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Old 11-25-2019, 11:58 AM
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NCAA/College Football Playoff Rankings- rhyme or reason?


So after a long time keeping up with college football, I've often wondered what sort of rhyme, reason or relationship to reality the various polls have.

They're rife with bandwagon-ism, wishful thinking, insanity and other nonsense.

I mean, in what fantasy world do these writers think that Memphis, at 10-1 in the AAC should be ranked at 17th versus Oklahoma State at 8-3 in the Big 12 who are ranked 21st? Or unranked Iowa State, Texas A&M and Virginia? Is someone really thinking that Memphis could actually line up and beat Oklahoma State without a significant dose of luck?

Or, how did 4th ranked Georgia stay put in 4th place despite beating a 24th ranked Texas A&M by 6 points, while Texas A&M dropped out of the polls entirely? That seems kind of bizarre to me that Georgia didn't drop a little,a

Is there any kind of rhyme or reason, or is it just basically what the writers/committee members feel on any given Sunday morning?
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:35 PM
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There's very little rhyme or reason to it, in my opinion. In some cases the strength of schedule seems to come into play (your example of Memphis) while in others it doesn't (Utah). That's why, in my opinion, if they're gonna do a playoff they should do it right, like in the FCS. Not the sissy 4 teams like they do, now.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:45 PM
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A lot of it is team/conference dick-swinging. Every spot you knock down a team from another conference, the lower the strength of schedule for everybody who played them, and their conference in general, becomes.
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:00 PM
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I think part of it is that there are so many teams and so many games that the people voting don’t see them all. If they are watch Auburn trounce LSU in epic fashion they’ll raise their rank. If Oregon beats up on UCLA, and does so through some ridiculously good plays, if they didn’t see it they just see that one team beat another team with this score and ignore what actually happened in the game itself.

I think of it like MVP voting in the NFL. It’s highly subjective and if you had a lot more than 32 teams then some deserving QBs might not get due consideration.

Last edited by Atamasama; 11-25-2019 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:16 PM
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I think after the top 10, it's really hard for journalists or coaches to rank them. I mean, how do you decide who's #14 or #18?

Nowadays, it really only the Top 4 that really matter, and usually shakes itself out by the end.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:35 AM
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There's definitely a caste system in the playoffs. Some teams are eliminated before the first kickoff, no way in hell that you're ever going to see an MAC or Sun Belt team in the CFP. Some teams have to go 12-0 to have a prayer of getting in, that would be the "no-name" teams of the Power 5. Think Northwestern, North Carolina, or Vanderbilt. Your "name" teams of the Power 5 will get in with a loss, and some (like Alabama or Florida) need 3 losses to put the nail in the coffin.

I'd like to see the playoff go to 16 teams. Each of the ten FBS conference champions should get an automatic berth, and the other 6 teams selected by committee among the also rans and independents. Play round 1 just before Christmas, round 2 around New Years, the semis in mid January and the finals in early February. First round can be at the sites of the higher seeded teams. Second round in the traditional bowls.
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by BobLibDem View Post
There's definitely a caste system in the playoffs. Some teams are eliminated before the first kickoff, no way in hell that you're ever going to see an MAC or Sun Belt team in the CFP. Some teams have to go 12-0 to have a prayer of getting in, that would be the "no-name" teams of the Power 5. Think Northwestern, North Carolina, or Vanderbilt. Your "name" teams of the Power 5 will get in with a loss, and some (like Alabama or Florida) need 3 losses to put the nail in the coffin.

I'd like to see the playoff go to 16 teams. Each of the ten FBS conference champions should get an automatic berth, and the other 6 teams selected by committee among the also rans and independents. Play round 1 just before Christmas, round 2 around New Years, the semis in mid January and the finals in early February. First round can be at the sites of the higher seeded teams. Second round in the traditional bowls.
Nailed it!
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:27 PM
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I could support that, but to avoid the season getting ridiculously long, you’d need to lose the stupid divisions and conference championship games and decide conference champs based on regular season records as God intended.

