Grading the Week: The time is now for College Football Playoff expansion – The Denver Post

There are now two annual traditions in the College Football Playoff:

1. Ungodly blowouts in the semifinals, and 2. The Pac-12 and Group of 5 having absolutely nothing to do with it.

While the staff at the Grading the Week offices doesn’t have a solution for the former (hint: there isn’t one), we’d at least like the offer one for the latter.

CFP expansion talk — A-

Yes, the time has come for an expanded playoff field.

No, this is not because there’s been a team denied a chance to win a national title that could’ve legitimately won one (there hasn’t). And, no, it’s not because we think this will fix the semifinal beatdowns (again, nothing will).

This is because the only thing that is relevant in college football these days is the playoff itself, which means a great majority of the teams and conferences in the the sport are irrelevant by the end of September.

You know that argument about how college football is great because every game matters? Well, that’s never the case for schools in the Mountain West. And it’s often not the case for teams in the Pac-12, either.

A Mountain West program would never be considered for a spot in a four-team playoff bracket (just ask AAC champion Cincinnati). And most teams from the Pac-12 are eliminated as soon as they lose a game — thus, rendering the rest of conference play moot.

That, dear readers, is a whole lot of games that don’t matter.

So what’s the best way to ensure relevance for the Pac-12 and Group of 5? An expanded eight-team playoff that gives automatic entry to each Power 5 champion as well as the top-ranked Group of 5 champion.

In that world, every conference race would have bearing on the end-of-season tournament, meaning fan bases across the country would be engaged in the entire sport all the way into December.

Would most of those teams get crushed by (SEC team here) in the first round? Absolutely! Would the sport be any worse off for it? Heavens no!

If Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott were doing his job, he would’ve started lobbying for this three years ago.

Sadly, Larry isn’t very keen on doing that. And his conference is suffering because of it (among other things).

Karl Dorrell — B+

Even as the clock ticked down the final seconds of a 55-23 loss to Texas in last week’s Alamo Bowl, CU Buffs head coach Karl Dorrell was headed toward an unimpeachable opening season in Boulder.

The Pac-12 Coach of the Year not only guided CU to its first bowl game in four years, he did it despite being hired in February and not having a single spring practice due to the coronavirus.

Heck, his Buffs even had a few moments against the Longhorns a short drive from their Austin home. (We still don’t know how Jarek Broussard scored that first touchdown.)

Then, following a loss that was totally understandable given all of the regulars unavailable to play, Dorrell took the almost unprecedented step of declining to make any of his players available to speak with media.

Among that contingent were reporters who made the long trip to San Antonio to cover the game — amid a global pandemic, no less. The least Dorrell could do was spare 5-10 minutes of his players’ time.

Who knows? Some of them might have even wanted to talk.

CSU Rams basketball — A+

There are few rules when it comes to the grading process administered by Grading the Week HQ, but there is this one:

If your team pulls off a Mountain West record 26-point comeback on the home court of the conference favorite — as CSU did against San Diego State on Saturday afternoon — you get an A-plus.

Watch out. Niko Medved is cooking up something special in FoCo.

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