Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Dec 2010

BCS' Hancock: Yet Again, College Football's BCS Works

I've never felt more like a politician than when it comes to talk of a college football playoff -- I unabashedly play both sides. I defend playoffs to anti-playoff types (and yes, they do exist), and I defend the bowl system and two-team championship method to pro-playoff types.

The simple fact is, I'm easy to please, and I understand both points of view. I know exactly why people want a playoff, and I know without a doubt that I would enjoy the hell out of one. I think a Plus One would be a wonderful compromise, though curmudgeonly Big Ten commish Jim Delany is exactly right -- if people got a Plus One, they would immediately begin the clamor for more, so there is almost no point. I think an eight-team playoff is risky, simply because the selection criteria would get really messy, but I think a 16-team playoff would be a sight to behold. Clearly I get the pro-playoff argument, as I made one of my own last year.

But I also get why people wouldn't want a playoff. For one thing, why change what is working? College football gets more popular every single year despite what is truly becoming an annoying level of playoff talk (you can't even preview an individual bowl game without it devolving into a "Why should we care? Bowls are stupid," exchange), and while looking for tweaks is always a good thing, it is rarely smart business to drastically change what is already working. Besides, while March Madness is obviously wonderful, it's okay to be different.

Plus, at least in theory, I love the "every game matters" concept. We all know that every game doesn't truly matter, of course. Just ask 2010 TCU, who did everything they possibly could to prove themselves worthy of a title shot and still didn't get one, or 2007 LSU, who cross the dreaded two-loss barrier and still got to play for (and win) the title. Really, it's "as many games as possible matter," but for the most part, I am okay with the intent behind that. I love that a four-loss team can't win the national title.

A few weeks ago, ESPN's great Ivan Maisel wrote a piece for the Dot Com talking about how teams like Texas A&M were getting hot in November, but they had nothing to play for because there is no playoff. All I could think was, "…and?" I love that only teams who are actually good the entire season (despite a possible slip-up) have a shot at the top prize, and that would likely get lost with a 16-team playoff (just look at this year's FCS playoff, where five four-loss teams entered the round of 16). A&M's hot streak bumped them all the way up to the Cotton Bowl, which is a great prize in and of itself, but they suffered a three-game losing streak this year -- I have no problem with that eliminating them from the title race.

There are legitimate arguments for keeping the current system in place, but yesterday's egregious USA Today column from BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock didn't actually touch on any of them. Instead, it just infuriated me.

If this were the shady system that some people claim, how could Boise State have been only inches away? And if the system were designed to shut out schools from the so-called non-power conferences, how could TCU — undefeated and No. 3 in the BCS rankings — play in the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl?

Boise State was not "only inches away" -- they were inches away from the No. 3 ranking and a Rose Bowl bid. They still would not have touched the national title game. And while I cannot wait to see TCU taking on Wisconsin (if nothing else, it will go a long way toward proving if they would have truly had a shot at Oregon or Auburn in the big game), I'm pretty sure they would have still preferred a shot at the national title over a Rose Bowl slot.

As this season proves, outstanding teams can play in BCS bowls, including the national championship game, no matter what conference they're in.

Absolutely. Outstanding teams like … Connecticut, currently ranked 51st in F/+. I know why you're patting yourself on the back about TCU, and I have no problem with the Big East having an automatic bid in the end, but this really isn't the best year for such an argument.

Sure, I understand that many football fans want an NFL-style playoff instead. I know that they want to fill out a bracket, and that they want to watch more college football in December. They want their favorite team to have a slot in that bracket.

And they want every team that deserves a shot at the national title … to have a shot at the national title. But we're just going to ignore that argument, huh?

Millions of football fans this year tuned in to watch the season-opening game between Boise State and Virginia Tech because there was so much on the line —starting early in September. If there were a playoff, the Alabama-Auburn game wouldn't have been as important nationally, or as dramatic.

I agree that there would have been less on the line in those games, but there would have still been plenty on the line. Boise would have possibly been playing for a top seed and a home playoff game, and the result of Auburn-Alabama would have possibly eliminated Alabama from the national title race.

And then, of course, there is this:

A playoff also would mean the end of America's bowl tradition as we know it. As Rick Baker, president of the Cotton Bowl, said, "A playoff system would ruin the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."

No. No, no, no, no, no. Read the Perfect Playoff column I linked at the top. There are so many possible ways to continue great bowl matchups, and it would not create too much of a diversion from students' current schedules. First-round playoff losers end up in the bowl pool -- bang, fixed. I've seen people try to argue that fans would be demoralized after their team lost in the playoffs, and they might not travel well. Or the team itself would not be hyped for a bowl after losing. Guess what: this already happens. Missouri lost a shot at the national title in the 2007 Big 12 Championship; their fans still snapped up a ton of Cotton Bowl tickets, and their team still romped over Arkansas on January 1. Big bowls are rewards for good seasons, and that wouldn't change with the right playoff system.

(And if you want to make a pro-fan, anti-playoff argument, let's talk about whether fans would be able to travel to, potentially, two playoff games and a bowl game. Or four playoff games. There are serious arguments to be made there, but again, Hancock didn't make them. And while I agree that four playoff games could potentially cause harm to the "student" portion of "student-athletes," until they dump the playoff structure from every single other level of college football, that argument cannot fly.)

I almost didn't write anything about this. Others have already executed perfectly strong (and in some cases, much more enjoyable) Hancock takedowns. But I really, really wanted to point out the bowl issue. Bowls don't have to die. I want to keep the bowl structure in place at all costs … and yet, I am still okay with the thought of a playoff. This apparently would make Bill Hancock's head explode.

The bottom line is that, again, I am easy to please. I love college football exactly as it is, with all of its glorious inconsistencies, and if it never deviates from its current system, I will love it all the same. But I am honest enough with myself to know that I would enjoy a playoff too. And at this point, I am so completely sick of the debate that I wish it would just go ahead and happen already. Both sides of the argument can be so disingenuous in their arguments … that it really isn't worth arguing anymore.

(And yet, I just wrote 1,400 words about it. This is why the argument will never die.)

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 10 Dec 2010

91 comments, Last at 04 Jan 2011, 3:46pm by tuluse

Comments

1
by DavidL :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 9:08am

if nothing else, it will go a long way toward proving if they would have truly had a shot at Oregon or Auburn in the big game

And this, in a nutshell, is what I hate about the BCS. An underdog that does everything right, dominates its schedule, lands a top BCS bowl slot and dominates that game too gets rewarded with "hey, looks like you guys really would have stood a chance in the title game! Way to go!" and then the season's over. I'm sure it's very comforting that in hindsight the league totally saw them as title-worthy.