To the OP, I dunno. Theoretically the people on the committee are football experts who watch every game carefully. I’m not and don’t, so I have a hard time declaring that my opinion is as good as theirs, even if their decisions often seem odd to me.

And to the OP’s specific example, I think the level of play in the Big 12 is a lot closer to the AAC than it is to the SEC, so I don’t have a problem with those rankings at all.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:45 PM
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I think their biggest blind spot is ignoring strength of nonconference schedule. Alabama is still close to the top 4 despite not having beaten ANY good teams, and not scheduling any non-cupcakes. A few years ago, IIRC, Stanford won the PAC 12, but got no playoff consideration because they had two losses, one of them in September to a good Northwestern team. I guess they should have been like Alabama and scheduled some community college instead, then they would have had only one loss and been right in the conversation. I’d like to see a system that doesn’t discourage teams from scheduling games that fans might actually want to watch.

Last edited by Thing Fish; 11-27-2019 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 11-28-2019, 12:05 AM
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In the end only the top four matter with the current system. The question of where to go from here is more a matter of preference. Should the NCAA be trying to crown a champion, or which team is the best team? In the case of the former, then a larger playoff would be appropriate. If we want to determine which team is actually the best, however, I think 4 to 6 teams at the most would be better. Currently Oregon, Auburn, and Notre Dame are 14-16th. One of them could get lucky and win a playoff. That doesn’t mean those three are better than LSU, Clemson, or Ohio State.

The classic example is the 2007 New York Giants. They finished 10-6 and were very lucky to limp into the playoffs with a point differential of +22. Even though they beat the previously undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl, I doubt many people would argue that they were actually the better team. The same thing would happen on occasion in the NCAAF with an expanded playoff. My preference is to keep the field small to try to determine which team is actually the best.
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Old 11-28-2019, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue View Post
The classic example is the 2007 New York Giants. They finished 10-6 and were very lucky to limp into the playoffs with a point differential of +22. Even though they beat the previously undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl, I doubt many people would argue that they were actually the better team. The same thing would happen on occasion in the NCAAF with an expanded playoff. My preference is to keep the field small to try to determine which team is actually the best.
The trouble is that we don't get the best four, we get those with the best reputation. Alabama has to lose AT LEAST two games not to get in. They feast on cupcakes and are virtually guaranteed a berth. Clemson has one of the pussiest schedules in CFB and fucking nearly lost to UNC, but they're going to get in after playing exactly one game against a currently rated team all year. I think if you don't play a non-conference game on the road against a quality opponent, you shouldn't be eligible.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:01 AM
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The trouble is that we don't get the best four, we get those with the best reputation.
Well, it's all about perceptions, right? But I think you're absolutely correct that the "name" schools will always get the benefit of the doubt in this regard. (I happen to think that that's the case in college basketball, as well)
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Alabama has to lose AT LEAST two games not to get in.
Unfortunately, I couldn't agree with this more (that's why I'm REALLY hoping that Auburn wins this year's "Iron Bowl").
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They feast on cupcakes and are virtually guaranteed a berth.
Well, I'm sure fans of 'bama in particular or fans of the S.E.C. in general would argue that "since ours is the toughest conference, even the top teams in the SEC can't be blamed for scheduling the likes of Samford or of 'Northwest Florida Tech' as 'breaks' from the otherwise arduous schedule of S.E.C. football teams."
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Clemson has one of the pussiest schedules in CFB and fucking nearly lost to UNC, but they're going to get in after playing exactly one game against a currently rated team all year.
You expect anything different given that Clemson is the defending champion and came into this season highly rated?
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I think if you don't play a non-conference game on the road against a quality opponent, you shouldn't be eligible.
Okay.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:35 AM
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I could support that, but to avoid the season getting ridiculously long, you’d need to lose the stupid divisions
The NCAA mandated that for conferences to be able to split into divisions. . .
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and conference championship games
. . .and have a conference championship game they have to have at least 12 member schools.
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and decide conference champs based on regular season records as God intended.
But for some reason they've made an exception for the Big XII Conference (which is really the "Big X" right now) by allowing it to hold a "conference championship game" even though every team in that conference already plays every other team in that conference once per season.

