5-at-10: CFP already expanding?, Caitlin cashing in, Weston’s W, Tiger’s kid turning pro

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark makes a heart gesture after the team's NCAA college basketball game against Michigan, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. Clark broke the NCAA women's career scoring record. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark makes a heart gesture after the team's NCAA college basketball game against Michigan, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. Clark broke the NCAA women's career scoring record. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

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Well, that was fast

Most of you regulars around these parts know I am not a fan of the expanding field for the college football playoff.

It will sooner rather than later devalue the best regular season in all of sports and gut some of the most critical and high-profile rivalries and matchups.

The SEC title game is now meaningless other than seeding, like the SEC basketball tournament to be honest. The two football teams playing in December in Atlanta in a non-divisional format already have their tickets punched for the playoff.

Same goes for Michigan-THE Ohio State in most years. Same for Labor Day monster match-ups like FSU-LSU last year.


Those games now are glorified scrimmages and do not carry a tenth of the weight or meaning they did even a few months ago with the expansion of the CFP field to 12 starting this season.

And now comes word that the field could grow to 14 or even 16 as soon as 2026.

What? Egad.

That said, the expansion — which will only continue and only grow — does allow those delusional non-Power programs the folly of pretending they can stay and compete with the big boys.

But 16 by 2026?

What a travesty and it will completely gut the glory of fall, especially in the South.

A 16-team field does not widen the chances for the landscape, it offers the Alabamas, the Georgias and THE Ohio States multiple mulligans — and reasons to rest when needed — before Christmas time.

Let's look at what a 16-team field would have looked like two months ago.

1 Michigan vs. 16 Notre Dame. 2 Washington vs. 15 Louisville. 3 Texas vs. 14 Arizona. 4 Alabama vs. 13 LSU. 5 FSU vs. 12 Oklahoma. 6 Georgia vs. 11 Ole Miss. 7 THE Ohio State vs. 10 Penn State. 8 Oregon vs. 9 Missouri.

(Side note: Dang Missouri had a heck of year.)

Crud there are multiple rematches in those match-ups, which devalues the regular season dates even more.

And while expansion would at least smooth over the frustration felt in Tallahassee when the Seminoles were by-passed and in Athens after what in my mind was the best team in college football amazingly dropped from 1 to 6 with a three-point loss on a neutral field, it will not end the bellyaching.

Teams 17-thru-20 are going to bemoan the system and the rankings and what 16 to become 20 or 24 or... well you get the idea.

Expansion is coming. Now and later.

And it will kill college football way more than the NIL or the portal people.

A W for WW

Weston Wamp made the new Lookouts stadium personal.

Anyone who knows the stories knows the story.

Hey, we're all human and we all carry our grudges and/or beefs and focus our efforts and energy on things that we believe to be important.

That said, with Wednesday's announcements — here's more from TFP ace local gub'ment reported David Floyd — it's impossible not to think Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp landed a much-needed political victory in these negotiations.

Wamp balked at the Lookouts deal — which was brokered during the tail end of the Jim Coppinger administration — from the very start. His past history with Hardball Capital and Lookouts owner Jason Freier has been well-documented.

But Wamp's history as a fiscal conservative is equally as well-known, and after getting the city to pony up more and reducing the county's investment while keeping the tax influx as well as the city's lone professional sports team is a win-win for WW by almost every measure.

Truth and fact

So Caitlin Clark broke the NCAA women's basketball scoring mark last week. She's the only female player to top 1,000 career assists and 3,000 career points.

Yeah, she can play ball.

She can also buy and sell. Clark's jersey and memorabilia has become the best-selling products according to Fanatics since the organization started selling college apparel in 2022.

Clark's jersey and a commemorative T-shirt saying "You break it, you own it" in regard to the scoring record sold more in the 24 hours after the record-setting performance last week than anyone else has during Fanatics short run as the provider of NCAA jerseys and gear.

It also means in the era of NIL, Clark is going to rightly get a sizable check for her cut of those sales.

Which now points us to a surreal moment in the NIL conversation.

Not unlike Oscar Tshiebwe, the former Kentucky rebounding machine who was making upper-five figures per month in jersey sales during his time in Lexington, Clark would actually take a pay cut to go pro.

WNBA rookies make between $62K and a smidge more than $74K, and Clark would assuredly be the No. 1 overall pick so she certainly would be to the far end of salary.

But still, she likely made that in the days following her record-shattering performance last week in jersey sales alone.

And remember, Clark, who you could make a strong argument for as being one of the 10 most recognized basketball players in America, could return to Iowa next season.

This and that

— Speaking of the dire changes in college football, none other than Nick Saban says the overall state of the game is in jeopardy. "If my voice can bring about some meaningful change, I want to help any way I can, because I love the players, and I love college football. What we have now is not college football — not college football as we know it. You hear somebody use the word 'student-athlete.' That doesn't exist," Saban told ESPN Wednesday. Wow.

— Man, is Red Lobster about to go belly-up? Somewhere in Heaven, my Nanny Greeson is sick about this news. No kidding, she was the best country cook I have ever known or even heard about — she comes from a long line of Jones sisters in and around Calhoun who could spin a pot and turn a fried chicken. And her favorite restaurant bar none was the Red Lobster.

— So it appears that Charlie Woods is trying to follow in the family business. You may have heard of Chuck's pops — some dude named Eldrick — and now 15-year-old Charlie is trying to qualify for an upcoming PGA tournament. Side question: If he does not make it through traditional qualifying, the organizers have to 100% give Charlie an exemption right?

— Mocs played. Mocs won. UTC is tough friends. Here's more from Gene Henley of the TFP.

— Wow, Eli Gold was forced out as the voice of Alabama sports. That's kind of shocking to be honest.

Today's questions

It's an anything goes Thursday — the ol' AGT as the kids like to say — so fire away with anything.

We'll start in honor of Nanny and ask which mass chain sit-down restaurant is your favorite?

Also, what's the ceiling on Charlie Woods as a professional golfer?

Discuss, and ask away. Or fire a mailbag query.

As for today, Feb. 22, let's review.

Drew Barrymore is 49 today.

The Miracle on Ice happened on this day in 1980.

The first Iron Bowl was played on this day in 1893.

The first Daytona 500 was on this day in 1959.

Dr. J is 74 today.

Rushmore of best 'doctor' nicknames. Go and remember the mailbag.

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