17
by JIPanick :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:59am

If TCU wins their bowl game, I will recognize them as national champions to the exclusion of the Auburn/Oregon winner.

That would be, in my book, the 4th championship in 5 years for Boise State plus the MWC.

2
by joepinion (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 9:43am

To me, needing a playoff is not about whether the BCS "got it right" or whether every game matters, it's about objectivity.

Right now, all sports except judged individual sports (gymnastics, figure skating, etc) are objective. We don't chase after the idea of the "best teams," because there is no such thing. It's a myth. Instead, we crown a champion based on who wins games at the end of the year. The champion may or may not be the "best team," but isn't such a thing about as real as Santa?

in FBS college football, the top 10 teams have only had 4 games between each other (Aub-Ark, Ore-Stan, Wis-OSU, Wis-MSU) out of a possible 45. So it's totally subjective to say this or that team deserves to go--these teams HAVEN'T PLAYED EACH OTHER. So the arguments about "who's the best" aren't fun to me, they're moot. We're never going to find out on the field who is actually better.

So if Wisconsin dominates TCU, who's to say they're not better than Oregon and Auburn? The three teams had ZERO COMMON GAMES all year. You can argue a certain way but you'll never know.

Of course, a 4- or 8- team playoff doesn't solve this problem. The only true objective system would be BCS conference champions getting an automatic playoff spot, plus a couple wild cards. We all know that will never happen, so I guess we might as well stop watching college football, or quit complaining. Our only real hope is the super-conferences.

4
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 10:59am

I'd actually prefer to go back to the system before the BCS, before the bowl coalitions. Have the Big Ten champ play the Pac 12 champ in the Rose Bowl every year. Have the Big 12 go to the Orange Bowl every year, and the SEC champ to the Sugar Bowl. Just end the pretense that this is about selecting a champion, and something more than a series of marketing events centered around football games.

6
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:08am

Honestly, I've never understood the "go back to the old system" argument. Go back to the system where we didn't even have a "No. 1 vs No. 2" matchup at the end of the year? Where Auburn would be playing somebody like Ohio State or Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl while Oregon played in the Rose, without a shot at the title unless Auburn lost? How is that better? I understand people hating the BCS because it's not a playoff, but it is still a HUGE step forward from what we had before it.

7
by DavidL :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:11am

Because if you don't agree with the basic premise that (a) the BCS can reliably determine the #1 and #2 teams in the country; and (b) having them play each other after a month off from football provides a good determination of who's the better team, then it doesn't solve anything - it just pretends to do so, very loudly.

9
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:24am

But it's still better than a) not even trying to pit No. 1 vs No. 2, and b) those teams playing other teams after a month off, right?

11
by Sophandros :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:30am

The old system was more honest.

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Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

18
by DavidL :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:10pm

Yeah, that's about it. In the old system, pre-title-game, we didn't have to hear "We don't need a playoff! We do decide the championship on the field!"

19
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:11pm

Nothing about college football has ever been that honest.

28
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:46pm

Yeah, that's the point. The old way of doing things had no false pretenses about pitting the two best teams against, each other, in an effort to select a champion. It was merely a system which said "Here are a bunch of exhibition games, and we will hold a vote afterwords, on par with a bunch of drunks arguing in a bar." Now we get this veneer of utter nonsense about Number 1 versus Number 2, and then just arbitrarily say that the winner of that game is the champion. If we're going to be arbitrary, I'd prefer the arbitrary nature of the drunks holding a vote after the exhibition gamese, as opposed to the drunks holding a vote in December, and then pretending that their selection of number 1 and number 2, and thus the "champion", is any more valid.

Actually, I'd prefer we go back to the pre 1961 system, when the "national champ" was picked before the exhibition games. Or hell, just pick the "the national champion" in late August, and we can forget the whole argument as we enjoy the games during the season.

More seriously, Bill, I do think you are in error about how well these guys are doing running their business They are kinda' like General Motors in 1955; the terrain is so favorable to them right now that they can't screw it up short term, but long term they are leaving huge piles of money on the table. There is so much demand for content on television, and the NFL has driven the demand for football generally to such a high point, that the BCS Conferences can't help but reap record revenues. I'd argue, however, that the BCS system is serving the Big Ten and SEC just as poorly as the Moutintain West. These guys are letting third parties, the Bowl Committees, to obtain huge rents, while adding little in value. Meanwhile, they are also forgoing huge December paydays which only drive the January paydays ever higher. Put it this way; if Dick Ebersol was commissioner of college football, this ain't how they would be doing things.

38
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 1:47pm

I definitely agree that they're leaving money on the table, and it's hard to completely understand why (other than bowl lobbyists, I guess). What I meant was that, in general, people are resistant to change, and if the current way is successful, they're likely to want to stick with that over the unknown, even if the unknown seems great. I understand the logic even if I don't share the logic.

62
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 7:25pm

Because the money's a joke.

Seriously, it's nothing. The BCS currently earns Ohio State ~$2M or so a year. Whoop de freaking doo. They make over 10 times that from the Big Ten network. Hell, they probably pull that in in one game at home.

I doubt a playoff would do more than increase it by maybe what, 50%? This is still nothing. And the logistics of setting up a playoff, from the school's perspective, probably cost more than that.

55
by Chappy (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 5:33pm

I think you are probably right that the bowls are rent seeking, but I don't know that they don't add value. I suspect that, like most people the ADs and colleges are risk averse and appreciate the certainty that bowls provide. It's no coincidence that Alabama and Mich. St. are playing in the most lucrative non-BCS bowl. Sure, the SEC and Big Ten could conspire to arrange a game separately and bypass the bowls, but then they assume all the risk when they can just settle for the most lucrative standing payout.

8
by Eddo :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:14am

I agree with you, Bill. Whenever I hear a complaint to back to the old way, all I can think is the cliche, "Don't let the best be the enemy of the better."

16
by Mort (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:51am

I would rather go back to the old system because then at least most of the bowls would be on Jan. 1st. Setting up three TVs in my living room, throwing a party, and eating nachos while schizophrenically watched all three games was awesome.

I don't bother with the college bowls--or college football in general--because they took away my favorite day of the year and gave me nothing valuable (an awesome playoff) to replace it with.

21
by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:14pm

I completely agree. My dad would bring his bedroom TV into the living room so that we could watch two games simultaneously. It was the only time we got to eat all of our meals from the coffee table while sitting on the couch (or floor when I was very young). It is to a largee extent what hooked me on college football.

