Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Nov 2005

BCS Plus One: The Easiest Solution

How hard would it be to install a college football playoff? As our fellow FOXSports.com partners at College Football News point out, no team ranked lower than fourth before the bowl games has ever won the national championship. We're never going to end up in a situation where there are more than four unbeaten teams from the major conferences. So why not pit no. 1 against no. 4 and no. 2 against no. 3 in the bowl games, and then add one single game over winter break to determine the champion? CFN even goes back to past years to figure out which teams would have had a complaint if such a system had been in place, although they might have given a few too many fictional titles to USC.

Or, we could just choose the national champion using DVOA ratings, since as we all know, DVOA ratings are exactly like the BCS. (snicker)

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Nov 2005

62 comments, Last at 05 Nov 2005, 7:01pm by Zac

Comments

1
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:30am

and then add one single game over winter break to determine the champion?

It should be noted that the BCS goes to a 5-bowl format next year, where the extra game is a week after the first set.

So they don't even have to add a game. They just need to change the structure.

2
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:31am

I believe that while the "Presidents" are supposedly against a playoff, the BCS people do want one, however, they want one run by them - i.e. they don't want so much of a push for a playoff that the NCAA comes in and starts running one, like they do for all the other football divisions.

The "week later championship game" that was proposed and accepted for games starting in the 2006 season, I believe, is simply a ruse. The BCS people have, with that plan, overcome one significant obstacle - the "Presidents'" unwillingness to have a game a week after the traditional end of bowl time.

Now that that game is in place, the BCS conferences will let that game get played for a few years - say, three - then, once that game is the "status quo" and accepted, they can say "Hey, we already have this week-later game, let's use the earlier games to determine the participants!" The "Presidents" cannot suddenly backtrack and say "We don't want football so late!" because they already agreed to having the game.

T.

3
by Arkaein (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:37am

Sounds like a good idea to me. For a while I've thought that an 8 team tournament would be best to ensure any team with a legit bid got a shot, but just four teams would fit very nicely within the current bowl system, with minimal calendar disruption. Also, the article makes a god case that eight teams would be overkill, and in any case the proposed four team format would be a big improvement over the current two team format.

I think the scenarios described in this article is also a great illustration of why the BCS format is not the problem with picking a championship game. The problem (and it was the same with just the polls) is that there are seldom exactly two teams that have distinguished themselves from everyone else. There's often either three undefeateds, or one undefeated and two very strong one loss teams. No two team championship format can solve such a problem in a way that everyone is satisfied with, which is why the BCS is just a scapegoat for people who distrust things they don't understand (kinda like people who complain about DVOA!).

4
by Alan P (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:51am

I have always thought a 4 team playoff is the best scenario for several reasons. First it makes 3 of the BCS games relevant to the championship instead of just 1 so ratings and interest will increase.

Second, it gives teams with 1 loss a shot at the title. Right now, once you lose a game your championship hopes are virtually non-existent. In this system, even with 1 loss a top 5 or top 10 team (like Miami or Penn St this year) can keep hope alive of making it to the fourth slot and competing for the championship.

5
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:51am

It should be noted that more than 4 unbeatens has happened already - just not all from the major conferences. So I do feel bad for those teams, because for them, they're hamstrung before the season ever begins. They could be the best team ever in college football, and they'd never really have a chance to prove it.

But I do agree that having more than a 4-team playoff is a little difficult. And already this year, the 4 team playoff would be good enough for all the unbeatens, and really, I can whine and complain for Penn State all I want, but if they wanted to play for the championship, they should've beaten Michigan. But I do feel bad for Alabama and Virginia Tech, if they go unbeaten.

6
by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:53am

Aaron, in 1977, Notre Dame, seeded fifth, leapforgged a victorious number three Alabama team and won the national championship when the top two seeds fell in the bowls.

Not that I'm bitter or anything, but that's a year I wouldn't have minded having such a system, as long as ND would have been shut out and Alabama would surely have marched on to victory.

7
by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:54am

I guess I just get tired of shoddy journalism, is all.

8
by Alan P (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 12:09pm

There may always be teams whining about not making a playoff, but a 4 team playoff does achieve the primary goal of making it virtually impossible for a split title.

In this scenario the 3rd or 4th ranked team would have to win 2 games to have the BCS title, and I can't imagine voters leapfrogging a 5th place team (even if that team is ND) over a team that won back to back games against 2 of the top 3.

