NORMAN CHAD: ESPN’s bloviating gasbags know everything, just ask them

SHARE NORMAN CHAD: ESPN’s bloviating gasbags know everything, just ask them

Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler are seen during ESPN’s College GameDay show at Times Square on September 23, 2017 in New York City. |
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

So I piled mistake upon mistake last week –woke up beforenoon, decided to drive somewhere, got stuck in traffic and kept listening to sports talk radio, where every single megahertz minute was spent prattling away about whether Alabama or Ohio State deserved the fourth College Football Playoff national semifinal spot.

Couch Slouch is of two minds on this:

1. With the Google-ization of data and intellectual property and Starbucks contaminating every city corner and North Korean nuclear warheads aimed toward Disneyland and climate change threatening to leave our planet in ashes, it really doesn’t matter.


Nobody knows anything. Yet everyone acts if they know everything. It is a chattering, shattering cacophony of Football Power Index rankings, outcome of common opponents, strength of schedule and adjusted defensive scoring efficiencies.

The windbags keep talking about the “eye test” and “body of work.” Body of work? Like we’re comparing Van Gogh’s watercolors to Manet’s café scenes.

It all starts when ESPN gathers any remaining staff it hasn’t laid off for the run-up and follow-up to the CFP selection. ESPN doesn’t just cover its biggest events, it blankets them, and no entity in broadcasting has more blankets than the boys in Bristol.

For its four-hour extravaganza revealing the bowl matchups last week, ESPN gathered 19 – 19! – talking heads; singlehandedly, ESPN has rescued the makeup-artist economy. It was an all-hands-on-deck situation, with Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin on call in case LeBron James suddenly announced he was retiring and running for governor of Ohio.

(If ESPN televised The Last Supper, it would’ve had tableside reporters assigned to each apostle, with pregame and postgame studio shows from Bethany Wild Wings in east Jerusalem.)

The show began with a shot of the “Selection Committee War Room” – 13 mostly aging white men sitting in front of laptops, all battling male pattern baldness and irritable bowel syndrome.

ESPN host Rece Davis pointed out that three of the 13 selection committee members – with ties to Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State – recused themselves from the discussion, but, my friends, everyone on that panel has bonds to somebody. Heck, the CFP selection committee is more conflicted than a taxidermist at a wildlife sanctuary.

In fact, instead of a CFP selection committee, why not just pick 13 bartenders from around the nation? You’d still get 13 opinions, with less bias and baggage than the big shots.

This unholy business all starts with the faulty premise that you cannot win the national title unless you are in a Power Five conference – or Notre Dame – so all other Division I schools are playing for the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.

It’s a crooked system weighted toward the richest schools; the last Filipino election under Ferdinand Marcos was more legit than the CFP selection process.

Who knows who is best any given season? Why couldn’t the University of Central Florida be among the top four college football teams in the nation?

The solution is simple, makes more money for everybody and remains one of the five best ideas* I have ever had:

Every school gets into the postseason.


(* My four other great ideas – microwave ovens built into car dashboards, toddler-free airline flights, drive-thru divorce windows and bowling center-laundromats.)

The whole shebang – a 128-team playoff – could transpire in December and January, with the national championship game the weekend before the Super Bowl.

It beats the current system of a handful of suits evaluating flawed data amidst half-empty pizza boxes.

Think about this sad state of American affairs:

From the moment the Ohio State-Wisconsin game ended until the moment ESPN announced the national semifinalists 12 hours later, the CFP selection committee spent more time deliberating on playoff seedings than the U.S. Senate did on a 479-page tax bill.

And people wonder why I sleep in.

Ask The Slouch

Q: Rob Gronkowski dives on top of Tre’Davious White after a play, driving a forearm into his head-and-neck area, and gets suspended only one game? Really? (Thomas Mann; Macon, Ga.)

A: Gronkowski was not carrying a weapon, and replay would show that White was not laying completing out of bounds.

Q: Is the decision to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Games a gift from the IOC to the U.S. to make up for Russian hacking of the presidential election? (R.J. Sanders; Louisville, Ky.)

A: What, you think the Russians won’t hack the figure skating results?

Q: How come your Ask The Slouch readers’ questions are funnier than anything you write? (Steven Weiss; Arlington, Va.)

A: I am a neo-existential fatalist – where’s the funny there?

Q: Why did the NFL owners offer Roger Goodell a new contract, couldn’t they just put the franchise tag on him?(Walt De Bell; Troy, N.Y.)

A: Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just emailasktheslouch@aol.comand, if your question is used, you win $1.25 incash!

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