51
by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 4:48pm

I agree. I wonder what the matchups would be under the old system. Who would select TCU, even at #3.

I think it would be:
Rose - Oregon (2) vs. (9) Michigan State
Orange - Oklahoma (7) vs. (6) Ohio State
Sugar - Auburn (1) vs. (5) Wisconsin
Cotton - TCU (3) vs. Notre Dame
Fiesta - Stanford (4) v. (8) Arkansas
(Alternate reality where the SWC still exists - They ALWAYS selected Notre Dame)

With conferences as they exist today:
Rose - Oregon (2) vs. (9) Michigan State
Orange - Oklahoma (7) vs. (6) Ohio State
Sugar - Auburn (1) vs. (5) Wisconsin
Fiesta - TCU (3) v. (4) Stanford
Cotton - Arkansas (3) vs. (13) Virginia Tech

That would have been a GREAT New Years Day!

54
by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 5:15pm

Actually, without the BCS constraints, I bet Jerry Jones and the Cotton Bowl throw a BOATLOAD of cash at TCU. So I actually think it would have been:

Rose - Oregon (2) vs. (9) Michigan State
Orange - Oklahoma (7) vs. (6) Ohio State
Sugar - Auburn (1) vs. (5) Wisconsin
Cotton - TCU (3) v. (4) Stanford
Fiesta - Arkansas (8) vs. (13) Virginia Tech

Or maybe (if I recall the times correctly):
11AM Cotton - Arkansas (8) vs. (13) Virginia Tech
1PM Fiesta - Stanford (4) vs. (6) Ohio State
4PM Rose - Oregon (2) vs. (5) Wisconsin
8PM Orange - Oklahoma (7) vs. (9) Michigan State
8PM Sugar - Auburn (1) vs. (3) TCU

All on New Years Day! That would have been fantastic.

56
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 5:59pm

I don't think it would have changed the match-ups at all but if you are going old style you need to get rid of the BCS rankings and go back the AP. :) So Mich State is 7, Wisconsin is 4, Stanford is 5, Va Tech is 12, Oklahoma is 9. At least I think they always used the AP poll and not the coaches poll (which has been around since what, 1950 and the AP started in 34, but there wasn't in 35 and then from 36 on there has been one if I remember my history right (too lazy to google-fu it right now)

But yes, that line up would have been awesome. :)

72
by Kibbles :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 3:40am

You're absolutely right. Playoffs are great, and they're far more objective than what currently exists in college football. I absolutely love playoffs, and they have their own unique excitement that cannot be matched by anything else in the sporting universe.

You know what, though? There are a lot of playoffs already. You said it yourself- every sport except for the judged individual sports features a playoff. You've got best of 7s in MLB, NBA, and NHL. You've got single elimination in college basketball and tennis. You've got the college world series, which alternates between 4-team round robins and 2-team "best of 3s" in a wacky and unique manner. There are a ton of playoff systems already. Why do we need one more?

There are few things in this world that I like better than a nice, juicy New York strip served medium rare. No fancy seasonings or sauces- a little bit of salt, a little bit of pepper, a fork, and a knife. That's my idea of heaven right there. I could eat that 6 days a week for the rest of my life... but from time to time, I still just feel like a nice, cheap burger. Do I like burgers better than steak? No, of course not... but right now I've already got all the steak I can possibly stand, so I'm a little bit resistant to any suggestions that we change burger night to steak night.

Playoff proponents already have playoffs. They have dozens of playoffs. In the meantime, how about we leave one of the few truly unique postseasons alone and appreciate it for what it is instead of crying about what it's not?

79
by Solomon :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 4:09pm

That is what I used to love about the MLB postseason before 1994. You had four division winners and no wild cards. In 1993, the S.F. Giants won 103 games -- and missed the playoffs! They fell one game short of the Braves on the last day of the season. Today, they would be a wild card team.

I always hated that Selig helped usher in wild cards and expanded playoffs to make MLB more like the NBA. In the early years of expanded playoffs, some of the division series aired on networks such as ABC Family (?!).

Enough about baseball. I can see both sides of the college football playoff debate, and I could live with a plus-one system. If a playoff happens, I hope only conference champions are invited. It would be a shame to mess up the Rose Bowl, though.

3
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 10:26am

People who operate cartels are honest with their customers about as frequently as The Hesiman trophy voters choose the most outstanding college football player; there is about a 20% chance you'll get the truth when these jerks open their mouths.

5
by wr (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:01am

Exactly. The BCS exists for only one purpose - to make sure the BCS conferences
maximize their income.

30
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:54pm

The irony is that they manage to eff that up beyond recognition as well. This is not unusual for cartels; in their effort to control the division of the pie, they frequently fail to make the pie anywhere close to as large as it could be. This is masked sonewaht by in this case because their Sunday competitor has driven demand for the general product to such a sky-high level that the Saturday cartel, as poor as some of their decisions are, still reaps record revenues.

61
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 7:22pm

The AQ conferences would've made more money with the setup before the Bowl Alliance, and they altered the non-AQ automatic berth conditions in ~2005 to stop any Congressional concern. They flat out give money from the BCS to the FCS conferences, and to the two military independents.

The BCS exists for exactly one purpose: to make Congress happy enough about the way college football is set up that they don't blow the whole thing up.

10
by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:27am

The problem is the NCAA Tournamentification of sports. Sports fans love the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It has become a wildly successful and profitable venture for the NCAA, television networks and college athletics. Therefore, all of the other sports leagues look at it and say "Maybe we should try to become like the NCAA tournament." To that I have one response: "For the love of God, NO!!!" There is no reason why all sports must be like the NCAA tournament. College football is wonderful because every game is a playoff. How many casual fans watch college basketball in December or January? Why should they? With 68 teams in the big dance, an individual game in December has little impact. Baseball has not increased viewership since it expanded the baseball playoffs 15 years ago. The NBA is irrelevant until April because of its expanded playoffs.

Playoffs were created to break ties between teams who finished the regular season with identical records. The thrust was that you had to have the best record in your league/division/conference to be declared champion. The NFL divided its league into two conferences for standardization of scheduling and limiting of travel. For almost 50 years, a team had to win the conference to be in the championship game. For over 70 years, a baseball team had to win their league to be in the World Series. For over 90 years, a baseball team had to at least win their division to have a shot at the championship.