9
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 12:17pm

I think we should all just admit that the point of BCS and Division 1 college football isn't about picking a championship, it's about exciting football and giving pundits/fans/alumni something to argue about in the off-season. All we have to do is change the C from Championship to Contreversy, and we're all set.

10
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 12:31pm

B: But hasn't the NFL shown us that playoffs do give you the most exciting football?

I mean, come on. Do I need to get Don Cheadle in here to remind you that the playoffs turn "Joe" into "Joe"?

Seriously, though, Alan makes a great point. I'd rather see more of the great teams in college football. I don't really care which bowl Penn State gets into - it's still a bowl, and a BCS bowl doesn't guarantee a good opponent (Big East anyone?). A plus one format gives us better games. Just that simple.

11
by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 12:42pm

Let's think of it this way, folks. Supposing there was a playoff of some kind in football. Can you IMAGINE leaving that format and going to the current one? Neither could I.

1) Go back to 11 game seasons.

2) Institute a 4 team "playoff" which will take the place of major bowls.

3) Have no tie-ins for the playoff bowls, but take the top 4 teams according to the AP, UPI, or even a combination.

4) Allow any and all other bowls to form tie-ins, invite teams, whatever they want. Do not change this.

5) If the above is successful, you can explore expanding the playoffs to 8 teams. 16 would be too many, without a doubt.

12
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 12:56pm

As our fellow FOXSports.com partners at College Football News point out, no team ranked lower than fourth before the bowl games has ever won the national championship.

Um, isn't that because teams ranked lower than fourth never really play for the national championship? If you don't have a tournament, how likely is it that any team outside the top three will win?

I think the format of the playoff that I-A football needs depends on what you want the playoff to accomplish. If you want it to work like the basketball tournament or the other divisions, you can't do it with fewer than 16 teams, not as long as you have more than 8 conferences. If you don't want it to be an everyone-has-a-shot tournament, but rather a best-of-the-best tournament, 4 teams is probably the right number.

My personal preference is the 16-team tournament; the smaller tournament makes it a virtual certainty that a quality regular-season team will win the title, but the chance of an underdog winning it all brings excitement to the table, especially for those who aren't fans of the top schools.

13
by Brad (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:02pm

This system lacks one thing: practicality. There are 4 major bowls, not two. The two bowls who don't get the playoffs aren't going to be watched by as many people simply because they don't decide the winner.

This suggestion would also mean the rose bowl would cease to be pac10-big10 and that would make my heart stop.

14
by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:02pm

I don't want an easy solution. I want the right solution. The same solution that works for Divs. 1AA, 2, and 3. A playoff that includes the champions from every conference and as many at large teams as necessary. The NCAA gives away Saturdays in December to the NFL. That is bad economics. There is a market for a playoff. Let's stop this insane idea that the regular season is a de facto playoff. The conference regular season is sufficient to determine conference champions, but the non-conference season, scheduled by the athletic departments with the sole purpose of increasing revenue does not constitute a playoff. Will USC play Va Tech or Texas before a BCS bowl game? No, therefore the regular season is not a playoff. Stop arguing this point.

15
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:20pm

Brad:

3 out of the 4 bowls don't decide the winner right now. This system would just make it better, as only 1 out of the 4 bowls wouldn't decide it. In the plus one format, one location would get two games, one of them a week later. Presumedly the first one would be a non-playoff game, and the second one would be the championship.

The only exception is that occasionally you'll get years like 2003, where essentially 2 bowls had national championship games. But this still is worse than the proposed system - the 2 other bowls still didn't matter.

16
by Dennis (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:21pm

Re #14: I totally agree. There's no good reason why there can't be a 16 team playoff in Division I-A. It ultimately comes down to money and the "presidents" are afraid of losing the money from the bowls. But they'll more than make up for that with the revenue from the playoffs - the TV money would be huge.

17
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:25pm

zlionsfan:

That statement was actually "even back in the old poll and bowl format, this never happened." Back then, it was easily possible for this to happen, but it never did.

18
by james (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:26pm

As of now the semester usually ends a couple of weeks before christmas while the regular season ends a couple of weeks before that.

Realistically, the next two weeks could be byes. Which would give student athletes ample time to finish the semester strong in the classroom...wink, wink. The other very small bonus would be giving teams a little time to heal up.

