Olympic Trials: Georgia’s Luca Urlando Earns Top Seed in 200 Butterfly
With a heat-winning time of 1:55.21, rising sophomore Luca Urlando earned the top seed in Wednesday night’s 200-meter butterfly final, highlighting the third day of competition for the University of Georgia swimming team at the 2021 United States Olympic Swimming Team Trials at the CHI Health Center Arena.
Urlando’s mark tied with Louisville product Zach Harting for the top time in the semifinal round, following a seventh-place finish for Urlando in the morning prelims. Gunnar Bentz notched the fourth seed in the 200 fly final with a time of 1:55.42, while former teammate Jay Litherland earned the second alternate spot with a time of 1:57.65.
Expanding The Playoff Not For Everyone
While the proposal to expand the current 4 team playoff to 8 or 12 teams has been lauded by many writers and observers, no everyone is on board. Here are three reasons to oppose the expanded playoff from Team Speed Kills:
- Parity – Of the 28 teams selected over the seven years of the College Football Playoff, 20 of those bids have gone to just four teams: Alabama and Clemson with six each, Ohio State with four, and Oklahoma with four, though they’ve yet to win a playoff game. Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State are responsible for six CFP National Championships, the lone outlier being the historic 2019 LSU Tigers team. On top of that, only twice has a four seed even won a game in the CFP; Ohio State in the inaugural playoff and Alabama in the 2017 season. Both went on to win National Championships. The other five years? Four seeds have lost by an average of 20 points and have never held a lead going into the half. An expansion to 12 does nothing to really change the stranglehold these three juggernauts hold on college football.
- The Group of 5 would be doomed… Again – Even in a COVID-riddled year, a 6-0 Ohio State team made the Playoff while Coastal drew Liberty in the Cure Bowl. The respect is not there, and while it sounds harsh, it’s rightfully so. It’s worth remembering that Coastal lost that Cure Bowl to Liberty. Those losses go a long way in stacking up a résumé against the non-American Conference Group of 5s. Coastal climbed spots last year because it didn’t matter. We saw what the committee did to not just Cincinnati, but even the unbeaten UCF teams in years prior. They will just do the same with most of its group-of-five schools especially if there’s no set spot guaranteed for an at-large group-of-five team. An expansion will only help two-loss power-five teams and make little difference for the group-of-five conferences.
- Injuries – This is a very cut-and-dry point. For collegiate athletes, asking them to possibly play a similar 16 to 17 game season such as the NFL is beyond careless.
Let’s not forget that there are plenty of folks who are looking forward to the expanded playoff. Based on online comments, many UGA fans are pleased. If Georgia’s success under Kirby Smart continues, the Bulldogs should make the playoffs most years after the expansion. The AJC adds reasons to rejoice:
1. More interest
College football is a sport of passion, and its unique bowl nature served it well for decades and ensured fans of various teams stay engaged throughout the postseason.
The introduction of the four-team CFP in 2014 and New Year’s Six bowl rotation, however, minimized the bowl system that has been in place.
Many fans, and more importantly, some players, don’t see the same value in the bowls if they aren’t part of the College Football Playoff.
2. More teams
College football has 130 teams at the FBS level spanning from coast to coast and beyond to Hawaii. The programs’ exposure has never been better with streaming services available for most all games not aired by the major cable networks.
By adding more teams to the playoffs there will be better representation from the 10 different conferences and independents spread out across different regions, some that have been missing out. The Pac-12, for example, has not had a team make the CFP since Washington’s appearance in 2016.
3. More fairness
One of the bigger concerns raised when the four-team College Football Playoff was first introduced in 2014 was the notion it might dilute the importance of the regular season.
Indeed, there was a time when every game was considered a playoff of sorts, teams striving for perfect seasons that would keep them in the national championship conversation.
But as time passed and the number of games on the schedule increased, the concept and practicality of simply rewarding the top unbeaten or one-loss teams waned. The schedule strengths were not equal in strength from one league to the next.
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