Jay Greeson: 5-at-10: College football expansion, Tony Gwynn's greatness and NBA's unlikely MVP

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Jun. 9—CFP expansion

It has always been when and never if.

That's the word that has always started the questions about expanding the college football playoff field from its current field of four teams.

More means, well, more.

More money, first and foremost. And really, that's the only more that counts.

Because it also will be more games for players.

More frustration for fans. More pressure on coaches. More expense for programs to compete — and in turn more expense for boosters and season-ticket holders.

More, more, more.

Dennis Dodd with CBSsports.com is reporting that the momentum is turning toward a 12-team playoff field rather than eight.

I don't like 12 any more or less than my indifference to the once-rumored notion of a six-team playoff.

But 12 makes more sense, especially if you consider the wishes and wants of the folks making the decisions.

First, we' go back to the original more, and everyone in that room wants more money. Period. They need it actually, because the folks running college sports spend buckets of moola quicker than a Merchant Marine with a pocket full of $100s on a three-day leave in Bangkok.

Auburn paid Gus more than $20 million to go coach UCF. How's that working out?

And with that knowledge, the path to 12 makes sense.

First, all of the Power Five champs will be invited. It makes sense, even if the Pac-12 winner is a double-digit deed most years. If you only go to eight, though, those five and the rogue Notre Dame entry limit the at-large bids for teams that actually would deserve a spot.

Next, the little guys are going to want a seat at the table. While the Power 5 have the sharing habits of an only child born on third and thinking he hit a triple, there is a reasonable argument to keep the Group of Five around.

The help with scheduling because they do not need home-and-homes. Plus, the underdog factor is important to TV.

The Group of Five, though, would not be at the table if there were only eight seats. That ticket would be too pricey.

If you had an eight-team field and included all Power Five champs, Notre Dame and a Group of Five wannabe, well that leaves just one at-large, and it's hard to see the SEC — which reportedly and understandably wants more at-large bids — signing off on that, you know?


A day for the ages

Forty years ago was a good day for Tony Gwynn.

Strike that. June 9, 1981 was a great day for Tony Gwynn.

In the afternoon, the then-San Diego State Aztec was drafted in the third round by the San Diego Padres. That night, Gwynn was drafted in the 10th round by the San Diego Clippers.

Yeah, there have been multiple multiple-sport stars, from the infamous one-named dudes like Deion to Bo to great competitors like Chuck Connors back in the day to Brian Jordan.

But getting your name called twice in two professional drafts on the same day? That's pretty cool.

But Tony Gwynn made the cool stat line seem routine. In fact, Gwynn's skills with a bat in his hand clearly made it an easy choice which San Diego team he should join and why he's enshrined in Cooperstown.

> Gwynn retired with a .338 average, which ranks 17th all-time. In fact, Gwynn would have to go 0-for-1,183 to have his career average dip under .300;

> Only one player had more consecutive seasons with an average of at least .300 than Gwynn's 18 straight from 1983 to 2000, and that was some dude named Ty Cobb, who had 23 in a row;

> Gwynn struck out three times in a game exactly once in his major league career. For comparison, 13 players struck out three times last night;

> Gwynn's worst season in terms of Ks was 40; there were 27 whiffs in the White Sox-Blue Jays game last night;

> Gwynn had 229 at-bats against Greg Maddux (94 ABs) and Pedro Martinez (135 ABs) and struck out as many times against those dudes as I have — bagel;

In today's swing-hard, hit-homers, K-a-bunch mindset, I wonder how we would view Gwynn. I also wonder if he could hit .420 with the shifts and analytics of today's game.

Playoff puzzlers

OK, we have latched on to the Hawks. In part because of Mader lighting the lamp and showing us the Hawks' excellent run since changing coach.

In part because the Atlanta bunch is as close to a local NBA team as we'll ever have. (Side note: In the house I grew up in Smyrna, former Hawks forward Cliff Livingston lived three doors down on the right. Julia Roberts bought her momma a house about a quarter mile down the street too. We always wanted to knock on Livingston's door to see if he wanted to play some pick-up ball, but we chickened out.)

