The new year looks like a promising time for Kansas City sports fans. Hopefully, the Royals are building a new young team in the right way with speed, defense and relief pitching, which got them to two straight World Series and the 2015 World Series championship.
Area college basketball and football programs appear to be headed the right direction with new football leadership at KU and Kansas State. The real promise for 2019 is the bright future for the Chiefs with a young squad led by a very special young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. Chiefs fans are just beginning to realize the future potential of the team.
At the national level, will the NCAA ever figure out a playoff system that works for Division I colleges? The playoff system for the other divisions works well but the present system for Division I is ugly. The top four teams are chosen by a committee, which makes no sense. Of the 10 national championship games played under this system, eight have been total blowouts.
This year’s games with No. 1 Alabama against No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame were like watching grass grow. Alabama and Clemson were head and shoulders better than Oklahoma and Notre Dame. It is not the fault of the system, but it is obvious there were other teams in the country that could have put on a better show.
The only fair way to determine which teams should be in the playoffs is for them to perform on the field of play. Even if the present format was expanded to include more teams, it still does not mean that anyone else would have played Alabama or Clemson any tougher, but the road to arrive there would not be as easy.
The current system of countless and worthless bowl games could be put to rest in exchange for a true tournament format that would generate excitement. It could equal the interest in March Madness in basketball. The criteria for who qualifies for the playoffs would be played out on the field.
The NCAA has already figured that out with its other divisions. It may generate revenue, but it is terrible for the game of football. The NFL receives a lot of criticism on many fronts, but they do get it right when it comes to the playoffs. Fans of football enjoy the NFL playoffs. The teams who get there earn their way into the tournament.
A problem facing the Division I playoff system is the fact that Alabama and Clemson are so superior to all of the other football programs in the country. To change the system would not necessarily create a balance. But Georgia would have had a much better shot to beat Alabama than the teams decided on by the committee.
If any team in the country, including Alabama and Clemson, has to play first-round games against a team like Ohio State and then follow that up with a team like Georgia or LSU, it would make for better games and a tougher road to a championship.
The NFL model of this has worked. New England has dominated the last 10 years during the playoffs but can still be beaten in the Super Bowl (by the Eagles and Giants). The present FBS system will continue to allow Alabama to dominate every year with the only hope of a victory by another team being a team and coach modeled after them – like Clemson.
There is no excitement in this process and only four schools in the country get a chance at the championship.
The meaningless bowl games are so ridiculous that there are no crowds and no atmosphere and are only television pickup games to fill time slots during the holidays. Who remembers who won the Cure Bowl? Come on, man! The present playoff and bowl systems are not really a road to a championship. It is all about the money.
• The Chiefs have a great opportunity to get the monkey off their back in the playoffs this year. To have the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage has them in uncharted waters. This should be the beginning of a great run for them, win or lose. They now have a young team and a young quarterback leading them who is the real deal. They still have two years before they have to pay Mahomes huge money to stay, which allows them to build a solid supporting cast for him. When it does come time to sign Mahomes, they may have to offer him the Plaza and Crown Center.
• The quote of the week comes from Benjamin Disraeli, former prime minister of England: “Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.