By Marc Lawrence — Forget Notre Dame and Texas A&M. The fourth and final playoff spot should have gone to Cincinnati. The committee’s complete dismissal of the Bearcats defies football logic—and reveals how far this system will go to ensure the same old outcome. That’s the opinion of “The Ringer” who wrote that once upon a time, this sport demanded perfection. Now it demands chaos. This year, the debate over who should get the fourth and final spot in the playoff came down to determining whether Texas A&M or Notre Dame had the less embarrassing blowout loss. A&M lost to Alabama 52-24 on Oct. 3; Notre Dame fell to Clemson 34-10 on Saturday. Neither result was apparently disqualifying. The inclusion of the Top Three teams this time around is nearly indisputable. Those three went a combined 27-1 this year, with 24 wins coming by double digits, with the lone loss a double-overtime defeat by Clemson to Notre Dame in a game in which the Tigers were missing multiple defensive starters and superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence, as the projected top pick in the 2021 NFL draft tested positive for COVID-19. So Notre Dame had its chance and got demolished in a rematch with the Tigers. So did Texas A&M in its loss to Alabama. Cincinnati won the American Athletic Conference—which is generally considered to be the strongest non-Power Five league—with a 9-0 record and seven double-digit wins. To read more on this take click here.
When the NBA tips off it’s 2020-21 season tonight they will do so with a few new rule changes. For openers, each team can carry up to 17 players – 15 on the regular player roster and 2 additional players on two-way contracts (at half the rookie minimum pay scale). This will allow teams to have as many as 15 players in uniform on game nights, up from the previous limit of 13. In addition, the “Play-In Tournament” will include the teams with the 7th-highest through the 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference. At the conclusion of the regular season but before the first round of the playoffs, the team with the 7th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 8th-highest winning percentage in a Play-In Game (the “Seven-Eight Game”). The winner of the Seven-Eight Game in each conference will earn the No. 7 seed. The team with the 9th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 10th-highest winning percentage in the “Nine-Ten Game”. The loser of the Seven-Eight Game will host the winner of the Nine-Ten Game in a Play-In Game, and the winner of that game in each conference will earn the No. 8 seed. Let’s hope the season gets that far.
Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte
From this week’s PLAYBOOK Football Newsletter: The 2020 College Bowl season is in such disarray that the only two teams in the nation with 500-yard defenses – Ole Miss and North Texas – each landed a bowl bid. Making matters worse, both teams sport losing records (4-5 each). As Charlie Brown would say, “Good grief!”