HOT SPROTS TAKE: Western Michigan (or any other small school) will never play in the College Football Playoff

Lots of people that I follow on Twitter and Facebook seem to be #mad online today about the College Football Playoff rankings, mainly because Western Michigan is undefeated, one of two in FBS along with Alabama, and is 21st in the rankings. Well guess what, they’ll probably never get a seat at the College Football Playoff table.

As tough as it is to admit, Western Michigan, or anything other directional/small school like that that has a miracle run and amazing season, will never be invited to the college football playoff.

That’s not to be mean, I’m a Central Michigan grad and hate Western, but will give them their due, but it’s as close to a fact as you can get that no school like that will ever get to play in the playoffs.

Only four teams get in, meaning there are three games in the playoffs, and the biggest thing that the NCAA, ESPN, and whatever outlet that covers college football cares about is money.

That comes from selling tickets and getting people to watch/stream/read about/talk about online.

Well Western Michigan doesn’t do those things. Sure they might in Kalamazoo or parts of Michigan, but nationally, no. They just don’t. There’s a reason most of the MAC games are streaming on ESPN3 and not on national TV aside from the occasional Tuesday night game.

And when only four teams get in, you damn well bet that the NCAA or whoever it is that picks the teams for the College Football Playoffs isn’t doing to be “fair” or do the “right thing” by picking a small team having a great season. They’re going to pick 2-loss Oklahoma, or Michigan, or whatever other “traditional” college football power you can think of.

And it’s not because those schools are head and shoulders above Western Michigan or whatever other small school has a great year as far as talent. It’s because they draw in viewers and have huge fan bases (most of which that never went there) that travel well and buy tickets and hotels and fill restaurants in whatever city is hosting their game.

Hell, even when Boise State “crashed” the party, it was only for a major bowl game. They still had no chance at winning the national title.

This isn’t any different than the NCAA Basketball Tournament, because it feels like most of the at-large bids go to the schools that meet the same criteria as football.

But at least basketball gives schools like Western Michigan or whoever a chance by granting automatic bids to the smaller school conference champions. Most times those teams bow out before the end of the first weekend, but at least they were there. They theoretically had just as fair a chance as any of the other 63 (play-in games don’t count) that also made it in.

Football? That’s never going to happen. Never. The only way a school like Western Michigan has a prayer is to play nothing but great or famous teams in its non-conference schedule (sorry but Northwestern and Illinois are not great teams), then crush all your conference opponents.

And even then it won’t be enough, because they’re not Oklahoma or Alabama, the schools that rake in money from TV and donors and then in turn directly influence the NCAA and the people who decide who should be in the playoffs.

The only way a school like Western Michigan or whoever is playing for a national title is by dropping to FCS, where they have a 24-team playoff.

If you want my honest opinion, winning an FCS National Title, or at least having the chance to, is a hell of a lot better than playing in some lousy bowl game nobody outside of the school will remember in two years.

Think about this, Western Michigan has a chance to go 13-0 this year, and most of those wins were absolute blastings of every team they played. 13-0, dominated from start to finish. And they’re probably playing in the Dollar General Bowl or some bullshit like that.

While I was at CMU they had the best season in school history. They went 11-2 in the regular season, including 8-0 in conference play. Their reward for being the best team in school history? The GMAC Bowl against the illustrious program that is Troy.

That’s a joke. If you have the best season in school history, there should be some reward other than a shitty bowl game on a Wednesday night in front of 20,000 people in some exotic location like Shreveport.

But schools like CMU and WMU will never drop to FCS because, “OH WE’RE A FBS TEAM AND THAT MEANS SOMETHING!”

Yeah, it means you’re stuck in limbo between playing for National Titles at a lower level, and simply just existing at a higher level hoping Alabama or Michigan will acknowledge your existence.

Have a great Thanksgiving.



2 thoughts on “HOT SPROTS TAKE: Western Michigan (or any other small school) will never play in the College Football Playoff

  1. Unfortunately I have to agree. I don’t like it either. MAC fans could however do a better job of being great football fans: filling their stadiums, traveling to the bowl games their team is playing, etc. Part of the Group of Five second class status is based on realities of their fan bases and budgets. Knowing the NCAA is all about the money, that would have to change before we get more attention in the playoff picture, and some of that is up to us as fans.

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