Though it doesn't match the personal desires for world peace and a cure for cancer, it would be nice if the College Football Playoff could remain at four teams in the decades to come.
The more is not always the merrier, and for those clamoring for an eight-team playoff, just plop yourself in front of the television Saturday shortly after lunch and inhale the championship games of the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences. It's not a perfect quarterfinals bracket, but it's not far from it.
"This is definitely the closest in the four years of the playoff that it's looked like legitimate quarterfinals," ESPN's Heather Dinich, who covers the playoff, said this week. "That's certainly the case in the ACC and the SEC. If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten, they're in, and if Oklahoma wins the Big 12, they're in. As far as talk of expanding the playoff, I think this is the perfect year to argue otherwise.
"I don't think there are even four great teams who are raising their hands saying, 'Pick me,' and I certainly don't think there are eight great teams that should be a part of the playoff system this year. Expanding the playoff in a year like this one would be disappointing."facebook
Saturday's winners in the ACC title game between Clemson and Miami and in the SEC title game between Auburn and Georgia are certain to be in the four-team field. The same might be said in the Big Ten with Ohio State and Wisconsin, though a win by the Buckeyes would lead to the great debate between them and Alabama.
In that scenario, the Buckeyes would be 11-2 with a conference title and top-10 wins over Wisconsin and Penn State, but they also possess a 15-point home loss to Oklahoma and a 31-point loss at Iowa, which finished 7-5 overall and 4-5 in conference play. Alabama, meanwhile, is staying home this weekend with an 11-1 record that does not include any wins against teams currently in the top 15 of the playoff rankings, yet the Crimson Tide were ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 all season until last week's Iron Bowl loss.
Alabama's best chance at a berth would be TCU upsetting Oklahoma, given that the Horned Frogs are No. 11 in the latest rankings, six spots behind the Crimson Tide. Then again, maybe the playoff committee would consider a massive leap for TCU with a resounding triumph, giving Saturday a true quarterfinals feel.
"The commissioners do not want to devalue the meaning of the regular season," said Dinich, who was a guest of "Press Row" on Chattanooga's ESPN 105.1 FM, "and college basketball is an excellent cautionary tale. Imagine Stanford winning the Pac-12. You would have a three-loss team in this thing if it got expanded.
"That's why there aren't any qualifiers in this thing. The committee wants to get the four best teams, period."
Stanford vs. USC: The Pac-12 is the only Power Five conference this year with a title game that has no impact on the four-team playoff, which explains why tickets for Friday's game are as low as $29. Trojans 23, Cardinals 22.
Memphis at Central Florida: This is a rematch of the 40-13 laugher won by the Knights in late September. Knights 30, Tigers 27.
North Texas at Florida Atlantic: No coach has ever had a finer combination of success on the field and on Twitter than Lane Kiffin this season. Owls 34, Mean Green 16.
Louisiana-Monroe at Florida State: The Seminoles began this season at No. 3, but the closest they're getting to a conference championship game is this contest, which was rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma. Seminoles 31, Warhawks 13.
TCU vs. Oklahoma: Quite the full plate for Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield, given a playoff bid and the Heisman Trophy are his for the taking. Sooners 35, Horned Frogs 30.
Georgia vs. Auburn: This is not the easiest pick given the uncertainty of Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson's health, which is no small aspect to this matchup. Bulldogs 27, Tigers 20.
Miami vs. Clemson: The Tigers have won the past two ACC title games but haven't dominated. This could be different. Tigers 34, Hurricanes 17.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin: If the Buckeyes win 59-0 again like they did in the 2014 Big Ten title game, it will be hard to take the Badgers seriously again. Badgers 27, Buckeyes 24.
Pasquali is 259-66 overall (79.7 percent) this season.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.