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The College Football Playoff Is Designed To Be Loathed

FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


I never thought I’d say I miss the BCS, but dammit I can’t stand this new system. The CFB Playoff is great, don’t get me wrong. I love the expansion to 4 teams and would support even further expansion. But I hate this stupid committee shit. I feel like the people over at FiveThirtyEight (or any other statistical analysis group) could revise the previous BCS ranking system and give us a better and unbiased ranking.


Yeah but people HATED the BCS computers. And I know part of that was due to good ol’ fashioned technophobia from football people (DURRRRR AIN’T NO COMPUTER EVER PLAYED NO NOBODY!), but it was also because the formula was stupid. Two bad polls, including the notoriously worthless coaches poll, represented two-thirds of that calculation. A computer is only as unbiased as the person programming it, and I really don’t trust college football officials to devise a metric that is truly objective when you and I know that they don’t WANT such a thing. They want a playoff that makes money. Even if they were pure of heart and subcontracted ranking duties to FiveThirtyEight, well those NERDY BLOG NERDS blew the fucking election now, didn’t they? So I’m still gonna bitch if they crank out a playoff field that I find personally objectionable.

And that’s the point. College officials have openly said they enjoy having some measure of controversy inherent in the system, because they know that college football fanboys are INSANE and will be driven even more insane by a committee of eggheads deciding who gets in and who doesn’t. I like having those people as an enemy. I like having someone to blame. I like pretending like Condi Rice or some other fartsniffing schmuck couldn’t possibly be as wise about determining the field as I might be. CONDI AIN’T WATCHED THE TAPE LIKE I HAVE! That’s all part of the pageantry, and it all fades away once the games are played. Last year’s men’s basketball bracket was selected by throwing fucking darts at a board. It was as lazily constructed a bracket as I’ve ever seen, and no one really gave a crap after the fact. You entertain yourself by being mad for a month, and then you watch the cream rise.


Also, given how horribly bastardized college conferences have become, you should NEVER give a shit about conference championships or turn into some insufferable conference fanboy who thinks his randomly selected grouping of regional teams optimized for greatest possible market share is somehow a tribe he needs to defend. So what if the Big Ten didn’t get a team in? Fuck the Big Ten. The Big Ten can swallow a knife. Even if I weren’t a lapsed Michigan fan, you’d never see me crying tears for Ohio goddamn State. They’re 9,000,000,000th on the list of pity causes.

I know it’s annoying that Alabama can lose their final game of the season and still get back into the playoff thanks mostly to brand recognition, but that kind of chicanery was also a prominent feature of the old bowl system. College football fanboys were always like, “It’s the most important regular season in sports! You can’t lose late!” Meanwhile, I would watch Florida blow their rivalry game to Florida State and still back their asses into a turgid 1997 Sugar Bowl rematch (which they, of course, won).

Politics and gross exclusivity have always been a prominent feature of the college football postseason, and they always will be, even if they follow this very good Dan Wetzel plan to drop the conference title games and expand the playoff field to eight teams (in general, it’s always good to have a mix of newcomers and old powerhouses in your bracket, and limiting the field to four usually means it’s still gonna be just a bunch of asswipe schools you’ve seen here a million times before). No system will be immune to that sport’s heady mix of corruption, cronyism, greed, and mind-boggling incompetence.

I spent the bulk of my teenage years railing for a playoff system, and I’m not going back. I know it’s very good and sweet to have individual bowl games where myriad schools can be rewarded with a trip and a possible trophy at the end of the season, but fuck all that. I prefer a zero-sum playoff bracket that breaks kids’ bodies and so completely warps the value of coaches that Texas A&M will pay a dude named Jimbo $70 million and bring him in on a fucking private plane. That’s as American as it gets right there.




What are the odds that Donald Trump is a Flat Earther in private?

A hundred percent, but we’re way past the point where Donald Trump “believes” things or not. He’s a proven serial liar and now clearly deranged, so if it serves his purposes to say the Earth is flat, he’ll go right ahead and say it. Belief is beside the point. He then WILL himself to believe something even if he believed the opposite just five minutes beforehand.


He’s senile. There are no truth or lies in his mind, at least not in the way you and I regard such things. He’s just a brainless old fart grabbing onto anything that makes him feel good and then going rabid for it. So yeah, tell him Robert Mueller believes in gravity and he’ll be like THEN WHY DON’T THE CLOUDS FALL?!




Is there any worse place to be hungover than IKEA?

Oh, I think work would be worse, right? At least you can leave IKEA. Besides, I’ve made my peace with IKEA. I went last year and was shocked at how much I enjoyed lying on the beds and ogling all the cheap kitchen merchandise. And at least you can score a nice meal at the cafeteria there. Nothing wards off the hangover fumes like a $5 plate of smoked trout and mystery pumpernickel loaf.