More sports leagues should take a cue from the FBS and limit playoff teams to those who actually WIN SOMETHING after all of those regular season games. I also fear that the addition of a plus one will send the FBS down the slippery slope toward the NCAA Football Tournament. When that occurs, you can wake me in December. I'll need to find something else to occupy my time in the early fall.

14
by Rikki (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:47am

On a related note: I was somewhat amused by the bracket episode of How I Met Your Mother when Future Ted said (paraphrased): "Back in our 20s, your uncle Marshall and I were really into college basketball".

Now I realize that the writers didn't mean to imply that they were analyzing the regessed perimeter shooting of a CSU Northridge - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo game in November, but to a serious sports fan it sounds that way.

29
by joepinion (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:48pm

The old bait and switch. NOBODY is calling for the NCAA basketball tournament to be transferred to football. We're talking 4, 6, 8, or 16 teams (I do see 16 as a stretch but it would never happen anyway). So the comparison is better to MLB or the NFL.

39
by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 2:17pm

The point is that expanding the BCS into playoffs will lead to ridiculousness like the NCAA tournament, NBA, MLB, and NFL playoffs.

For example: 5 or 6 teams from the Big East and ACC make the NCAA tournament every year. What is the point of the regular season or conference tourament when the top 5 teams can win the championship. Every year the NFL has 4 teams that did not win their division compete for the championship. When the Giants (a wild-card) won in 2007, they got to play a Cowboys team that beat them twice during the regular season. Why should any team that lost twice during the regular season and had THREE less wins get a third shot during the playoffs. It's completely ridiculous.

Several years ago, Ohio State and Michigan were both undefeated entering the last game of the season. IIRC Michigan lost, but was still fourth in the BCS. A plus one would have given them an undeserved second shot at the title.

The NCAA tournament makes us immune to how crazy it is to let teams that did not win their conference or division compete for a championship. I don't want another sport to be sullied.

20
by jebmak :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:13pm

I don't get the 'every game is a playoff'. 'Every game is a playoff until that team loses, then you just play out the string' seems more like how I see it.

Every year when Iowa gets it's first loss, I stop caring. At that point I know that they can't possibly win. At least I can 'enjoy' Dolphins' games until they get mathematically eliminated.

26
by AudacityOfHoops :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:30pm

Every game is a playoff until that team loses

For about half the teams. For the other half, the playoffs are over when they release their schedule.

32
by jebmak :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 1:03pm

Yes, I guess that I did understate the stupidity of the system. I didn't consider the teams that don't have a shot even if they do run the table.

33
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 1:11pm

I would certainly prefer a tournament limited to conference champs, however, if given a choice between the current system, and one in which, say, Stanford, still had a chance, I'd take the latter.

It simply is not true that every game in the cirrent system is a playoff, and to compare basketball or baseball viewership patterns with football viewership patterns, is simply an error. A Saints/Vikings game in early September garners huge, record, numbers, despite the fact that 33% of the playoff teams didn't win their division. A tournament of 11 conference champs and five at-large bids, or, after cosolidation, eight coneference champs and four at large bids, would likely not harm September ratings at all. You simply can't draw comparisons between a sport with a 14 to 19 game maximum schedule, and a 12 to 16 team tournament, and a sport with a forty game maximum schedule, with 65 teams in a tournament, or sports with schedules that run past 100 games, or even approaching 200 games.

40
by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 2:26pm

On October 2, 2010, Stanford lost to Oregon 52-31. Why exactly, should they get another shot at Oregon? True, it was not a neutral field, but they lost by 21 points!

I would welcome a tournament comprised entirely of conference champs. However, the BCS conferences would soon conspire to get more of their teams in the playoffs and would open up "at-large bids" It is the wild cards (or in the parlance of the NCAA tournament: at-large-bids) that would severly harm college football.

42
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 2:33pm

Because the world ain't perfect, and if given two choices of imperfection, I'd choose the latter, as opposed to the former, as described above.

Please precisely define "severely harm". If you mean in terms of viewership of regular season games, it is likely your are in error, for reasons discussed in my previous post.

44
by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 2:55pm

My name belies my preference.

I agree that there is little that could "severly harm" college football from a viewership or financial position. I speak for the integrity of the game.

True, casual viewership will likely suffer a bit in late October and November. Interest will be somewhat impacted. When an undefeated Michigan and Ohio State met a few years ago, I would bet that the importance of the game drew in casual fans. If there was a playoff where both teams were already locked-in to playoff spots, casual viewership would drop slightly.

More to the point, the "game" would have suffered harm if that regular season game was just a preview of a more important playoff game to come. We fans circle these dates and create memories out of them. To take something as "sacred" as these games and subjugate them in any way would be a travesty.

46
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 3:20pm

I disagree that casual viewership would suffer, because we haven't seen that effect in the NFL. I don't know how to measure the other stuff you mention, which leads me to believe that you are just using those terms to say "This is what my preference is", which is fine, but it might be better to just say so. My preference is that, if I have to choose between the current paradigm, where a third undefeated team is told it can't compete for a championship, or a paradigm in which a team like this year's Stanford can, I choose the latter.

49
by Wild Card Hater (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 4:28pm

NFL viewership is different from all sports, including college football. Unfortunately, you are correct that there's no real way to measure it absent a parallel universe where we can test these hypotheticals. Therefore, I will grant you that it is my preference.

I still will always choose a paradigm that does not give a team an undeserved 2nd bite at the apple even at the expense of TCU.

83
by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/13/2010 - 10:32am

"More sports leagues should take a cue from the FBS and limit playoff teams to those who actually WIN SOMETHING after all of those regular season games"

I'd rather have the best teams in the sport playing for the championship than the best team in each of a couple arbitrary groups.

In probably 2 years out of every 3, a wild card team is better than one of the division winners. Why should that division winner get a playoff spot by virtue of the other teams in it's division sucking worse than it does?

12
by bfos (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:31am

"College football gets more popular every single year despite what is truly becoming an annoying level of playoff talk..."

Thus, I hate all of you who continue to watch College football. Leave the sport, save yourself the frustration, force a change, and then come back when they finally fix the game.

22
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:16pm

No, thank you.

13
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:33am

Bill,

I believe we play for the same team. Everything is good enough to care that much about it.

But if I would change something, it would be using the "Plus-1" concept, but differently. It primarely stands for a 4-team playoff, like you suggested above, but it could mean something else. Perhaps, in my view at least, better.

I don't think go back to the old system is an option, so I'm going to start from where BCS Football is now. So, I would advocate no big changes, other than the BCS National Championship game to be an extra Bowl.

