College Football playoff?

Ah, it’s about that time. This Saturday, the 1999 college football season starts. Being in Nebraska, college football is almost our state religion.

Invariably, there also comes the debate of polls vs playoffs. I was wondering what you sports fans thought about this annual debate.

Myself, I don’t think a playoff is the answer. The most common format I’ve heard is to use the bowls as playoff games. For example: round one would be the Aloha Bowl, round two would be the Sun Bowl, championship in the Rose Bowl. My problem is where are you going to find the fans that can afford to go to Honolulu, El Paso, and Pasadena (in my example) in three successive weeks? Airfare, tickets, and hotel packages would be enormously expensive. Plus, bowl locales like Miami, New Orleans, and San Diego aren’t known for budget accomodations.

The answers I’ve heard most are “real fans will do what it takes” or “it works in basketball”. Except basketball arenas don’t seat 70,000+ people.

Personally, I think the BCS system (albeit imperfect) we have now may be the best bet for getting 1 & 2 together. Most of the championship debates in the past dealt with teams that couldn’t play each other due to bowl obligations within their conferences. Now that has been corrected.

“It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument” - William McAdoo

Ah…football. I love fall. (And to get in a plug - Go Penn State!) On to the BCS.

I agree that we need a playoff of some sort - the prime case for it being the year both Nebraska and Penn State went 12-0. However, I’m not a big fan of the current BCS. It takes so much information (and they added MORE polls this year), no one can tell who’s best. And what if three teams end up undefeated at the end of the regular season? My suggestion - take the top 8 teams from the AP poll and have a playoff at the end of the year. Use the bowls they’re using for the BCS games.

And now, off to figure out my fantasy football team…

The polls are such a crock.

How in the world can a team get a high ranking before a single game is played?

College football should follow the lead of college basketball, and have regional championships, participants determined by season record, followed by a “Final Four” type national championship.

And can the polls entirely.


Chaim Mattis Keller
ckeller@schicktech.com

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

A playoff system is absolutely imposible. The kids only play 12 games or so a year, its not like they can then play 4 more in a play ff system. They’d miss too much school, and the injuries would go way up in this extended season.

Also college fans aren’t going to travel far on consecutive weeks. Basketball you have 16 teams in each arena playing in the first two rounds to fill up a much smaller venue, in the next rounds you have 4 teams, and they play two rounds in the same weekend. You can’t play a football game in less than a week.

With a 114 teams you simply need to use the ranking/poll system. This system isn’t perfect, but I think more polls is better. Nebraska never deserved to be #1 in their heyday, they didn’t play much tough competition on a regular basis. Sure they can get up for two tough games a year, but put them in a Big Ten schedule playing the likes of OSU, Michigan, PSU, Wisconsin, Purdue, and the one other team that has a great year, next add in a tough non-conference schedule inclding Miami, Arizona and Notre Dame week in and week out, and they are never better than 10-2. The more complicated BCS rankings even out the biased polls, and give the teams that statistically prove they are better against stronger competition the advantage.
The one necessary addition to the system is keeping the traditional locations for bowl games. If a Big Ten or Pac 10 team are in the top spot the championship game must be in the
Rose bowl. Too many fans have standing reservations in Pasedena for any Team who makes it, if the Big Ten is there they need to see the the best team. Same goes for the Big East and the Orange Bowl, and the Big 12 and the Sugar Bowl.

I personally liked having three teams all with a shot at the championship playing n three different games, it made for some exciting football, and suspense. With the BCS there is really only one exciting game in the bowls, that sucks. I admit it may be necessary to eliminate the ties and contraversy, but there was a upside to the old system.

And the polls are of course heavilly biased towards the “Big 6” conferences (Big 10, ACC, SEC, Beast, Pac 10, Big 12) and Notre Dame, and largely ignore the rest of Div I-A (WAC, Mountain West, MAC, Big West, C-USA and various other “independant” teams) to the point where these conferences have been called “I-A and a half.” Under the modern polling system, no national champion has ever been culled from these conferences, and it is rare, especially in the case of the MAC and the Big West, for any of these teams to make the rankings. It’s a “catch-22” If you don’t have a strong schedule, you don’t make the poll; and if you don’t make the poll good teams won’t play you. Under earlier versions of the BCS (Bowl Alliance, etc.) and I believe also under the current one, only the Big 6 conferences have a realistic shot at the title. WAC and Mountain West teams have an outside shot, while MAC and Big West teams might as well not even be IN division I-A.

