College football regular-season action is in the books, so we decided to fire up the Tweetbag to tackle the burning topics on your mind this season, from top pro prospects to the best teams in the sport.
Feel free to submit your questions to @BryanDFischer on Twitter each Monday or early Tuesday morning to get them answered every week. Without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
We haven't even played a semifinal game and there are already (loud) calls for the College Football Playoff to expand. This isn't a surprise and even those that came up with the current system -- such as ACC commissioner John Swofford -- think eight teams would be ideal for the sport.
From what I've been told, change won't happen quickly when it comes to expansion. The system and television partner ESPN have a 12-year contract and most involved want to see at least a full rotation among the bowl semifinals, if not two. That's at least six seasons. There could be tweaks along the way, but I think we're stuck at four teams until 2020-2021 at least. After that, with some new blood at the commissioner level and calls for even more revenue, they'll expand to eight. The six-team format with byes is an interesting idea, but I think we'll be going directly from four to eight with the quarterfinals at the home site of the top seeds.
Yes, the Big 12 was the odd man out of the playoff this season, but that won't prompt massive changes. The league won't overreact and rush to add members just so it can stage a title game. The current schools won't take a dime less in television money, so splitting the pie even more isn't going to happen. It seems far more likely that the league will condense its regular season (taking away a bye) and adding an end-of-season title game in case there is a tie at the end of the year. Even then, I don't think it will happen unless the Big 12 goes three or four years without a berth in the playoff.
Plus, who adds that much value to the league? BYU makes sense from a brand standpoint, but that would stretch the travel of the league even more for Big 12 members who already have to make the long trip to Morgantown to play West Virginia. Boise State would bring a strong football program and maybe a travel partner for BYU but seems an unlikely fit. Former SWC members like Houston, Rice or SMU don't add any new media markets and are all fairly small schools anyway. Cincinnati will be explored, but going back to the value equation, they won't force a massive television contract renegotiation.
At this point, the Big 12 will probably stay as is.
I doubt the Bears add anybody, as hardly any school has an opening for next season. I know a lot of folks were clamoring for them to schedule Tennessee, which had a recent opening thanks to the departure of UAB, but the Vols just scheduled Bowling Green and there was no way they would be playing both Baylor and Oklahoma in the same non-conference schedule.
Maybe the Bears could reach out to former Big 12 foe Missouri and make something work at a neutral site or even travel to Faurot Field. It would be fantastic to see Baylor travel and play Miami the second week of the season, too. I doubt they add anybody, but maybe athletic director Ian McCaw responds to all the pressure and makes something work. Either way, the Bears need to upgrade the schedule and do it quickly.
I agree that Boykin should have been invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony given the season he's had, along with Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett. The issue is the Heisman Trust only gives folks three spots on their ballots, and I would assume that the point totals for finalists Marcus Mariota, Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper had such a big gap between them and everybody else that nobody else had the numbers to justify an invitation.
I wouldn't be surprised if Barrett and Boykin finish in the top five in voting, however. Either way, both will be back next year, and the TCU star in particular (given uncertainties at Ohio State with the quarterback situation) should be considered one of the favorites to win the trophy in 2015.
As much as I'm looking forward to the playoff semifinal games and terrific New Year's six bowl games, I love bowl season for the underrated matchups between lower-level programs because they're often the most entertaining.
My colleague Mike Huguenin has ranked all of the bowls, but to answer the question, the top game I'm looking forward to is the Boca Raton Bowl between MAC champion Northern Illinois and CUSA darling Marshall. I wouldn't sleep on the GoDaddy Bowl between Toledo and Arkansas State either, along with a sneaky good game between Central Michigan and Western Kentucky at the Bahamas Bowl. Finally, I'll try to catch the Potato Bowl between Western Michigan and Air Force. Some of these games will definitely be better than a few Power Five matchups in mid-tier bowls.