A week before Christmas the 16 team Div 1 football championships would start. Which would lead up to the championship game to be played the weekend after new year's.

Similar to college basketball, conference winners would get an automatic bid. Then a committe would decide on the remaining at large bids.

14 bowls would host these games. This wouldn't be much different than the host sites for ncaa bball tourney.

In a perfect world they could invite 64 teams but this is football. It's impossible to play two games in a week and unrealistic to hold a 7 week tourney.

Instead the 5(big east is finished as a major conference) BCS conferences would receive automatic bids.

The other 11 teams would be chosen by committee, with each BCS conference limited to 2 teams. That would leave at least 6 slots open for 6 other conferences.

As far as the left out teams would be concerned, they would all be allowed to play one post season game. There would be no limit to participation. This would lead to more relevant "other bowl games".

This other scheduling season would include a one week period where games could be scheduled and discussed. It would be a cross between trade deadline negotiations in mlb and promoters scheduling bouts in boxing.

Games would be run through the BCS or whatever organization is running these playoffs, allowed to be played at any place and time in the playoff season and all proceeds would go to this organization minus a certain percentage back to the conferences of the particiapating conferences, similar to how things are run now.

Playoff games would be scheduled for saturdays. "Other Bowl Games" would be scheduled striclty during the week.

There would be 20 weekdays during this period to put together as many made for tv matchups as possible. These matchups would be worth little more than bragging rights but isn't that what cfb is all about after all.

Dates and times would have to be according to slots for tv purposes but this could all work out so that there is a playoff and all concerned make more money than they are under the current system.

Speaking only for myself I would be excited to see a "for all the marbles" playoffs and get my other football fix by watching made for tv exhibitions be played during the week.

There would still be plenty of controversy and quality football on everyday for a month straight.

19
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:27pm

I think what you're missing is the real point of the BCS or the Bowl games or even Div 1 football isn't to crown a champion, it's to get money from boosters. Right now, the system can produce up to four "champions" the BCS champion, the AP poll champion, the "we got screwed by the BCS" champion and the "we got screwed by the voters" champion. Each of those teams gets to go to thier alumni assocations and point to the successful season as a reason to donate more money.

20
by Paulo Sanchotene (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:27pm

Why not above Division I-A create a 32-team league, with the best teams in nation? Imagine a 2-conference-with-2-division-of-8-teams-each league with relegation/promotion to Division I-A teams (The others more then 90 teams would still be under the BCS system, that would point who would challenge for a spot in the league).

Do a 10-games season, and make the 4 division champions to go to the Playoffs (Conference Championship Game and College SuperBowl).

Impossible?

21
by Paulo Sanchotene (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:31pm

Exactly, "B". That's why they don't want to change...

22
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 2:50pm

Pat, a fifth- or lower-ranked team could play the #1 team, but they weren't both playing for the title: the #1 team usually won the title if they won the bowl game, but if they lost, the next-highest team to win their bowl usually won the title. The fifth-ranked team wasn't playing for the title, they were just part of the game.

23
by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 4:07pm

Pat and zlionsfan, please read my post. It DID happen. Despite the article's assertation, Notre Dame DID go from fifth to first after winning their bowl when the top two teams lost.

Of course, that was Notre Dame, which gets a lot of hype every year and has for a loooooong time. But it DID happen. Maybe you could argue it woudn't happen again, but to say it never happened is just showing an appaling lack of journalistic fact checking.

Will Fox Sports issue a correction? Aaron, do you know?

24
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 4:17pm

zlionsfan:

Uh, the way it would happen is if #1 played #5, #5 won, and #2, #3, and #4 all lost.

And pawnking, I thought Notre Dame was ranked higher than #5 in the coaches poll in 1977. So it's not quite the same.

25
by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 5:30pm

Pat, refer the the article I linked in my first post. Notre Dame was ranked #5 going into the bowl that year. And even if they were ranked higher in the coaches poll, that does not affect the AP.

26
by Richie (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 5:54pm

I am just a periferal college football fan. I am a UCLA fan, and really only follow them. Anything short of a BCS bowl this year, and I don't care. I don't care if they go to the Holiday Bowl and play some scrub team. Why does ANYBODY care about bowl games like this? After the 1998 season, when UCLA went 10-1, they were actually disappointed to be in the Rose Bowl, and didn't bother showing up for it. The fans didn't even want to buy tickets. The current system is ridiculous.