So, my suggestion for a "Plus-1" is that the teams to play at BCS National Championship Game should be decided AFTER the Bowl season. And only teams that are Conferece champions and Bowl winners should have a shot at it.

Since it seems that there is a need to decide who those teams are in advance, I would suggest that the bowls involving Conference champions to be held earlier then the others. So, after these bowls are set, the best two among the eligible teams would be chosen to meet at the National Championship game.

To me, this would be the best way to compromise. The regular season would matter. Conference champioship games would matter. The bowl games would matter. Teams from less important conferences could get a serious shot at the title game. There would be a "playoff taste", but a "good old days taste" as well, etc.

Are there problems that I couldn't foresee?

Best,
PS

P.S.: To address the "independents" problem, I would suggest two things: (a) that the best record among them should be considered like a Conference champion; and (b) that Army-Navy game should be considered like a Bowl.

37
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 1:45pm

Just to set an example. This would be the BCS Bowls prior to the NCG this season, if the rule above was applied:

Sugar Bowl - Auburn (1) v. (3) TCU
Rose Bowl - Oregon (2) v. (9) Michigan State
Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma (7) v. (15) Nevada
Orange Bowl - Virginia Tech (13) v. (22) West Virginia

Of those, Auburn, Oregon, TCU, Oklahoma and Michigan State, all would have a shot at the title game, if they win. The Sugar Bowl would be, in fact, a playoff match.

---

Champions without a shot left out:
C-USA champions: UCF (25)
Best independent: Navy (31)
Mid-American champions: Miami/OH (34)
Sun Belt champions: FIU (-)

Non-champions teams left out besides having better ranking:
4. Stanford
5. Wisconsin
6. Ohio State
8. Arkansas
10. Boise State
11. LSU
12. Missouri
14. Oklahoma State
16. Alabama
17. Texas A&M
18. Nebraska
19. Utah
20. South Carolina
21. Mississippi State

48
by Travis :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 4:13pm

One question about the above scenario - why are Wisconsin and Boise State being left out of the bowls despite being ranked higher in the BCS than their co-champions? The Big Ten and the WAC both finished in 3-way ties.

Also, despite their lower ranking, Connecticut won the Big East, not West Virginia.

52
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 4:50pm

Ooooops! Sorry about that. I was betrayed by ESPN standings. I just took the team listed above the others...

But, it's just an example. So no harm was done, right?

57
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 6:08pm

West Virginia, Pitt, and UConn were co-champs of the Big East. UConn got the BCS bid due to a head-to-head sweep of WVU and Pitt.

If my Orange had managed to beat UConn, the three-way tie would have been resolved by the BCS rankings, as Pitt beat Syracuse, Syracuse beat West Virginia, and West Virginia beat Pitt.

64
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 8:49pm

Then, this would be the BCS Bowls prior to the NCG this season, if the rule above was applied (in bold, the corrections):

Sugar Bowl - Auburn (1) v. (3) TCU
Rose Bowl - Oregon (2) v. (5) Wisconsin
Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma (7) v. (10) Boise State
Orange Bowl - Virginia Tech (13) v. (26) Connecticut

In that case, Sugar and Rose Bowls would work as semifinals, since both champions would be certain playing the Championship game. Oklahoma would not have a shot at the national title.

Stanford (4) would be the best team out of contention because it has lost Pac-10 title to Oregon (2).

67
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 9:03pm

Affff...!

OK! OK! I got it!

Broncos out, Cardinal in, since Boise State doesn't have a chance to play at National Championship Game:

Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma (7) v. (4) Stanford

I will put it down better below.

41
by Will :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 2:27pm

Let's assume that the following results happen:

Wisconsin beats TCU
Ohio State beats Arkansas
Michigan State beats Alabama
The rest of the Big Ten has very good showings in the bowls.

Who should play in the +1 game?

Will

43
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 2:42pm

How could I know?! You should ask poll voters and computers...

But, seriously, I think the example above shows the way, Will. After the Bowls, the best two eligible teams in accord to the regular season BCS ranking play the finals.

Best.

50
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 4:41pm

Just keeping living in my private world, the schedule:

Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 - Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, LA - Auburn (1) v. (3) TCU

Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 - Rose Bowl
Pasadena, CA - Oregon (2) v. (9) Michigan State

Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010 - Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, AZ - Oklahoma (7) v. (15) Nevada

Friday, Dec. 24, 2010 - Orange Bowl
Miami, FL - Virginia Tech (13) v. (22) West Virginia

Monday, Jan. 10, 2011 - BCS National Championship Game
Glendale, AZ - Teams to be determined

Just to prove that there would be plenty of time to both teams designated -AFTER the bowls- to play for the title and their fans to get prepared to the NCG...

66
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 8:53pm

Corrected:

...

Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010 - Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, LA - Auburn (1) v. (3) TCU

Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 - Rose Bowl
Pasadena, CA - Oregon (2) v. (5) Wisconsin

Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010 - Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, AZ - Oklahoma (7) v. (10) Boise State

Friday, Dec. 24, 2010 - Orange Bowl
Miami, FL - Virginia Tech (13) v. (26) Connecticut

...

Monday, Jan. 10, 2011 - BCS National Championship Game
Glendale, AZ - Sugar Bowl Champ. v. Rose Bowl Champ.

15
by NJBammer :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:49am

I post about once a year on this subject. I am heavily in favor of the current system. It is my belief that the ones who are most in favor of a playoff are the ones who would benefit the most from it: ESPN and the gambling community. Most fans I personally know who are not gamblers have no interest in changing the way things currently work. Most people I know who want a playoff only follow the college game as a gambler or what they are shown on ESPN. I have known personally pretty much zero exceptions to this rule.

Frankly, the fact that every blowhard on ESPN keeps pushing down my throat the "fact" that "every fan wants a playoff" when that's pretty clearly not true makes me want to never ever have a playoff if only to spite them.

25
by AudacityOfHoops :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:28pm

Most people I know who want a playoff only follow the college game as a gambler or what they are shown on ESPN. I have known personally pretty much zero exceptions to this rule.

I bet TCU fans are exceptions.

And I imagine a lot of math-and-logic type thinkers find it unsatisfying to have a system where a team can go undefeated yet NOT be the champion. These are the types of people that most often end up gambling. I'm inferring that you think the gambling itself is what causes these people to want a playoff. But it could be that the gambling AND the desire for a playoff are both products of their numeric minds. ... This is a long way of saying "gamblers are people too, why should we not care what would increase their enjoyment?" I think a lot of them, if gambling were made impossible, would still follow the game, and would still want a playoff.

