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The world of free agency in college football is upon us. 

Can an expanded playoff system with more opportunities for more teams--and players--be far behind?

 Talk to the CFB playoff people and they will say that the current system is 8 years into a contract that is set through at least 2025.

True enough.

But there are flaws with the current system and, as we have seen, change can happen quickly with the right power brokers.

When the current four team playoff was initiated in 2014 it was meant to expand the playoff possibilities and opportunities for college football.

It has not done that.

In fact,  people have made strong arguments that it has become incredibly restrictive, limited to the elite level of the Power  5 conference schools.

Consider some numbers: 7 years of the CFB playoff consisting of 28 games (not counting championship have had only 11 teams from the FBS pool of 130  teams.

Of those 11 teams, Alabama (6) Clemson (6), Ohio State (4) and Oklahoma (4) have taken 20 of the 28 spots.

The SEC has been the most diverse with Alabama, LSU and Georgia all qualifying. The Big 12 (Oklahoma) and the ACC (Clemson) have been the most restrictive with only one team making it to the  Final four, although Notre Dame made the field last season as an ACC team.

The other problem was built into the system. The CFP took the Power 5 conferences and gave their champions opportunities in what has been a 4-team playoff. The math--5-into  4 just doesn't work.

It has also been geographically restricted. In 2017, three of the schools, Georgia, Alabama and Clemson were from  a college football crazy area which left 3/4 of the country out of any serious rooting interest which were displayed by dips in television ratings.

"National"" tournament?

There have been ongoing talks about the status of the 12 year contract, which is valued at a whopping $470 million each year and runs through the 2025 college regular season.

Expansion to 8 teams has been debated in most off seasons and then put away.

But now we are at a cross roads. 

The face of  college football will change because of the NCAA transfer rule which allows players to switch schools without penalty once during their career.

Add the uncertainty of whether players will be compensated for the use of their image or likeness and you are certain to have significant consequences and change.

Which is why it is not all surprising that at various spring conference meetings being held, the talk of a 12 team playoff has gained momentum.

That supposedly would take care of most of the inequities. Each of the Power 5 conferences would be represented, as would the highest ranked team from the Group of 5 conferences not included in the automatic 4-team playoff.   No Group of 5 conference school has ever made it to the Final Four.

A 12 team playoff would then allow 6 at-large slots for conference runners up and other worthy teams,  with a reasonable assurance being that the chances of the No. 13 ranked team in the country being left out of the mix would not stir any controversy.

It would also give meaning to almost every conference championship game, which would increase the value of regular season games.

That's the frame work.

Adding 8 team  would negatively impact the bowl system. it would create scheduling issues which would have to be addressed.

So let's start with this premise.

 ESPN has exclusive negotiating rights to any change in the CFP deal before its conclusion at the end of the 2025 season.

So let's say they increase the $470 million dollar per year deal to $800 million, with the following conditions.

College football cuts from 12 to 11 regular season games.

 The Conference championship games would be played the first weekend in December, each of the 5 Power Conference championship game winners would get an automatic spot in the playoffs, but not necessarily a first round bye.

The highest ranked team from the Group of 5 conference championship game winners would get a spot in the tournament, but not necessarily a first round bye.

Six  at-large slots would fill the tournament field.

The tournament would be seeded 1-12, with first four seeds receiving first round byes.

Seeds 5 through 12 would play qualifying games on the second week of the season at the campus site of the highest ranked team.

The winners would then advance to the quarterfinal round the following week, again at the site of the higher seeded team.

Those four winners would then advance to the CFP semifinals at the sites and dates already scheduled,   with the championship game scheduled a week to 10 days later.

What this does for ESPN is  a football version of March Madness in December, with conference championship games, followed by opening and quarterfinal round games the following weekends in December.

Call it December Delirium for college football fans.

The bowl system would have to be paired in half from 40, with ESPN filling its programing after Dec. 19 with second tier bowl games, perhaps at  to be built ESPN site in Orlando, where it could hold two games  a day for a week and have it as part of an entertainment package with Disneyworld.

It could work.

Now all they have to do it is start the process. 

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If you thought Alabama dominated college football, tune in ESPN's NFL draft coverage. Reportedly 12 players have been invited to watch the proceedings live in Cleveland, with 5 of them coming from Alabama, all of whom are possible first round draft picks.

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Time moves on:  Two of the highest rated defensive backs in the draft are Jaycee Horn from South Carolina and Alabama's Patrick Surtain II..

Both are sons of former NFL players. Joe Horn is a former NFL wide receiver, while Patrick Surtain is a former NFL defensive back.

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Major league baseball released a report that 70 percent of its key personnel have been vaccinated for COVID, which raises a bigger question.

Considering the status and resources available in MLB not open to the general public, why isn't that percentage closer to 100 percent.

Washington, which has gotten off to a very sluggish start, began the season with 7 of its 25 players sidelined because of COVID issues.

Speaking of the Nationals. Pitcher Max Scherzer, regarded as the ace of the pitching staff has struggled to a 1-2 start, but in a 9-5 loss to Toronto on Tuesday night, Scherzer earned the dubious honor of allowing home runs to Pedro Guerrero and Pedro Guerrero Jr.  Ivan Nova was the only other pitcher to allow the father and son home run derby display.

The Blue Jays are playing their home games this spring at their spring  training site in Dunediin, Fla, because COVID issues are keeping them south of the Canadian  border.

MLB put out the word that the average  value of a franchise is $2.2 billion, which is also the starting projection cost for an expansion franchise.``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

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Another quiet night on Thursday is expected by the Los Angeles Rams, who haven't had  a first round pick for the past five years. The streak is likely to continue since the Rams traded two of their future first round picks and starting QB Jared Goff in a package which brought them Detroit QB Matt Stafford earlier this year.

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If Bourbonic wins Saturday's Kentucky Derby, it will be historic for a number of reasons, but  none more so than because of his jockey, Kendrick Carmouchie, who will become the first Derby winning black jockey in 119 years Bourbonic is also running from the No. 20 post and is 30-1.

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For what its worth (not much), my Kentucky Derby  pick this year is

1. Essential Quality

2.. Hot Rod Charlie

3.  Known Agenda

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Sometimes the NCAA makes it too easy. How else to explain the very quiet announcement this week that NCAA President Mark Emmert had been given a two-year extension on his contract. Tone deaf is too mild a term to describe this move from an  organization which desperately needs new leadership.

The way the Board of Governors (composed primarily of Presidents of Universities handled the announcement was to slide it in a release under the heading of "Other News'' and then publicly not talk about the decision.

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Two of the intriguing themes of Thursday's  NFL draft will be what happens after we have a presumed first three picks of Trevor Lawrence, Zack Wilson and Marc Jones. Ohio State's Justin Fields could be the next Peyton Manning if Denver takes him with the No. 9 pick of the first round. 

The truly interesting move would be if North Dakota State Trey Lance is still available for the Patriots at No. 15