So what is the solution for a national chamiponship: Let there BE no national championship beyond the polls. The BCS is no more fair than the pre-1991 system was, since it depends on polls to say who #1 and #2 are. It adds nothing to the old system, and only serves to bar from contention further the 1/2 of the Div I-A schools that still have no chance. Even if North Texas University went undefeated for the next 5 years (not likely, but possible) it would never warrant a post in the BCS or a #1 poll ranking, since even DESPITE this record, “Big 6” teams would by-and-large still refuse to play them. In a season that is AT MOST 13 games long, and in which we must give bowls their due, we should content ourselves with, under that kind of restriction, only crowning conference champions and bowl victors, with a nod to the poll #1s also.

I am not saying that division I-A needs a playoff system like Div I-AA, Div II and Div III all have, but if we want to crown a truely non-controversial national champ, our only recourse is to abolish the bowls and go to a 16 team tourney, with 11 conference champs and 5 at-large bids. If you want to keep the bowls and make them meaningful, then you are stuck with no true “champion.” In this situation more than any other, you really cannot have your cake and eat it too.


Jason R Remy

“No amount of legislation can solve America’s problems.”
– Jimmy Carter (1980)

Polls? God, I hate the current system… They can all suck my poll!

All of the arguments against a playoff ring hollow. The current system is a joke - the loser of Penn State against Arizona the first week of the season is pretty much out of the picture for the national Championship, and that is fucked up.

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Actually, jason, BYU was crowned national champion by both polls in 1984. In modern history no non-Big 6 team has won a national championship because no non-Big 6 team has deserved to win a national championship. Personally, I’d kind of like to see Division 1A football get rid of some of the dead weight. A reorganization of some of the minor conferences (this includes the Big Least) would be a welcome change. And getting rid of the chronically worst teams (Temple, N. Ill, Big West among others) in Div 1A would fix some of the problem.

The current system of polls and BCS is a load of crap. The only way to settle it is to have a playoff. Div 1AA already has a playoff, so stop telling us that there’s no way the kids can handle it. 8 teams is enough to start with, but 16 would be ideal.

TheDude

Good point, Satan. Also remember that a team can WIN in a given week, and if they didn’t win by “enough,” they go down in the polls. Example: Michigan plays Schlomo State. Michigan wins, but it’s not a blowout. They’ll probably go DOWN in the polls. What a crock.

This is only due to the undeniable fact that no non-Big 6 team has been given the oportunity to prove their worth. The occasional WAC team aside, over the past 20 years or so, there have been numerous teams that have deserved the national championship but were denied merely for lack of opportunity. Marshall has had some undeniably strong talent since joining I-A a few years ago; Louisiana Tech has been a perenial source of dominating players and teams, and there are lots of examples beyond these. No one can be certain if La. Tech could beat Michigan and Nebraska and Penn State and Florida in any given year because they never have the opportunity to play any of these teams. The only recourse is one of two:

A playoff system which would allow access equally to all conferences. The at-large bids could even be weighted to previous years conference stregth; if the MAC champ makes the finals, then the 2nd and 3rd place MAC teams get greater consideration for future atlarge berths. If the Big West continually loses in teh first round, the decrease their chance of sending a second team. But at least it would allow for greater access to hertofore maligned conferences

Or, you could further subdivide division I into 3 divisions: I-A, I-B, and I-C (I still think that A, AA, and AAA are silly, but the designations are ultimately moot). The top 6 division I divisions based on recent bowl game performance are allowed in I-A, the next 7 or so in I-B, and the rest in I-C. Indepentant teams can lobby for consideration based on other factors as well. Every 5 years or so you have a review of conference strength. The worst conference in each division gets relegated, while the best in each division gets promoted. Team schedules are approved by the NCAA such that there are a minimum of 4 non-conference games in the regular season, and across the 5 year span, a teams non-conference matchups should be evenly spread across all of the conferences in a division. Non-conference matchups are based on previous year’s performance. Thus, in theory every division I school (even I-C) would have a shot at making the national chamipionship over time.


Jason R Remy

“No amount of legislation can solve America’s problems.”
– Jimmy Carter (1980)

I’m all for thinning out the herd a bit. One problem is the elitist attitude the remaining teams would develop.

Heres a concept. Create a new Division. You’d have Div I-A, Div I-B (or AA if you’d like)…I’m gonna quit now becaus eI checked back and jayron basicaly proposed my exact idea. Great minds…

To elaborate on the system a bit. I think that certain I-A teams must be given permanent legacy status. I mean most of the Big Ten (yes even Illinois and Northwestern), Notre Dame, USC, UCLA, Nebraska, the strong ACC and SEC teams. These teams make college football what it is. Many teams however should need to earn their D I-A status. If the thinned out D I-A, minus the Wyomings, Northern Ills, Temples, UABs, and Hawaiis, had a system where they needed to maintain a 25% winning percentage over a 4 year span or something. If they fell below that mark they were demoted to D I-AA (or B), and then vice versa they needed to achive a 75% winning percentage over 2 years (for demoted teams) or 4 years (for new entries) to be moved into the D I-A. Use this system all the way down the line so that even the Prarie Bluff’s have a shot at D I-A someday. To give the lower teams an opportunity pass a rule that requires every D I-A team must play one or two D I-AA teams each year.