Football is the ONE sport where I think it's okay to have a conference championship game since the season isn't long enough for each team to play every other team in any conference that has more than 10 member schools. But I don't understand why the Big XII (X) is exempted from the rule. The only thing I can think of is that the NCAA wanted to bring back to that conference whatever supposed "prestige" comes along with holding a conference championship game that it lost when Nebraska and Colorado "defected." But I wouldn't have given them that exemption. Every team in that conference plays every other team once per season. As you opined, when that happens that should be enough to determine the conference champion without cheapening things to the point where two teams that already met (in this case, OU and Baylor just a couple of weeks ago) have to meet again in a "championship game" that's nothing more than a matter of timing and branding.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:22 PM
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The NCAA mandated that for conferences to be able to split into divisions. . .. . .and have a conference championship game they have to have at least 12 member schools. But for some reason they've made an exception for the Big XII Conference (which is really the "Big X" right now) by allowing it to hold a "conference championship game" even though every team in that conference already plays every other team in that conference once per season.

Football is the ONE sport where I think it's okay to have a conference championship game since the season isn't long enough for each team to play every other team in any conference that has more than 10 member schools. But I don't understand why the Big XII (X) is exempted from the rule. The only thing I can think of is that the NCAA wanted to bring back to that conference whatever supposed "prestige" comes along with holding a conference championship game that it lost when Nebraska and Colorado "defected." But I wouldn't have given them that exemption. Every team in that conference plays every other team once per season. As you opined, when that happens that should be enough to determine the conference champion without cheapening things to the point where two teams that already met (in this case, OU and Baylor just a couple of weeks ago) have to meet again in a "championship game" that's nothing more than a matter of timing and branding.
Well, what happened was the Big XII got screwed without a championship game in the first year of the playoff. TCU was ranked 4th and blew out Iowa State in the final game of the regular season, then sat and watched the conference championship games. After that they got passed by an Ohio State team that had a bad loss to a bad Virginia Tech team on their record. The playoff committee’s justification was a made-up “13th data point” for those conference championship games.So the Big XII got approval for their own title game, seeing as how the playoff committee had created a requirement for such out of thin air.

(Odd, though, that this 13th data point didn’t seem to matter the year that Alabama made the playoff without even winning their division, and therefore not playing in the SEC championship. I guess different conferences get different rules ... and for the fans claiming the SEC is “so tough they deserve the break to play cupcakes late in the season,” you do realize SEC teams only play 8 conference games, while pretty much every other conference plays 9?)
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:53 PM
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Well, what happened was the Big XII got screwed without a championship game in the first year of the playoff. TCU was ranked 4th and blew out Iowa State in the final game of the regular season, then sat and watched the conference championship games. After that they got passed by an Ohio State team that had a bad loss to a bad Virginia Tech team on their record. The playoff committee’s justification was a made-up “13th data point” for those conference championship games.So the Big XII got approval for their own title game, seeing as how the playoff committee had created a requirement for such out of thin air.
A great argument on the side of "there should be more teams in the playoff."