Now, don't mince my words or my feelings. I'm 100% team Luka, and Cam Reddish is going to have to be a multiple-time all-star to make the Trae-for-Luka deal even remotely close. Basic math: Trae will be a multiple time All-Star, which is good, but those dudes are findable; Luka will be a multiple time MVP, and those dudes are franchise-defining.

Last night the Hawks had a very predictable flat performance in Game 2. Hey, the Hawks grabbed Game 1 and home-floor advantage over the top-seeded 76ers. A game snoozer was relatively easy pickings. (Sorry, I guess I could have shared that pick beforehand. Also, had a little scratch on Bryce Harper homering. CHA-ching at +310, and know this: When Drew Smyly takes the mound for the Braves, I will be finding an opposing hitter to wager on to go deep.)

Here are some other NBA observations:

> We said last week that Nikola Jokic at pick 41 is the NBA version of Tom Brady in terms of the best draft pick ever. Here's more proof: After being name the MVP last night, Jokic became not only the non-first-round pick to be given the league's top honor, but the first player not picked in the top 15 to win the MVP in the modern era;

> Ty Lue looks overmatched on the sidelines for the Clippers;

> Does Kawhi smile? Does he have teeth?

> Joel Embiid's old man, church-league post-up game is nice;

> John Collins is going to get overpaid by someone this offseason, and Mader, you better pray it's not the Hawks;

> Speaking of Jokic, when the last three MVPs are named Jokic and Antetokounmpo and the best player on the planet is named Doncic, is basketball right behind soccer in terms of being the most global game around?


This and that

— Speaking of the college football player, notice how we are moving toward expansion a lot more quickly than we are moving toward any type of announcement or unified solution on NIL legislation, which will become state law in at least five states on July 1? Mark Emmert should wear a mask when he cashes his paycheck.

— Thought this was a cool story, as Braves reliever Josh Tomlin saw a kid at a sporting good story wearing his jersey, talked the kid up and bought him a glove. Man, kindness is cool, gang.

— It's really not that hard to be likable, you know. Take Phil Mickelson, who is among the most arrogant people on the planet, but by golly, he's charismatic. Here's FIGJAM — his 'alleged' behind-the-scenes nickname on Tour, which is an acronym for "(Bleep) I'm Good, Just Ask Me" — taking to social media and asking the USGA to give his now-no-longer-needed US Open exemption to Rickie Fowler.

— Side note: Fowler is the poster child of how the excess and fortunes of the modern athlete will make so many great players forgettable because of the money. If you're Rickie, it becomes really easy to ask if you really want to spend your 30s hitting a million 9-irons from dawn to dusk while you already have a nine-figure bank account?

— So, new mayor Tim Kelly releases his reshaped city org chart a day after his most high profile employee — police chief David Roddy — retires. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Nope, nothing to see here. Nothing at all.

— You know the rules. Here's TFP sports editor and prep sports guru Stephen Hargis on the full-speed spinning of the area high school football coaching carousel.

— Thought this was interesting. The Sports Emmys were announced late Tuesday night and TNT had more winners (seven) than ESPN, which had six. Ernie Johnson won for best studio host (well-deserved) and Joe Buck won for best play-by-play (uh, no). John Smoltz won for best sports event analyst and Nickelodeon won for best playoff coverage for the Bears-Saints NFC Wild Card game that was catered to kids.

Today's questions

So which way Wednesday starts this way:

Which is better, an eight-, 12- or 16-team college football playoff?

Which word best describes Tony Gwynn as a hitter?

Which sports play-by-play guy should have won the Sports Emmy?

As for today, beyond being Tony Gwynn Appreciation Day, let's review.

Three very fine actors celebrate birthdays today as Johnny Depp (who is 58), Natalie Portman (40) and Michael J Fox (60) were born on June 9.

Donald Duck made his debut on this day in 1934.

It's also 6/9, which assuredly will make Rob Gronkowski giggle.

And it's National Earl Day. Rushmore of Earl? Go, and be kind today.

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