A 16-team tournament is perfect. All the major conference champs, and then some at-large bids. Let's make sure Utah, or Boise State or Marshall or Fresno State or Tulane gets in when they run the table. Give them a chance. Start the tourney in mid-December. End it in early January. Play the games in existing bowls. Round 1 is the Las Vegas bowl, Liberty Bowl, Sun Bowl, etc.

It would be epic.

It would be twice as popular as the NCAA basketball tourney.

The colleges would be rolling in money.

And, any bowls left out could still invite their crappy at-large meaningless teams.

To me, it is so simple and so obvious and so profitable and so maddening that I just don't understand.

As a casual fan, when UCLA loses a game early in the season, I feel like the season is over. With a 16-team tourney, my team can lose 2 or 3 regular season games and still have a shot.

I think this INCREASES the excitement of the regular season. This topic gets me so mad.

27
by Vern (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 5:58pm

The main benefit of any playoff or +1 system is not that it is better at "discovering" what the best team is, but that it is the ONLY way to actually "produce" the best team.

No team can really claim to be a champion without having to prove themselves through a trial by fire. Only playoffs produce a successive "must win" secnario against the best teams at the end of year. This pressure situation is required to prove that you are worthy of the crown.

Neither the Pats of 2001 or the Dodgers of '88 or NC State in '83 were anywhere near the "best" team, but they all BECAME the best team by going through the process.

While some of the teams listed as champions in the past may have been the best teams, until college football has a playoff of some sort, none these teams have earned the title of Champion.

28
by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:30pm

i really like this proposal. four teams, three bowls. they could rotate through the four BCS bowls, so that each of them, in any four-year cycle, would host one championship game, two semifinal games, and one year when they get the 5 vs 6 BCS matchup--no title implications, but still a good game in most years.

the tricky thing is that under the current system of four BCS bowl games, there are 8 BCS teams; in the proposed system there would be only 6. that means that every year, there would be major conferences that don't get to send teams to the BCS, not to mention notre dame.

29
by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:34pm

oh, it just occurred to me that my interpretation of the proposal might not be the only one. maybe there will be the four BCS bowls as usual, with 8 teams, and then the next week one of them will host a second game for the title?

while we're at it, why not just trim the BCS down to only the top four teams altogether--then two of the bowls could host semifinals, and the next week we could have both a 3rd-place bowl game and a championship game.

30
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:52pm

pawnking:

I think the article was referring to a consensus "less than #4" pick. That's why I mentioned the coaches' poll.

31
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 7:01pm

Joon:

Right now, there are 8 BCS teams. So if you have teams ranked 1, 2, and then the other teams A,B,C,D,E,F.

Rose: 1,2
Orange: A,B
Sugar: C,D
Fiesta: E,F

Next year, we go to 10 BCS teams: the first week, the 4 bowls all play one game, and then the second week, the national championship plays in one of the bowls (again.)

So if you have teams 1,2,A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H.

This year would be
Week 1 -
Rose: A,B
Orange: C,D
Sugar: E,F
Fiesta: G,H
Week 2 -
Rose: 1,2

Under this proposed system, you'd have teams 1, 2, 3, 4, A, B, C, D.

Week 1 -
Rose: A, B
Orange: 1, 4
Sugar: 2, 3
Fiesta: C, D

Week 2 -
Rose: (1/4) v (2/3)

(Orange/Sugar choice was random). The problem (which I think you were trying to say) is that in the current format, A, B, C, D, E, F could be the 6 BCS conference champions, who might not be 1 & 2. In the proposed structure, there's not enough room for the conference champions provided two of them aren't 1, 2, 3, or 4.

Am I understanding you right?

32
by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 7:22pm

Pat:

i wasn't particularly clear on the details at the time i posted #28. i thought that there would continue to be only four BCS bowls, one of which would be the "week after" championship game, so that only 6 teams would participate in the BCS at all: sugar 1 vs 4, orange 2 vs 3, fiesta A vs B, and then the rose bowl (sugar winner vs orange winner) the following week. basically it didn't occur to me that there would be two games at the same site in the same year.

assuming they do go ahead and have one site host two games, they can expand to include the "+1" game without reducing the number of teams they get to invite. so yes, it would be 1-4 and A-D. i don't anticipate that any major conference winners will be excluded, unless three of the top four teams in the polls are from non-majors.

