Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Jun 2012

ESPN: If There Had Been A Playoff

The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee officially approved the plans for a four-team college football playoff beginning with the 2014 season. The participating teams will be selected by committee and the BCS formula will soon become extinct.

Though the new process will not be the same as the BCS, we can use former BCS final standings as a guide to retroactively project how a four-team playoff may have played out in recent seasons. The SEC has been on an unprecedented run of late, winning each of the last six national championship games. Under the new format, the SEC would have continued to dominate in terms of participation, but the likelihood of any conference winning the playoff six years in a row wouldn't have been very likely.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 27 Jun 2012

3 comments, Last at 29 Jun 2012, 5:02pm by TeeKay


by Guido Merkens :: Wed, 06/27/2012 - 3:22pm

The playoff's main detriment to the SEC, it seems, is that it lessens the impact of the unofficial "SEC schedule" tiebreaker. Lately poll voters have been trapped into the notion that SEC teams are good because, well, they play other SEC teams. *facepalm*

Often several one-loss teams will be compared to determine one or both spots in the championship game. If poll voters favor SEC teams, then in a single-championship-game format they have the ability to shut other conferences out completely. But in a four-team playoff, the SEC teams must actually PROVE they are better than those from other conferences, rather than just being anointed as such.

by TV_Pete (not verified) :: Thu, 06/28/2012 - 8:21am

I think the top of the SEC has done a fairly decent job PROVING they have been better the past few years.

Personally, I'm fine with a variety of factors to be considered when deciding who may be among the best. Close to the top of these are unbiased results, such as Sagarin Predictor/Ranking and FEI, which reward playing against quality opponents and lessen the benefit to playing easy opponents (which is a perceived problem for many SEC teams).

by TeeKay (not verified) :: Fri, 06/29/2012 - 5:02pm

The SEC got lucky some of those years, facing ohio state and big 12 teams that usc wouldve pounded just as easily.