ESPN keeps pushing down my throat the "fact" that "every fan wants a playoff"

OK, I'll agree with you that this would be pretty annoying if I were anti-playoff.

27
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:32pm

I'm okay with a playoff simply because in many seasons (not all, but many) there are more than two teams who truly 'earn' a shot at the title. But it clearly doesn't harm my overall enjoyment of the game too much, even if it should.

36
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 1:39pm

Call me crazy, but if I had to choose between your sample of public opinion, and that of professional pollsters, in terms of assessing the public's sentiment, I'll choose the latter.

I'll also note that when someone says they know pretty much zero exceptions to a rule regarding the preferences of human beings, that someone likely doesn't know enough people.

84
by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/13/2010 - 10:47am

I want a playoff. I don't gamble.

you are wrong.

23
by just another internet dog (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:23pm

As Rick Baker, president of the Cotton Bowl, said, "A playoff system would ruin the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."

'Cause being contractually obligated to refer to the Cotton Bowl as "the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic" doesn't ruin anything at all. Nosireebob.

60
by Wikitorix (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 7:20pm

I just call it the AT&T Bowl. Everyone involved wanted the sponsor to get top billing, who am I to argue with that.

24
by Wilbo :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 12:24pm

I would like a 16 team playoff system where the 11 bcs conference champions and 5 at large teams would qualify. This would give every team a clear path to the title, win your conference and you get a shot. The problem I have with a playoff system is what happens to the bowls that have great tradition? I love the Rose Bowl and the parade and the would hate to see it and some of the historic bowls end.

31
by Tom Gower :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 1:03pm

The BCS IS a playoff. It's just a 2-team playoff rather than a 4-, 8-, or 16-team playoff, and one with a bunch of ancillary stuff designed to prevent opportunistic defections.

I read Death to the BCS and got very cranky, so I wrote a long (4k) and screedy semi-review essay, which you can read here if you're really bored.

34
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 1:22pm

A two team playoff is not a smart way to select a champion, in terms of maximizing revenues, or in terms of equity to the competitors, the vast majority of whom, in this instance, are already getting screwed.

35
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 1:34pm

Also, Tom, I read your piece, and perhaps I misunderstood you, but if you think the Rose Bowl committee could, say, have San Diego State play Navy on January 1st in the Rose Bowl, and could draw viewers anywhere close to what, say, a Wisconsin vs. Stanford game would draw, played at the same time in some other venue, I think you are mistaken. I think you hugely overestimate the value added by the bowl committees.

53
by Tom Gower :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 5:02pm

Will,
I think you're conflating the quality of the matchup with the quality of the brand name. A better question is (1) if SDSU played Navy on January 1 in this game called the Rose Bowl, would that draw more revenue than if SDSU-played Navy on December 30 or January 1 in the Seventh Day Adventure Bowl? Alternatively, (2) Wisconsin-Stanford Rose Bowl on January 1 in the Rose Bowl as opposed to Wisconsin-Stanford Seventh Day Adventure Bowl on January 2 or 3 or whatever. In both circumstances, my contention is that the identical matchup in the Rose Bowl is more valuable. The best proxy answer we have is television contracts and ratings, which tend to be higher for the Rose Bowl than for other matchups between similarly-ranked and popular teams. The empirical evidence suggests, I think, that the Rose Bowl brand has some value, and living in B10 country confirms that anecdotal evidence.

Now, the continuing value of the Rose Bowl brand depends on the continuing quality of matchups. We've seen bowls rise and fall in prestige based on the current and recent past matchup quality; the Cotton, Fiesta, and Sun Bowls are all probably good examples of this.

As to your other contention, the college football post-season isn't about what raises the most revenue or is most equitable. Maybe you think it should be, but the schools by their revealed preference don't seem to agree with you.

59
by Will Allen :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 6:43pm

You may be right about revealed preference, but that triggers in me my ever growing doubt about whether what these people are doing is legal. We may have an opportunity to test that question empirically relatively soon, but that is for another thread, perhaps.

Actually, I think the rise of the Fiesta Bowl, and the decline of the Cotton Bowl casts a great deal of empirical doubt as to whether the brand names of the bowl games add substantial value. Give a me a prime Big 10 vs. Pac 12 match-up, and it doesn't matter what the venue is; on the late afternoon of January 1st, people are going to watch it in pretty much the same numbers. I really don't think people care whether they are tuning into a game that evening that is played in the Super Dome, or the Georgia Dome.

45
by tsmonk (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 3:11pm

I personally have a far bigger beef with sports like the NHL and NBA allowing way too many teams in the playoffs. More than half the teams get a shot, after 82 games - how absurd is that? But I guess it makes money, right? if you're MLB, you could purposely let roided-up players shatter homerun records to get more dough (oh, wait - that's not a hypothetical). For another (perhaps less criminal) example, the NFL restructures their rules to benefit passers to clownish proportions, to the delight of marketing reports everywhere.

Point is, what maximizes profits doesn't necessarliy go hand-in-hand with the good of the sport.

47
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 3:46pm

(just look at this year's FCS playoff, where five four-loss teams entered the round of 16)

That's just a feature of FCS being different from FBS. I believe four of those five four-loss teams lost to an FBS team. And there were only two one-loss or undefeated teams in all of FCS (among conferences that participate in the playoffs) this year.

I think there'd be maybe one 4-loss at-large team over the BCS era in a Wetzel-style 16 team playoff (all conference champs + 5 at-large). There would be some conference champions with worse records than that (usually from the Sun Belt, sometimes from CUSA and the MAC, and every once in a while from the WAC, MWC, or the big guys -- and even the SEC has had a 3-loss champ in the BCS era, so don't think it's impossible), but it doesn't really matter a lot which minor conference champ the top 3 schools blow out.

58
by Mello :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 6:16pm

A 16 team playoff would water things down too much, but would be better than the BCS. I think 8 teams is right and the selection should be simple. Take the 6 BCS conference champs and the top 2 other BCS ranked teams. I don't really care about complaints about that 3rd team down there. They should have won their conference championship. Maybe the ratings are getting better for college football but I know I won't be anything more than a casual fan until they get away from this current system that gives undefeated teams with a chance to play with the big boys almost no chance.