All of that is better than being stuck a work for eight-plus hours wanting to die. In the hierarchy of worst places to be hungover, work is right up there. Observe:

  1. Court
  2. DMV
  3. Work
  4. Family reunion
  5. Stuck in your car
  6. School
  7. AA meeting
  8. Church
  9. Ballet recital

The goal, as always, to avoid both loud noise AND fluorescent lighting. I have no evidence of this, but 80 percent of all suicides are caused by fluorescent lighting. That’s a fact.




Should NFL fans be allowed to tuck in their jerseys? Seeing a tucked jersey makes me want to throw hot oil in their face.


It looks stupid, I agree. But it also looks like shit untucked too! There’s no good way for a doughy pud to rock a football jersey without pads on. You really have to be a high school stallion to make it work. I do the whole fan thing where I wear a Vikings jersey on game day, and I know that it looks dumb. The jersey hangs down over my ass and manages to make me look less athletic than I already am. It’s terrible. The only reason tucking it in looks worse is because you’re actively signaling to people that you’re trying to make it look better when you can’t. Meanwhile, your FUPA fights against that mesh like a wild bear. Better to just leave it untucked and spend your day walking around like a slob. You’re not fooling anyone either way.

By the way, I like to think it’s a hard and fast law that the more athletic the player, the less athletic the fan wearing his jersey will be. Like, I bet you’ll find dozens of hip skinny dudes who love Vince Wilfork and will wear his jersey. Meanwhile, 400-pound Sully from Natick will rock a Brady jersey like he’s wearing Brady’s own skin. It’s a real phenomenon.




After fidget spinners and stress putty got old, my kids jumped on the newest craze – paracord bracelets. These are marketed as “survival bracelets.” What are the chances anyone has actually unwound the nylon cord to save their lives? Even if you were in a situation where you needed a 3-foot rope to save your life, what are the chances that you would be wearing this bracelet?

Illustration for article titled The College Football Playoff Is Designed To Be Loathed

That’s a thing now? That’s fucking stupid. There’s no difference between that and the sailor knot bracelets that kids at my school wore back in the ‘80s. Certain kids could pull off those bracelets, you know? Like, if you had bleach blonde hair and six-pack abs, you could rock a football jersey and a sailor knot bracelet and girls would fucking SWOON. They would think you surfed a lot and played guitar by a beach bonfire at night. I bet if I could have pulled one of those off, Kathy Hansen would have gone for me, you know? But she would never go with me, man. Instead she went with Tom Knudsen, who was a smug ASSHOLE; the kind of kid who could pull off a sailor knot bracelet and knew it! I’LL NEVER GET OVER IT. I would have loved her right! COME BACK TO ME, KATHY.


Anyway, let’s take a look at the copy on one of these bad boys:

Hand-wound from the same 550 lb tested parachute chord used in WWII to attach men to their chutes, these cuffs give you up to 15ft of usable paracord when unwound. Not just an all purpose survival tool, the 550 cord also looks killer on your wrist.


Oh yeah, that is absolutely gonna be worn by every white relief pitcher in baseball next season. Whoever started selling these bracelets definitely got the idea from Man vs. Wild. IN THE WILD YOU MUST USE WHATEVER RESOURCES YOU HAVE AT YOUR DISPOSABLE. THIS PARACHUTE CORD WILL HELP WITH RAPPELLING DOWN MOUNTAINS AND CHOKING SMALL WOODLAND CREATURES TO DEATH FOR VITAL FOOD AND NUTRIENTS. I already dread my kids asking for one. Once they realize that the last fad item is not some magical talisman that will make them cool and popular, it’s onto the next one.

By the way, FUCK stress putty. I cannot believe I got roped into paying $8 for a tin of neon garbage. Turns out the way kids relieve stress with that putty is by grinding it into the carpet. I’ll sue.




If The NFL owners can get together and kick out Double-J, can we all get together and kick Alabama out of the country?


God, I wish. No matter what happens with next week’s election, I NEVER wanna hear white people from Alabama piss and moan ever again about being stereotyped as racist clods by liberal Yankees. I had you rednecks nailed from Day One. If anything, you only get stupider by the year. I would pay good money (at least three dollars!) to be formally extricated from you as countrymen for good. Good luck on your own, fuckheads. See how long you last out in the wilderness, no longer able to act as a diseased, racist, parasitic lump on the blue states. I’d root harder against you in the Olympics than I would Russia.

I remember before last year’s election our own Burneko wrote this take about how the country should be dissolved and I, being the Pollyanna, was like, “Don’t be ridiculous! America’s still okay!” Reader, I was wrong. It’s a lost cause. Break this shit up like a tin of peppermint bark. I wouldn’t shed a single tear to be rid of the asshole states for good.