33
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 7:34pm

I'm for anything that gets people to stop complaining about the BCS, and specifically gets writers and pundits from spewing out more useless "The BCS is a fraud!!!!" articles. What baffles me about this is that the people who make the decisions about college football have made it abundantly clear that they don't want a playoff. Yet people persist in the belief that if they complain loud enough or long enough, or if the seasons ends with a sufficiently outrageous outcome, they'll force a change.

Get real, folks. There's been near-universal complaining about this for at least 10 years. Just about every bad outcome that you could think of has come out of the BCS. Is there ANY evidence that we're closer to a playoff than we used to be? It'll happen when the people in power want it to happen, and all the outrage about this accomplishes is to tick me off, and ruin your own enjoyment of the sport.

34
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 7:37pm

Pat, maybe we're just discussing a technicality, but even in your scenario, #5 doesn't win the title by beating #1. They win the title with the help of other teams, and if they aren't playing in the Rose Bowl, they won't even know if they're #1 when the game ends - part of the reason for the #1 vs. #2 matchup in the first place. TV doesn't like it when you can't be sure if the championship will be decided in a particular game.

In a knockout tournament, there's no question about playing for the title - everyone in the tournament can win, and it's clear when they do.

I guess I'm just thinking like Richie is. I think it would be huge for I-A football, and I just don't see why they can't get the bowls behind this plan. TSN had a sample bracket, oh, maybe fifteen years ago, that used the bowls as the quarters, semis, and finals (with 16 teams, you could have schools host first-round matchups). The remaining bowls could work like they do now ... oh, who cares, it'll never happen. The BCS+1 is still matching up #1 vs. #2, right?

35
by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 8:52pm

#34

That's why I don't watch college football anymore. The only way the system changes is to stop the flow of money. I don't buy season tickets, I don't contribute to my alma mater, and I don't watch games on TV. You're right, being angry doesn't make things better, and yelling and screaming doesn't work. It takes action, and until people stop funding these programs and the networks that show the games, the system will persist.

36
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 8:57pm

Is there ANY evidence that we’re closer to a playoff than we used to be?

Yes. Next year there's an additional game in the BCS schedule. They've gotten the Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta to agree to host another game a week after the first round. That's one half of the group.

Now they just need to convince the colleges that their teams can play a 14th game.

37
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 9:03pm

unless three of the top four teams in the polls are from non-majors.

No, some of the top 4 could be from non-majors, and some of them could not be conference champions.

You still need 3 of 4, but the problem is that you'd have to massively restructure the BCS, because you no longer could guarantee berths. Unless the playoff structure was such that the playoff was between the top 4 BCS teams (i.e. the 6 conference champions and the 2 at-large berths), which wouldn't necessarily be the teams ranked 1-4.

Which seems fine to me, actually.

38
by rk (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 9:13pm

Re: 13
As soon as the BCS started, the Rose Bowl ceased to be Big10-Pac10. Last year Texas beat Michigan. How's your heart?

39
by snik75 (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:26pm

I was going to say "who cares who the national champion is" but then I realized... everyone reading this thread does. But here's the thing... college football is so inherently unfair, that even a play-off wouldn't square it. Will Rutgers ever win a national championship? No no no, no matter what system you use. But after they go to a bowl this year, they'll feel like they did. the "recruiting" of these "amateurs" that goes on at big schools makes the idea of a level playing field a joke. As it is they rank schools with big names high and then let them play it out with the players they get from that ranking, which works ok for me.

40
by josh (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 10:08am

This is a terrible idea. It will render the "Starbucks Grande Skim No-Foam LatteBowl" almost completely meaningless.

41
by jebmak (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 11:02am

Re: #33
My complaining about the BSC is not ruining my enjoyment of the sport. I complain because there is no enjoyment. I would totally watch college football if there was a playoff, as it is, I couldn't care less because the system is so stupid. I call it the BSC for a reason.

42
by Adam (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 11:22am

Here's the problem, as I see it: a playoff only needs the top four teams to be able to say "Every team that has earned the right to be considered the best team in the country is in the tournament," but between the BCS, the strength of the conference organizations and the Bowl sponsors, the pressure is there to expand the field to eight.

