Rob Jenkins: Four-team playoff is like kissing you big, hairy sister

Rob Jenkins

Rob Jenkins

Someone once said that "compromise is the art of making sure nobody gets what they want."

And no, it wasn't Elvis, who also did not record "Rockin' Robin," as I infamously asserted in last week's column. Fortunately, that error was caught by 47 alert readers, five government agencies, an attorney for the Bobby Day estate, and my mom.

But I was talking about compromise, and specifically about one of the most egregious compromises in recent history: college football's new four-team playoff.

A compromise is, after all, kind of like a tie, which has often been compared to "kissing your sister." That would be an apt description in this case, if your sister was a hairy, 3,000-pound gorilla.

Here, the 3,000-pound gorilla in the room is the fact that a four-team playoff won't make anybody happy. People will complain about it for the next 8 10 years, just like they've complained about the BCS system, until ultimately it has to be scrapped.

So why don't we just go ahead and institute something that will work, and that will ultimately satisfy most people, to begin with?

After all, there is one proposal out there that fits that description: the eight-team playoff notably championed by UGA President Michael Adams and others, including your humble columnist.

Consider the main objection to the new four-team format: that two schools from the same conference can't be included. That automatically negates a scenario like last year's title game, in which Alabama beat LSU, and seems designed to prevent the SEC from totally dominating college football as it's done for the past decade.

Right now, that may be just fine and dandy with the rest of the country, but what's going to happen when Ohio State and Michigan are among the best four teams? Or USC and Oregon? I know, Hell will freeze over, but work with me here.

Also, the new rules stipulate that all four playoff teams have to be conference champions -- but there are six major conferences (for now, at least), meaning two will be left out.

An eight-team format would fix all that. The six conference champs would get automatic bids (which might discourage some of the bizarre re-alignments we're seeing now), with the two top-rated non-champions, regardless of conference affiliation, filling out the field.

This plan would have the advantage of adding four meaningful, highly-watchable games to the playoff picture, which could be played during the long break between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (You know, so all those "student-athletes" don't miss any classes.)

That translates into millions of dollars in the NCAA's and the individual schools' coffers, which could no doubt be put to excellent use, such as covering bail for star athletes.

About the only objection I can see to this plan is that it's such a good idea, and so simple, that no group of college presidents will ever go for it.

Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and college professor. E-mail him at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter@rjenkinsgdp.