65
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 8:52pm

Although a BCS 6 + 2 at-large playoff would be far, far better than the current system, I'm not a big fan of automatic bids for anyone in a small (8-team or smaller) playoff. I definitely want the actual top 8 to make the playoffs (or at least 8 of the top 10), it's pretty routine for one or two AQ conference champs to finish the regular season ranked 10th or lower, it's pretty routine for one or two top-5 teams to not be conference champions, and it's not uncommon for conference or division ties to fall to somewhat subjective tiebreakers to be resolved (mostly the BCS rankings these days).

And while as an Orange fan, I'll argue the Big East is more deserving of its automatic spot in the current system than the ACC or any non-AQ conference (even before the best of the MWC variously moves to the Pac 12, goes independent, or moves to the Big East, and the best of the WAC joins the MWC), neither the Big East nor ACC can remotely justify automatic spots in an 8-team playoff. And if you're only going to have four autobids, you might as well have none.

63
by Overrated (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 8:14pm

Personally, I hate playoffs. I like the idea of choosing a national champion based on a full season's performance better than an end-of-season run. All kinds of crazy things can happen over a short span, and I think if the goal is to choose the "best team," pure voting has a better chance of doing so than a playoff does.

Obviously it's not really possible to objectively determine the "best team." Even in a round-robin situation, you're still dealing with small sample sizes - maybe team A beats team B 90% of the time, but the game they actually play falls into that 10%... so I just shrug and go for what gives me the most football, damn the torpedoes.

68
by PS (not verified) :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 9:31pm

Please, read #13 first

Just to set an example for what I've on #13. This would be the BCS Bowls prior to the National Championship Game (NCG) this season, if the rule written on #13 was applied:

Sugar Bowl - Auburn (1) v. (3) TCU
Rose Bowl - Oregon (2) v. (5) Wisconsin
Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma (7) v. (4) Stanford
Orange Bowl - Virginia Tech (13) v. (26) Connecticut

They would all be held between December 21-24. In this way, there will be enough time between these bowls and the NCG.

It's just coincidence (see #37 above), but since Auburn, TCU, Oregon and Wisconsin are the only title contenders, in that case, Sugar and Rose Bowls would work as semifinals. Both champions would be certain playing the Championship game.

---

Champions without a shot left out the BCS Bowls:
WAC champions: Boise State (10), Nevada (15), Hawaii (24)
C-USA champions: UCF (25)
Best independent: Navy (31)
Mid-American champions: Miami/OH (34)
Sun Belt champions: FIU (-)

Non-champions teams left out the BCS Bowls (ranked inside the top-25):
6. Ohio State
8. Arkansas
11. LSU
12. Missouri
14. Oklahoma State
16. Alabama
17. Texas A&M
18. Nebraska
19. Utah
20. South Carolina
21. Mississippi State
22. West Virginia
23. Florida State

88
by PS (not verified) :: Wed, 12/22/2010 - 1:07pm

Those would be the main Bowls according to the rules above:

-BCS Bowls-
Sugar Bowl: Auburn (1) v. (3) TCU
Rose Bowl: Oregon (2) v. (5) Wisconsin
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (7) v. (4) Stanford
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech (13) v. (26) Connecticut

-2nd-tier Bowls-
Cotton Bowl: Arkansas (8) v. (12) Missouri
Bowl ?: Boise State (10) v. (11) LSU
Bowl ?: Central Florida (25) v. (16) Alabama
Bowl ?: Navy (31) v. (14) Oklahoma State
Bowl ?: Miami, OH (34) v. (9) Michigan State
Bowl ?: Florida International v. (17) Texas A&M
Bowl ?: Ohio State (6) v. (18) Nebraska
Bowl ?: Nevada (15) v. (19) Utah

89
by PS (not verified) :: Wed, 12/22/2010 - 1:15pm

Since no Bowl is created equal, and there is this recognition that Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar are the Grand Slam of College Bowls, why not set a second class of them, just above the rest (something like "Master 1000" Bowls)?

The unstated rules "above" that set the Bowls early mentioned are:

a) the best ranked team from SEC and the best ranked team Big-12 left out the BCS Bowls play each other at the Cotton Bowl;
b) all Conference champions left out the BCS Bowls would have an AQ;
c) the best ranked teams would fill in to complete 14 teams.

So there would be 8 Bowls in this level, one being the Cotton Bowl.

69
by B :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 9:38pm

It's my theory that the real purpose of the BCS isn't to pick a champion, but to foster debate about who should be champion. We get a whole season of debates as teams rise and fall in the BCS standings over who should be ranked where. Then the selections are announced on TV, and we have a month of arguments about who got shafted. Then the games happen, and we debate who should really be the champion. And who benefits most from all this debate? ESPN, of course. That's where the money leads.

70
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 10:01pm

The purpose of the BCS is to maximize revenue as much as possible while maintaining the bowls' and major conferences' control of the postseason. In order to further that aim, they try to create the illusion that they're staging a championship.

Is there an actual FBS national championship? No. There is a BCS Championship game, but it's just a bowl game that happens to feature the #1 and #2 teams in the BCS rankings. And there's championship trophy, but that's for the Coaches' Poll championship (which by contract awards its final #1 to the BCS Championship Game winner -- which makes the final Coaches' Poll not an actual poll, which is nonsense). There's absolutely no reason to give the Coaches' Poll any more value than the AP (and only history and tradition to give the AP and Coaches' polls more value than any other ranking systems).

71
by Rocco :: Fri, 12/10/2010 - 11:45pm

If the playoff system meant SEC teams might have to play up north, I'd sign up for it. I'd love to see Florida make the trip to a freezing Camp Randall in December.

77
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 2:42pm

Well, if you use the correct BCS rankings to pick at-large teams and assume the WAC declares a formal tie-breaking procedure for a 3-way tie where the three teams rock-paper-scissors each other (Nevada beat Boise, Hawaii beat Nevada, Boise beat Hawaii) that selects the highest-ranking team as its champion, and then use the Wetzel plan setup (11 conference champs, 5 at-large, all games except the final @ the highest seed), then you get this opening round:

1. Auburn (SEC)
16. FIU (Sun Belt)

8. Arkansas (At-large 3)
9. Michigan State (At-large 4)

4. Stanford (At-large 1)
13. UCF (CUSA)

5. Wisconsin (B10)
12. Virginia Tech (ACC)

2. Oregon (P10)
15. Miami (OH) (MAC)

7. Oklahoma (B12)
10. Boise State (WAC)

3. TCU (MWC)
14. UConn (Big East)

6. Ohio State (At-large 2)
11. LSU (At-large 5)

... so LSU gets to go to the Shoe in December. Also, Virginia Tech to Camp Randall.