Would you rather fart every time you jizz (you can fart without jizzing), or would you rather jizz every time you fart (you can jizz without farting)? Both the cum and the fart are of sufficient volume (in either sense of the word) to be noticeable to those around you.


Given how often I fart, it’s tempting to have 57 orgasms a day. But that would probably be both messy and emotionally paralyzing. I would rather not bust a nut while letting one out by accident at the gym, thank you very much. I would prefer some measure of control over my erotic outbursts.

Thus, I would rather fart every time I orgasm. Hell, I probably do that already anyway. I let it all out, like a balloon that’s been pricked in nine different places. Really pairs well with whatever look is on my face at the time. It lets everyone around know that sexytime is definitely OVER, which isn’t the worst thing. I got emails to check. Lifetime fartgasms for me, Josh.




I have a co-worker who uses the phrase “...done that a million times” WAY too liberally. But it got me thinking, is there anything that someone has actually done a million times? I’m not talking about breathing or blinking or anything involuntary that we all do many times every day. I’m talking about shit like picking your nose or tying your shoes or cracking your knuckles. Or maybe something like typing on a keyboard, number of key strokes, but that would be a whole other level probably approaching into the 100's of millions of times. I bet no one has ever picked their nose a million times.


Well, let’s crunch the numbers. The average life expectancy for an American is roughly 79 years old, which works out to 28,835 days. So, in order to do something a million times, you would have to do it about 35 times a day during that span. There are definitely activities that you can do that often, especially if you’re an obsessive type. You might send more than 35 text messages a day, enough to overcome not doing it during childhood. One dude on Twitter has tweeted over 37 million times, which strikes me as the most unhealthy thing possible for your mental health. Playing AFC North football would be better for your brain, frankly.

So yes, there are definite actions people have done a literal million times. I might be asking too much to pick your nose that many times, but I have DEFINITELY scratched my balls with that sort of alarming frequency. God only knows what percentage of my waking lifetime has been spent toying with my nutsack in between popping Pringles straight from the can.




What is it with people and the word “craft”? Craft beer, handcrafted pizza, craft shops. If I shit into a box and wrote “craft shit” on it white people would buy it AND think it’s awesome. Is it just me being a dick or is my gripe legit?


Restaurants and corporations use that word because it works. No one WANTS to think that the food they’re eating came from some dystopian animal mill where chickens are CRISPRed with cattle DNA and lacquered in 60 layers of radioactive preservatives. No, the whole farm-to-table spiel is based on the fantasy that your food was lovingly grown and raised by some small-town farmer who sung lullabies to it and then CRAFTED your dish with his bare hands, even when that isn’t the case, and even when it shouldn’t be the case (no one needs a craft Oreo…the mass market one is fine). It tastes better in your mind of you think of something as homemade and fussed over, which is why code words like “craft” and “hand-spun” and “cold-pressed” and “hand-pulled” and “small-batch” are splayed across everything now.

Like “organic,” those phrases are so ubiquitous now as to be meaningless. So if you hate seeing “craft” on a menu, do not fret. It’ll be replaced. Soon, we’re gonna have a whole new lexicon of foodie vocabulary for BIG FOOD to ruin. Like, some hole-in-the-wall fusion boulangerie in DC will pioneer “hand-milked” dolphin gelato, and that’ll get co-opted by Breyers within a week. And I will buy all of it.




Is it possible to watch one of these innumerable superhero movies without having to see ALL of the ones that came before it first?


Yeah I think it’s okay if you wanna see Thor: Ragnarok without watching the other Thors. I know that’s MY plan. If you know who the character is and what their power is, I think you more or less have all the information you need. You think I remember ANY of the plot of the first Avengers movie? Fuck and no, I don’t. I’m just there to see some fancy costumes and guns going PEW PEW PEW and everyone cracking one-liners. If you think context is all that important, you’re just a fanboy sucker.

Each comic movie is itself a comic book now, and you can pluck whichever one off the shelf you want. It’s freeing, really. In the age of prestige TV, I like knowing that I don’t have watch six other things to understand watching one thing. This is part of the reason that movie sequels aren’t really sequels anymore. It doesn’t behoove a studio to serialize their movie franchises and freeze out newcomers. That’s why they rarely bother to number sequels unless it’s a series WITHIN sequels (like the coming Avengers: Infinity War, which will be in two parts and which I will probably be too lazy to watch). It’s like Bond movies, where you can check in if you want but you can also opt out because you know there will ALWAYS be a next Bond movie. Nothing is all that essential, but that’s by design.


Except Star Wars. Every Star Wars movie is life and death to me and I’ll cut anyone who gets in my way of seeing them.



