Let's Talk This Over

Open discussions needed on plus-one model and potential playoff

April 30, 2008

By Trev Alberts

Special to CSTV.com


Trev Alberts is a football analyst for CBS College Sports and CSTV.com.

You've got college football questions and CSTV football analyst Trev Alberts has answers and opinions. Each week Alberts will be answering questions and queries on the world of college football. So if you've got a question for Trev? Just ask him.


Do you think we'll see the plus-one model anytime soon? Does college football really need a mini-playoff right now? - J.P, Florida


From everything that I'm reading and hearing, it appears that, in large part, the Big Ten and the Pac-10 are leading the charge to make sure we don't go toward that. They say they're open minded and willing to listen to proposals, but I think that's as far as they're willing to commit. They feel strongly that a plus-one model would turn into an eight-team playoff which would then turn into a 16-team playoff.


It's interesting to me because I've said time and time again that they're protecting relationships with bowl games, longstanding traditions, and I understand it. But all I'm asking is for everybody - including commissioners, presidents, media members and fans - to take a step back and ask what's best for college football. And if after the research and careful study that it's clear that the best thing for college football is that we don't have a playoff then I'd like to think I'd be open minded enough to say we don't need one.


If it's merely just an effort to gain more money then maybe that's not what is best for college football. But If determining the champion on the field, from a legitimacy standpoint and all the rest, is best for the game then we ought to move in that direction. The Big Ten and Pac-10 have basically said they're not interested in a playoff or plus-one model. Okay. Then the two of them can just have their bowl game at the Rose Bowl and I suppose if one of them is undefeated they can "claim" to be the national champion.


The NFL is a perfect example in matters like this. The NFL owners, predominantly the Rooney family in Pittsburgh, made tough decisions that benefited the league years ago rather than the individual teams and look how that turned out. A change in college football has to be bigger than the individual cause. I would like all of us to have a comprehensive study and review. Look at what's best not for just for schools individually or conferences, but the sport. But to not even have that conversation is short-sighted. And that mentality flies in the face of what academia is supposed to be all about!


I don't know what individual agendas are, but can't we have an open dialogue about the topic? That's all I'm asking for. Thankfully, for the most part, our sport is really, really healthy.


What was the most surprising: no receivers being taken in the first round or Joe Flacco being taken at No. 18? - Derrick I., N.J.


I'm not surprised that Joe Flacco was taken at No. 18. I think he fit what Baltimore nicely and the only reason he might be a surprise at No. 18 is because he came from Delaware. He wound up at Delaware because he thought they would be a better fit than Pittsburgh.  


And the bigger issue with that is that it's unfair that a talented guy like Flacco has to go down to the FCS level if he wants to play. If we're really interested in the game's sustainability and we're supposed to act as the protector of college football, it seems to me that there should be a one-time transfer waiver where players would be free from repercussions. When a coach can promise and up and leave and it directly impact recruits, but is not penalized himself, that's wrong. Now that wasn't the case with Flacco, of course, but why should student-athletes be punished when coaches aren't?


In terms of the wide receivers, unless you're so completely dominant in college I think NFL teams are looking for value at that position. Look at Calvin Johnson. He didn't have a bad year last year with Detroit, but even he didn't dominate like many thought. You don't have to take receivers so high. It's kind of like middle linebackers.


The most surprising thing to me was how many ACC players were taken in the first round. Seven ACC players were selected Saturday. The ACC, from a talent prospective, is proving that it's very, very healthy.


Who would you put on your Hall of Fame ballot? - Jonathan, Calif.


It's difficult to look at this sometimes because you have plenty of guys who had better careers in the NFL than they did in college. Guys like Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders. Lawrence Taylor and two guys I played with, Grant Wistrom and Will Shields. There are some really big names on the ballot this year.


I think they probably had a difficult time narrowing it down to 11 players and two coaches. I hope they don't forget someone like Tony Mandarich. I remember watching him at Michigan State come to Iowa and he was just a beast. He literally picked up Iowa defensive linemen and deposited them 10 yards away from the play.


From my stand point, when I look at a list like that and I see my name listed just listed it's just pretty incredible. Just to have your name listed is an honor. To be grouped with those guys, who helped to define what college football is today, is special.

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