73
by deep64blue :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 9:33am

You can have Bowls or Playoffs not both, the Bowls will wither on the vine with a play-off. Support one or other but don't fool yourself that both can co-exist.

I love the Bowl system - it's unique and it makes the regular season so important - why change just to be like every other sport?

86
by Joseph :: Mon, 12/13/2010 - 5:29pm

In my opinion, you can have both. I have written an (unpublished) essay in which 96 teams are split into 4 superconferences, with 2 divisions of 12 teams each. Play round robin, and then the 8 div. winners play a "conference championship" game. Those 4 champs meet in a "playoff", playing in the "bowl games." To satisfy the big 4 (Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, Rose) you can play a 3rd place game, or in a rotation the other bowl picks 2 CCG losers. The bigger non-BCS bowls (Cotton, CapOne, etc) could be the "bowl games" either for other CCG losers, teams who have a good record but don't win their division, etc. The December bowls could have existing tie-ins like they have, or just pick at-large teams who don't make the "playoffs."

74
by Mike Y :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 1:47pm

The point of sports is to find a champion. To beat everyone else until there is no one left standing. For all those that don't advocate a playoff because college football is "unique", you're depriving us of all these extra games, and, really, it's an affront to competitive sports in general. College football shouldn't be like ice skating. We are simply missing out. All these chances to improve each team's level of play. Beat Michigan during the season? Try to beat them again in the playoffs if you meet them, you can be sure Michigan will bring it. Are you really better than Boise State? Beat them on the field, prove it.

For those people who say that "every game is a playoff", you are just wrong. No one game, at the time it is played, can conclusively eliminate any one team from the national championship race. There is always a chance that the teams that are voted ahead of you will lose at some point. Ask LSU in 2006 (2 losses), or Florida State in 1991 (very late season loss). No regular season game can create the atmosphere and pressure that a playoff game could, simply by its nature.

In fact, the current system probably hurts NFL scouting, since the top teams rarely play each other, and there are even rarer high-pressure games, so there is a small sample size of high-pressure games against top competition. One fluky game (good or bad) can make or break your NFL draft status.

But until this is fixed and college football is made to be like any other normal sport, then I just refuse to watch. What's the point? Nothing is decided on the field. TCU is just not as pretty as Oregon or Auburn. That's what it boils down to. That's why they are not playing in the national championship game. If TCU won every game by 50 and had a superstar, even with their schedule, they might be in the national championship game. I just don't understand the proponents of the current system. Unique does not always = good!

76
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 2:31pm

Greta post by Mike Y

Might print out comment and save it. Very good poitns.

One thing thoiguh. Dont rmemeber 91 Flroida State, but do rmember 93 team that lose to Notrade Dame. Washignton Huskies won tittle in 91, but was Florida State right behind them at #2?

Do remmber alabam won in 92 when beat Fino Torretta real bad in Sugar Bowl.

93 naitonal titleist was who? do not rmemeber.

78
by Mike Y :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 2:59pm

Actually, I meant '93 Florida State, my bad. And Raiderjoe agrees with me, wow!

80
by dbostedo :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 8:41pm

"The point of sports is to find a champion."

I disagree with that. Maybe I'm just being overly picky, but it seems like that's only one small reason that sports exist. These are college athletes, and there are a lot of sports that exist to foster competition, team work, enjoyment among students and players, etc., with the opportunity to find a champion pretty far down the list. Of course, for basketball and football, finding a champion seems to be somewhat higher than for other sports, but not entirely depending on the school, division, and team.

75
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 2:24pm

use dto like collefge football, but notn a big fan anymore. Real dumb that one year when Okalhoma didnt win own conferebce but sitll played in national title game. Big sham.

81
by dbostedo :: Sat, 12/11/2010 - 8:45pm

I actually thought it was really dumb that any of the conferences added "championship games" that give the opportunity for an obviously inferior team to pull and upset and become the champion.

I wish all of the leagues would drop back to 10 teams, play 9 games against everyone else in he conference, and get rid of conference championship games.

I get the 1 game playoff as it exists right now for the whole BCS since there isn't enough interplay between conferences to make choosing the champ better without a game and just the bowls (IMO). But at the conference level, things could better be settled and regular season games made more important, via a complete conference round robin the way the PAC-10 does it (until next year anyway).

82
by Mikey Benny :: Sun, 12/12/2010 - 8:27pm

I think the "every game matters" argument is exactly backwards.

The problem with College Football is that once a non-SEC team loses a game, their season is OVER. The rest of their season becomes a bunch of exhibition games.

85
by Steve N (not verified) :: Mon, 12/13/2010 - 12:28pm

Amen. As a Stanford fan it was fun to watch them pretty much dominate after the Oregon game, but there wasn't much to play for after that point early in the season, except in hopes of a Ducks' misstep. Stanford is my example because it hits close to home, but the issue affects many teams (see Michigan State, Va Tech, etc.).

I think a playoff with 6 BCS conference champions plus two at-large teams would still make "all the games count", since teams still couldn't afford to lose games and be confident of a shot at the end. This would also give hope and possibility to deserving teams that stumble early in the season. It would give teams an incentive for scheduling tough out-of-conference opponents in order to boost the team's resume for an at-large bid while also not costing the team in the conference race. Finally, it would allow for teams to settle things ON THE FIELD at the END of the season. This latter point is missed in the current system (except for the two selected for the championship).

I think the goal should be more intersectional games between good teams, settling the championship between as many of the plausible top-teams at the end of the season as is feasible, and making as many regular-season games meaningfully relevant to the championship as possible.

87
by Dean :: Tue, 12/14/2010 - 11:22am

Then don’t lose.

I find it absurd that people complain about “a bunch of machines” determining objectively who the best team is, but then they clamor for a system where “a bunch of old men” pick who the best team is. Instead of arguing about who is 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, you end up arguing about who is 9th or 17th or whatever.

If NCAA Basketball is what we have to go by, no thanks. It’s a product of hype and marketing. The day College Football institutes a playoff is the day I stop watching.

90
by Mikey Benny :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 1:46pm

Whatever. If you watch now, you'll watch when (not if) they institute a playoff.

91
by tuluse :: Tue, 01/04/2011 - 3:46pm

That doesn't address his point at all. Games are only meaningful (in terms of being champion) for teams that haven't lost. Almost any team with a loss can no longer be champion so they can no longer play for that. Which means their season is meaningless, which means "every games is important" is false.

Truthfully, with as short a season as football has (NFL or college) every game is important regardless of that fact if you have to be undefeated or not.