I’ve always been a pizza purist, going with either plain or pepperoni and mushrooms if I’m feeling frisky. Over the weekend I had a pizza with dressed arugula on top and man, that shit was fucking delicious. I’ve seen it around for a while, but just got around to trying it and now I feel like an idiot for missing out on it for so long. I know you’re a food guy; how do you feel about non-traditional pizza toppings? What WON’T you put on top of a pizza? What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten and enjoyed on a pizza?


Oh I’m all for weird pizzas. I definitely remember going to California Pizza Kitchen for the first time and being like, “Thai chicken? On a pizza?! This is outrageous!” But it tasted pretty good!

I think it’s fine to eat unorthodox toppings on a pizza so long as it’s what that pizza joint does best, you know? The reason you’re a pizza purist is because your average slice joint is probably gonna fuck up a burrata-and-sun-dried-tomato-pesto flatbread or whatever the fuck. But if you go to Pizzeria Beddia in Philly and they tell you that the roasted corn pizza is good, it’s probably REALLY fucking good. Ditto clams and bacon pizza in New Haven. You will not have pepperoni remorse if your nouveau pizza place was founded to serve you such strange, wonderful pies. I even had raw tuna on a CRAFT pizza once (in an upset, it was NOT at a Guy Fieri restaurant), and it was fine. Take stock of your pizzeria’s capabilities and order accordingly.




Modern football kickers all start their approach on an angle. Back in the 40s and 50s, most kickers approached their kicks straight on. This has me thinking, is there a change in technique in modern sports that could change the way that particular act is done in games? I’m not talking about developing a new kind of screwball or something. I’m talking softball style underhand pitching in baseball games. Granny shots from NBA free throw lines. Some crazy backhand no-look pick-off throw to first. Happy Gilmore tee shots. Is there a skill that can be totally remade in some way that will change the way a position is played? Or have decades of coaching and specialization brought us to the most efficient way to execute all acts in sports?


I dunno if there will ever be a Fosbury Flop 2.0…a kind of shocking DISRUPTOR that so fundamentally alters an entire sport that every else is forced to adopt it. I know I watched Little Big League and prayed that I would one day find some newfangled technique that allowed me to dominate a pro sport with otherwise limited skills and an ample beer gut, but chances are most everything there is to discover about playing technique has been discovered. Shooting free throws granny style is about the last frontier in this area, but apart from a few outliers like Canyon Barry, it’ll probably remain shunned because it looks dumb.

The real last frontier is in game strategy and not in physical mechanics. Last year the Rockets destroyed the record for attempted threes in a season and they’re on pace to destroy it yet again. Over HALF of Houston’s shots from the field are threes (54.9 percent). The next closest team, Miami, is so far behind as to be invisible (41.8 percent). That’s about as radical a shift in strategy as you’ll find in modern sports. That’s where the innovation is, not in the playing of the game but in the planning of it. Who knows? Maybe one day an NFL team will actually have the balls to never punt! LOL JK THEY’RE ALL SPINELESS TOADS.




What would happen if all the eggs in the world suddenly became hard boiled?


Email of the week!

I’m a big guy, trying to lose weight. As a result of knowing myself and having been on this roller coaster before, I know that one thing that helps me lose weight is shifting to a high fiber diet (lots of salad) and eating a lot of active cultures (fermented foods like pickles, yogurt and kimchi). Obviously, this diet is also likely to result in more loose stool than my previous diet of french fries and IPAs with 9% ABV.

So, today I’m in the work restroom for my after-lunch constitutional. I’m a little surprised that my daily business is a little more watery than usual. But no big deal, I’m checking Twitter and things resolve as usual. However, walking out of the restroom back into the hallway, I feel a little apres-poop fart building. Like an idiot, I think, “NBD I’ll just rip this one before I get back to my desk and smell up the homestead.” BLORP. Oh god, I’ve just shit myself in the hallway in the middle of a workday.

In the span of 30 seconds I take the following actions 1) clench butt cheeks to avoid making the damage worse; 2) do a stiff-legged walk right back into the bathroom. 3) lock myself into the stall, drop trou, and check the damage. Now, I’ve spent most of a decade reading Great Moments in Poop History, so even in my distress I am ready for this moment. That 15-second walk back into the stall is in super slo mo and I am planning my actions like a poop ninja. I’ll clean up as much as I can out of my boxers with TP and then wrap the boxers in TP and put them in the garbage. No one will see. 

So I get into the stall and drop trou and: THE BOXERS ARE CLEAN. Everything is clean. My iron ass has contained the considerable damage to skin contact only. I laugh gently to myself, clean up, triple wash my hands, and head back to work like nothing untoward has happened. I am the DB Cooper of shit accidents.


Well played, sir.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.

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