Something to ponder over a holiday travel weekend as college football's four-team playoff prepares for takeoff: the flight is overbooked.
Do the math: Five power conferences are essentially battling for four spots, meaning at least one highly compensated league commissioner isn't going to be happy in December.
The season could come down to a squeeze play. Defending national champion
When could that have ever happened?
Florida State coasted through the soft
In a playoff last year, the champions of the
In 2011, Alabama's only defeat was to the SEC's West Division champion,
Final BCS order: LSU, Alabama,
Champions left out in a playoff: Big Ten and ACC.
The 13-person playoff selection committee has been told to put more weight on conference titles, yet it would have been tough to deny non-champion Alabama in 2011 and 2013.
This year, if Florida State again goes undefeated, and the SEC again deserves two bids, three conference champions — Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12 — would be left fighting for one spot.
An eight-team playoff would solve this problem by providing automatic bids to the five power-league champions and three at-large spots.
That's not where we are today, though, making conference reputation extremely important.
The Big Ten got bonus points Thursday when newcomer Rutgers pulled out a 41-38 thriller over the Pac-12's Washington State.
Also off to a fast start is the underdog
It's all quite enough to make even a veteran coach a little nervous. Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy was hesitant this week in advance of the Cowboys' opener, in Arlington, against Florida State. And for good reason.
Oklahoma State finished 10-3 last season but is an 18-point underdog against Florida State. Gundy says he will probably play eight true freshmen against college football's most loaded roster.
Gundy did not want this game, preferring to open with a softer opponent. And Oklahoma State isn't just playing for its own fate.
An ugly loss could linger deep into Big 12 playoff discussions. Last year, Oklahoma State hammered
The Pac-12 gets its tires kicked next week when Michigan State visits highly touted
If UCLA's struggles? How might that play out when Virginia plays at Florida State on Nov. 8?
Comparatives are often unfair and misleading, but also part of what makes college football so much week-to-week fun.
It will stay this way for as long as the playoffs are decided, subjectively, by real people who can be lobbied and influenced.
Enjoy the fun while it lasts and we'll keep tabs of the conference brownie points.