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(Odd, though, that this 13th data point didn’t seem to matter the year that Alabama made the playoff without even winning their division, and therefore not playing in the SEC championship. I guess different conferences get different rules ...
Not just different conferences. . .different teams. You think an unbeaten Oklahoma or Texas would've been leapfrogged by Ohio State in the given scenario?
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and for the fans claiming the SEC is “so tough they deserve the break to play cupcakes late in the season,” you do realize SEC teams only play 8 conference games, while pretty much every other conference plays 9?)
I'm not from S.E.C. country but I'm pretty sure that if you tried to advance that argument with anybody from that part of the country that it would fall on deaf ears. Personally I DO believe that the top 4 or 5 football teams from the S.E.C., in any given year, are better than the top 4 or 5 football teams that you can find in any other conference. Too bad there isn't a *true* national playoff to prove that.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:56 PM
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Well, what happened was the Big XII got screwed without a championship game in the first year of the playoff. TCU was ranked 4th and blew out Iowa State in the final game of the regular season, then sat and watched the conference championship games. After that they got passed by an Ohio State team that had a bad loss to a bad Virginia Tech team on their record. The playoff committee’s justification was a made-up “13th data point” for those conference championship games.So the Big XII got approval for their own title game, seeing as how the playoff committee had created a requirement for such out of thin air.
A great argument on the side of "there should be more teams in the playoff."
IMO, it is a great argument on the side of "the idea of a playoff is idiotic." You are always going to have people chime in with "But, if only...". The season ends when the season ends. Whoever did the best over the season is the best. It's not that tough of a concept. Post-season play is just exhibition play.
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(Odd, though, that this 13th data point didn’t seem to matter the year that Alabama made the playoff without even winning their division, and therefore not playing in the SEC championship. I guess different conferences get different rules ...
Not just different conferences. . .different teams. You think an unbeaten Oklahoma or Texas would've been leapfrogged by Ohio State in the given scenario?
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and for the fans claiming the SEC is “so tough they deserve the break to play cupcakes late in the season,” you do realize SEC teams only play 8 conference games, while pretty much every other conference plays 9?)
I'm not from S.E.C. country but I'm pretty sure that if you tried to advance that argument with anybody from that part of the country that it would fall on deaf ears.
No lie. LSU's schedule had them playing 4 top teams this year, and they beat them all. Any other team in Division I even play 4 top ten teams? I'm not an LSU fan, by any means, but that is a bit more impressive than OSU's performance.
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Personally I DO believe that the top 4 or 5 football teams from the S.E.C., in any given year, are better than the top 4 or 5 football teams that you can find in any other conference. Too bad there isn't a *true* national playoff to prove that.
This would have a bit more credibility if the BCS or CFP systems did anything to REDUCE the controversy on who had the best team. All it has done is make excuses for lesser performing teams not making the cut. If there was no "cut", then the teams would have to stand on their record, not their post-season performance. Yeah, I know, un-American...
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:04 PM
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It's going to be rough this year because #1 is going to get someone like Utah, while #2 gets Clemson.

Man, LSU just put the wood to a decent A&M team. Can we just skip the BS and go straight to LSU-OSU?

So glad Alabama lost.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:47 PM
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IMO, it is a great argument on the side of "the idea of a playoff is idiotic." You are always going to have people chime in with "But, if only...". The season ends when the season ends. Whoever did the best over the season is the best. It's not that tough of a concept. Post-season play is just exhibition play.
I disagree. College football schedules are so unbalanced and the relative strength of different conferences is so uneven that there's no definitive way of comparing teams without having them play against one another. Reminds me of something that Pete Carroll said when he was still at USC when things were coming to "crunch time" one season and his Trojans were looking to be excluded from national championship consideration: "Are we talking about the best teams or the teams with the best records?"
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No lie. LSU's schedule had them playing 4 top teams this year, and they beat them all. Any other team in Division I even play 4 top ten teams? I'm not an LSU fan, by any means, but that is a bit more impressive than OSU's performance.
I'm just sayin' you take the top 4 or 5 S.E.C. teams in any given year and compare them to the top 4 or 5 teams from any other conference and tell me how you think they compare. So this year let's say you pick LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Florida from the S.E.C. Then let's say you take Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan, and Minnesota from the Big Fourteen (to my mind the 2nd best football conference this season). Now - in a round-robin tournament in which every top team from the S.E.C. were to play every top team from the other conference which 5 do you think would do better, hm? (to me trying to argue that the Big XII [X], the A.C.C., or the Pac-12 have 5 teams that compare to either of those two conferences' top 5 this season is a fool's errand)
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This would have a bit more credibility if the BCS or CFP systems did anything to REDUCE the controversy on who had the best team. All it has done is make excuses for lesser performing teams not making the cut. If there was no "cut", then the teams would have to stand on their record, not their post-season performance. Yeah, I know, un-American...
The problem, in my view, is that there simply aren't enough teams in the playoff. I mean, there are 5 so-called "Power" conferences and as it stands right now at least one "Power" conference champion is guaranteed to be excluded from the playoff every single year. If Notre Dame makes it then you're down to 3 "Power" conferences, at most, represented in the playoff. If Notre Dame and a 2nd team from one conference (for the sake of argument, let's again say the S.E.C.) make it into the playoff then you've got only two conferences represented in the playoff. How's that fair?
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:53 PM
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I say you take the 6 top ranked conference champions so at least one non-Power 5 school makes it then 2 top ranked wild cards for 8 total.
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:21 AM
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I disagree. College football schedules are....
Reminds me of ... "Are we talking about the best teams or the teams with the best records?"
Huh... I thought we were talking about the teams with the best SEASON. Sure, college schedules can be unbalanced; this is because large number of schools involved and the benefits for schools to play local opponents. Local schols are drawing (mainly) from the same talent pool of players, who are only teenagers. They're not seasoned professionals, just kids. That means they will make mistakes. They hold personal grudges against teammates they may have played against in the previous year of two or have allegiance to opponents who used to be teammates. Part of what separates a great team from the also-rans is how they deal with these mistakes and turn snot-nosed kids into dependable, well-functioning adults.