43
by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 12:45pm

Adam, that's simply not true. If the BGSU Falcons go undefeated next year, they still most likely won't be in your "top four" teams as voted on by the people responsible for the integrity of figure skating, boxing, and pro-wrestling. The division they all play in is Div. 1-A, and any system you devise where a division 1-A team has zero fundamental chance to win a championship is unfair, corrupt, and flat out wrong.

This is about justice, plain and simple. If your "top four" system was so adequate, would it be okay with you if we used it in other sports? Every other level of pro or college sports realizes that their eventual champion can come from a much larger field than that. In basketball, for example, maybe we could make the NCAA tournament only invite the "top four" teams as voted on by the clueless and the corrupt? But we don't....

Those of you who allow yourselves to be used as apologists and shills for a morally bankcrupt traveshamockery are complicit in the injustice and corrumption.

Div. 1-A college football has NO national champion, and never has. There is no championship to award. No level of corruption can survive indefinitely -- they are like the last mafiosos trying in vain to hold on to their numbers and loan businesses...

Hopeless Lions Fan,
Seattle

44
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 1:13pm

Wow, HLF. "Traveshamockery". Think you've got an opinion on the subject? I can't tell.

45
by Kscottish (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 1:28pm

Or, we could just choose the national champion using DVOA ratings, since as we all know, DVOA ratings are exactly like the BCS. (snicker)

Aaron,

In the end, what do your rankings really mean? That's right, nothing. They hold no value to the final and biggest stat of all: Wins vs Losses.

46
by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 1:33pm

(smiling)

Pat -- I LOVE college football. The current system is a disgrace to us all, and yes I'm passionate about it.

47
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 1:48pm

Yah, I agree. I still think a 4-team playoff would be enough, because much as I think they're simply making an excuse, the college presidents do have a legitimate point that adding additional games to a schedule is dangerous for the kids.

48
by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 2:33pm

Pat,

Then why isn't it equally dangerous in other divisions of college football? What is it about Div 1-A that makes their games uniquely dangerous to the participants?

49
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 2:58pm

Well, my gut would say "because Div. IA has more talent than Division IAA."

Like I said, I think they're just making an excuse. But I do have to admit the possibility that they're right.

50
by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 3:27pm

More talent equals more dangerous? Interesting.

51
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 3:54pm

Well, yah. Bigger linemen, more speed, more kinetic energy at the collision. Bad things happen then, y'know.

Note that I have no idea whether or not there are more injuries at Div. IA than in other divisions. You could make an argument that the injuries are more "costly" at Div. IA since the player's future football earnings are higher, but man, that's just sick and dehumanizing.

52
by Adam (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 4:19pm

The thing is, Div I-AA et al can run their playoffs across Nov-Dec because the money isn't involved. College football is predicated upon having A Bunch Of Big Games around New Years Day, and once you do that, then any subsequent games have to stretch into January and the next academic semester.

Re BGSU: do you believe they would have any decent likelihood of beating two of the top three teams in the NCAA within two weeks?

53
by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 4:24pm

Re BGSU, I do know for a fact that they are substantially less likely to beat two big name schools in a row if never ever given that chance. Could Utah have beaten Oklahoma last year? Your guess is as good as mine, as they were denied the opportunity to compete.

America is the land of opportunity. If we operate under the pretext that Utah and BGSU are Div. 1-A programs, then what justification can we offer for excluding from them even the opportunity to compete?

As for smaller schools that have no "perceived" chance vs "big name" schools, I can cite you dozens of examples of where the small school really did beat the big name school, so clearly it can and does happen.

54
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 4:50pm

The "Presidents" saying that adding games is dangerous for the players is disingenuous given that they were advocating, and got OKed by the NCAA, adding a permanent 12th game to the schedule starting next year.

Let's face it - it's all about money, and who gets to control that money. They don't want the NCAA to control it, and they don't want non-BCS conferences to control it. All other arguments are superfluous and are simply made by the "Presidents" to try and deflect attention from the real goal.

They're afraid that if there's a playoff, that the NCAA (with its already-existing experience in hosting football playoffs) is going to take control, and therefore even if the money is higher, the BCS schools are going to get less of it than they do now, because the NCAA will take its chunk.

T.

55
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 4:58pm

There will be a playoff system when the schools are convinced that they will make more money that way. The end.

