In today’s Fact or Fiction national columnist Mike Farrell looks at three big recent topics in college football and decides whether each statement is indeed FACT or if it’s FICTION.
1. The SEC East is the weakest division in the Power Five.
FICTION. ESPN’s Heather Dinich made a splash this past week on the Paul Finebaum Show by saying that the SEC East is one of the weakest divisions in college football and that she doesn’t have Florida in her Top 25.
While the Gators are replacing a ton of talent on offense, their defense should be enough to make them a Top 25 team and Georgia has to be considered a favorite for the national title. And what Dinich is missing, in my opinion, is how good Kentucky and Missouri can be. I’d take the SEC East over the Pac-12 South and probably the ACC Coastal as there is no dominant surefire playoff team in either.
2. North Carolina players should favor an expanded college football playoff to 12 teams.
FACT. It came out last week that some North Carolina players didn’t want the College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams and preferred six to eight. But with the Tar Heels far from beating Clemson because of their porous defense, perhaps they need to rethink things. With Sam Howell at quarterback and more young talent added to the defense from a great 2021 recruiting class, North Carolina has a chance to win its division this year. However, the Heels will likely slam head first into Clemson in the ACC title game and be eliminated from the four-team playoff if they already aren’t based on wins and losses.
We could see this scenario play out many times over the next many seasons. But a loss to Clemson, as happened in 2015, could still mean life for the Heels in a 12-team playoff format. Imagine if that 2015 team, which lost 45-37 in the ACC title game, had another shot as perhaps a No. 9 or 10 seed? They would have been dangerous. Yes, they lost a high-scoring bowl game to Baylor but you never know with playoff matchups.
Don’t turn your heads away from any playoff chance, fellas.
3. Phil Knight will make Oregon beyond dangerous with NIL.
FACT. Look at Kayvon Thibodeaux and the deal he already struck with the Nike founder and Oregon booster for an NFT that is worth more than six figures to the future first-rounder. That’s only the beginning. One of the things the NCAA has left wide open is the determination of “pay for play” as the guidelines are beyond vague.
Phil Knight, a massive and well known booster, can partner with any Oregon players for similar deals and it will be a huge draw for the football team especially. It’s not as easy as Mario Cristobal makes it look to lure players to the Pacific Northwest but it could get easier now.