? No! If two teams want to play, Bill, let 'em play. I want to hear there are too many friendlies.
BL: All right, let's move right along as we are talking about American football. The CFP National Championship will take place on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas. Who wins it, Oregon or Ohio State?
DW: Oregon absolutely deserves to be the favorite. However I'm gonna say, Ohio State is also a great team. They have talent all over the field, great defense — their quarterback is there because of injuries but is extremely talented in his own right — and I don't think they'll take a backseat to anyone. So I think it'll be a very, very good game.
This segment aired on January 3, 2015.