As for those who can't enjoy the sport because they don't like the playoff system, I kinda feel sorry for you. I am much like HLF in that I despise the current system, but passionately love college football (of course, I also root for a far superior team). I don't care if it's Colorado State against BYU in a meaningless regular season game, or if it's the AFC Championship game, or if it's a bunch of teens at the park in a pickup game. If it's well-played, passionate football, I love it, and who gives a rat's lower digestive tract what's on the line?

56
by Dennis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 5:52pm

Re #52: Two years ago Northern Illinois beat Maryland (ranked 13th) and Alabama (in Tuscaloosa) in the span of 3 weeks.

The major conferences don't want to let the smaller conferences in because 1. they don't want to share the money, and 2. it's a no-win situation. When an SEC team beats a MAC team, they get no credit for it, and if they lose, they get killed because nobody gives the MAC teams any credit.

As HLF said, if you're not going to give every team in I-A a shot to win the championship, then it's not a real championship.

57
by big_adventure (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 6:12pm

As for smaller schools that have no “perceived� chance vs “big name� schools, I can cite you dozens of examples of where the small school really did beat the big name school, so clearly it can and does happen.

That's not really the point - upsets happen, it's a fact of life. Do we WANT an upset in a playoff game determining the championship? Remember, football is all about "Any Given Sunday" (Saturday, Thursday, these offers not available in all conferences). It's more than clear that the best team has not always won the NFL championship. So why is everyone up in arms when the college system does not identify accurately the "best team in the country?" Remember, the NFL has had exactly ONE undefeated team (yes, I'm a 'fins fan) since they expanded past about 8 teams. Div 1A has, what, 119? Do you really WANT to eliminate the fun further than it already has been? I LOVE the fact that I can ALWAYS say the 'canes deserved a shot at the championship. Hell, people that root for unranked teams can make that claim. If you had a 16 team playoff, you wouldn't have that shot, AND you would still be unlikely to get the true best team each and every time.

Think about it - let's take USC v. UT: Is either team so much better that they would win more than 70% against the other? I don't think so. So AT BEST, you're going to get the best team winning JUST THIS GAME 70% of the time, and we all know that it is more likely in the neighborhood of 55-60% toward the better team (whichever that might be). Extend this into a "playoff" and the chances of getting the "true" best team decrease. Yes, teams get f-d' out of an appearance, but that can be seen as a GOOD THING, as mentioned above.

-Sean

58
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 6:33pm

As HLF said, if you’re not going to give every team in I-A a shot to win the championship, then it’s not a real championship.

I don't think a 4-team playoff (especially if it's the top 4 teams in the available BCS teams) really endangers any team in I-A from being left out that much.

Keep in mind that any playoff structure makes it harder for certain teams to get in over other teams. In a divisional/conference system, the relative strength of your own conference can make your path to the playoffs harder, which could mean you have a lower chance of making it than some team in a weaker conference. Playoff seeding has its own biases as well.

The big thing you want to prevent is an unbeaten team not getting into the playoff seeding. Any team with a loss can't complain, because they had a shot and failed. The only problem with this is that it encourages teams to bias their schedule, which is, of course, what they do now.

Honestly, I have no idea how to craft a "perfectly fair" system. All I know is that a 4 team playoff is way better than what we have now.

59
by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 8:09pm

Trogdor,

Just two more Saturdays to mark time... to put that in terms an OSU fan can understand, that's long enough for a football player to go to class twice, or if you prefer, long enough for an OSU player to collect two paychecks.

Go Blue!!

60
by snik75 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 12:19am

I exactly agree with Big Adventure Sean in #57. And plus - in the current system, probably 25 teams end up feeling like winners. As opposed to maybe 4 in the basetball playoffs. Why make that trade off for amatuer athletes?

61
by HLF (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 2:31pm

I dunno, snik, why do you suppose they "make that trade off" for div 2, div 3, for women's sports, for high schools, for grade schools, for volleyball, waterpolo, and every other non-mob run sport under the sun? Go figure.

62
by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 7:01pm

Pat,

But if you take any and all undefeated times, aren't you needlessly penalizing one loss teams?

If you have only one loss, and it's to the #1 team in the country, you could be anywhere from the 2nd best team in the country on down. I don't think it's fair to penalize UCLA, for example, just because they happen to be in the same conference as USC. And especially if you're going to give the spot to a mid-major team that hasn't had any real competition.