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...The problem, in my view, is that there simply aren't enough teams in the playoff.
No, the problem is that there IS a playoff. When you create a playoff system, you cheapen the importance of the season. Let's assume OSU beats Wisconsin. Would there be any question that OSU was the best team in the Big 10? How about if Wisconsin beats OSU? There is no doubt that Wisconsin would be the Big 10 Champs, but many would say that OSU, with the better record, was the better team, despite losing the championship game, which they would say was unfair. After all, the Buckeyes had already beat the Badgers during the season. But, the Badgers get the ring. Buckeyes don't like it, they can try harder next year (Actually, I suspect the Buckeyes would also get a ring, kind of a "participation trophy"). Now, that is how their conference is structured, so it isn't all that unfair, but, it does make OSUs performance during the regular season irrelevant. The more teams involved in the playoff, the more irrelevant the regular season becomes.

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I mean, there are 5 so-called "Power" confetrences and as it stands right now at least one "Power" conference champion is guaranteed to be excluded from the playoff every single year. If Notre Dame makes it then you're down to 3 "Power" conferences, at most, represented in the playoff. If Notre Dame and a 2nd team from one conference (for the sake of argument, let's again say the S.E.C.) make it into the playoff then you've got only two conferences represented in the playoff. How's that fair?
My point, exactly! It's not fair and you can't make it more fair by increasing the number of lesser teams involved. Even a one-game playoff to determine a conference champion can be unfair. If Georgia should beat LSU, then the Bulldogs are top dog in the SEC and the Tigers go away, licking their wounds. Don't like it Tigers? Learn to play as well in Atlanta as you do in Baton Rouge and it won't be an issue. But giving the Tigers a chance to play for a "National Championship" despite losing to Georgia would not make it "more fair".

Here's an idea. Why not let people knowledgeable about the sport rank the teams? You could have two groups, maybe one made up of the coaches, who know more about what is going on between the teams than anyone else, and another made up of journalists, who follow the teams and report on the results. By comparing the two lists, you could get a pretty good idea who the best teams are, at least who is considered best by people who know more about it than you do.

Last edited by excavating (for a mind); 12-04-2019 at 10:24 AM. Reason: spellin'
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:31 PM
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Huh... I thought we were talking about the teams with the best SEASON.
So how is that supposed to be measured? I, for one, don't buy the argument that a team that goes 12 - 0 in a conference like the Mountain West is necessarily better than a one- or even a two-loss team from the S.E.C. or the Big Fourteen. But I can't say for sure that they AREN'T better than a team from a more well-regarded conference any more than you or anybody else can say that they are. The solution? Have them play against one another to find out. (But not using only one game to determine the national champion for a team like that. I'm all for a team like, say, Boise State's making it to the national championship game, but only after they've knocked off at least 2 and preferably 3 top teams from other conferences to get there (in much the same way that Butler University's basketball team made it to consecutive national championship games a few years ago).
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Sure, college schedules can be unbalanced;
So are N.F.L. schedules. The difference is that who makes the playoffs in the pros is based very concretely on a team's record (and sometimes, as I've noted elsewhere, on whether or not a team wins its division) while in college it's based partly on teams' records but also on the perception of those teams by those who determine who will be invited to participate in the playoff (as the earlier example in this thread of an unbeaten TCU squad being passed over in favor of a one-loss Ohio State team at the end of the season would illustrate).

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No, the problem is that there IS a playoff. When you create a playoff system, you cheapen the importance of the season. Let's assume OSU beats Wisconsin. Would there be any question that OSU was the best team in the Big 10? How about if Wisconsin beats OSU? There is no doubt that Wisconsin would be the Big 10 Champs, but many would say that OSU, with the better record, was the better team, despite losing the championship game, which they would say was unfair. After all, the Buckeyes had already beat the Badgers during the season. But, the Badgers get the ring. Buckeyes don't like it, they can try harder next year (Actually, I suspect the Buckeyes would also get a ring, kind of a "participation trophy"). Now, that is how their conference is structured, so it isn't all that unfair, but, it does make OSUs performance during the regular season irrelevant. The more teams involved in the playoff, the more irrelevant the regular season becomes.
I couldn't disagree with you more on this. A big reason why we went to a BCS and then to a CFP is because 3 times in 8 seasons (1990, 1991, and 1997) there was no "national champion" in college football. There were co-champions. And why was that? It was because those who vote on such things couldn't come to a consensus in those 3 seasons as to which the better of two very good teams was and because those teams never met on the field.

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My point, exactly! It's not fair and you can't make it more fair by increasing the number of lesser teams involved. Even a one-game playoff to determine a conference champion can be unfair. If Georgia should beat LSU, then the Bulldogs are top dog in the SEC and the Tigers go away, licking their wounds. Don't like it Tigers? Learn to play as well in Atlanta as you do in Baton Rouge and it won't be an issue. But giving the Tigers a chance to play for a "National Championship" despite losing to Georgia would not make it "more fair".

Here's an idea. Why not let people knowledgeable about the sport rank the teams? You could have two groups, maybe one made up of the coaches, who know more about what is going on between the teams than anyone else, and another made up of journalists, who follow the teams and report on the results. By comparing the two lists, you could get a pretty good idea who the best teams are, at least who is considered best by people who know more about it than you do.
I really don't understand how you come to the conclusion that a vote is better than having a more inclusive playoff. Voting on the national champion was done for decades and while doing so was great for "water fountain debates" as to which were truly the best teams, to me, people thinking that voting on such things wasn't really adequate is why the BCS was created. Then people believing that picking only TWO teams to square off for the national title wasn't really fair, either, so the BCS became the CFP. You see where this is going? If it were up to me I'd make it a 20-team tournament with seeds 13 through 16 hosting seeds 20 through 17 (respectively) in the first round with the Round of 16 and beyond played in regular bowl games (i.e. at neutral sites) and I'd try to keep teams from the same conference apart for as long as possible (I'd make an exception for teams from different divisions of the same conference who didn't play each other during the regular season that year. Such as Georgia and Alabama or Michigan and Minnesota this year, for example). If I'm not mistaken the FCS playoffs involve 20 teams so it's obviously a workable solution. At the very least I would increase the number of teams to 16 to give the best chance of including any credible claimants to the national title plus the champions of "lesser" conferences.
  #22  
Old 12-04-2019, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by excavating (for a mind) View Post
Any other team in Division I even play 4 top ten teams? I'm not an LSU fan, by any means, but that is a bit more impressive than OSU's performance.
Actually Texas A&M did- we played 2 #1 teams (Clemson, Alabama), a #2 (LSU), a #4 (Georgia), a #8 (Auburn), for a total of five top 10 teams.

Granted, we didn't beat any of them, but we did play Auburn and Georgia pretty well.
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