Using this system you could lower the number of conferences, get rid of the MEAC, and the Big West etc. Move the quality teams to the remaining conferences and raise the Big 12 to a higher level. This makes a plyoff system a bit more realistic in that you don’t have the MEAC champ stealing a spot from the third place Big Ten team (who is likely ranked in the top ten).

The main trick is maintaining the rivalries and regional conflicts. As long as the bowls are used to possibly determine the at large bids, and make some of the crappy bowls the conference title games. You could still have bowls that are important and exciting.

What am i missing?

I hate the current poll system, but don’t expect it to go away any time soon. You have to understand that, if a flawed system endures a long time, SOMEBODY must be benefitting from it. WHo?

Well… the great majority of college football coaches and college Athletic Directors like the current system waaay better than the idea of a playoff. Oh, they’ll SWEAR to you it’s because they worry about the toll a playoff would take on players’ grades (yeah, we really believe THAT), but there’s a more plausible reason: if there’s a playoff system, only ONE team wins, and the coaches of ALL the other teams look like losers. Under the current system, DOZENS of coaches get to go to bowl games, and have a chance to end the season on a high note. Hey, if you’re a coach in the 5th year of his contract, and your job is on the line, a victory in the Poulan Weedeater Bowl might be just what it takes to save your hide and your job for one more season!

Now, the MAIN reason the polls are such a joke is this: even IF the coaches and sportswriters who vote are intelligent, honorable guys who make a real effort to cast good votes (and most of them probably are), these guys have NO IDEA whether last year’s sophomores and redshirt freshmen are ready to step up and perform well this year! They don’t REALLY know how strong Ohio State’s defense will be without Andy Katzenmoyer! They don’t REALLY know how the Texas offense will perform without Ricky WIlliams! They’ve never seen UCLA’s new quarterback play, and have no idea whether or not he can carry Cade McNown’s jock strap!

So, when they cast their pre-season votes, what are they basing it on? Nothing much- just hunches, and past performance. Sportswriters play it very safe at this time of the year, and tend to vote for teams that are perennially. They think, “Well, Florida State is a strong program year in and year out, so… what the hell, vote for Florida State as #1 And Penn State is always good… Penn State #2 Let’s see… well, Nebraska is due for a comeback, let’s make Nebraska #3…” It’s guesswork, folks, nothing more, nothing less. Frankly, I don’t think championships should EVER come down to ANYONE’s opinion (including mine). But even if you LIKE the idea of polls, at LEAST postpone voting until week 5 or 6, when we’ve had a chance to SEE teams play!

Another thing that makes the polls a joke is this: SUPPOSE voters assume that Florida State and Ohio State are a powerhouse and rate them #1 and #2 at the start of the season. Then, suppose they ASSUME TCU is weak, and rank TCU #50. Over the course of the season, Florida State and Ohio State go undefeated, but so does TCU. At the end of the season, Fla. St. and Ohio St. will STILL be ranked #1 and #2, and face off in the championship game, while TCU will barely have worked its way into the top ten! In other words, the championship game is a self-fulfilling prophecy! Fla. State and Ohio State are playing for the championship BECAUSE the sportswriters BELIEVED they would, before they had any intelligent reason to! Meanwhile, TCU is out of the hunt BECAUSE the reporters were wrong about their abilities all along!

Not to get picky, but the MEAC is the Mid-Eastern Athlectic Conference, a HBCU conference that plays in Div I-AA and is located in teh mid atlantic and northern-south reason. MEAC schools include Bethune-Cookman, Del State, Morgan State, SC State, NC A&T, etc. etc,

The MAC (Mid-American Conference) is a Div I-A conference that covers an area roughly analagous to the Big-10 (midwestern schools). Tradition MAC schools are Bowling Green, Ball State, Ohio University, Miami University of Ohio, Toledo. Recent additions include Marshall, Buffalo, and Northern Illinois.

Not to be picky, of course…


Jason R Remy

“No amount of legislation can solve America’s problems.”
– Jimmy Carter (1980)

Yeah, I am still in March Madness mode, and the MEAC seemed like an obsure conference. I stand corrected.

Omni asks “What am I missing?”

Well, scheduling, for one thing. Schools schedule their games 4-6 years ahead of time. If you “promote” a school to I-A, it will be, even with schedule shuffling, 2-4 years before they play a true I-A schedule. Since the NCAA requires 6 (has it been raised to 7?) victories against I-A opponents to qualify for bowl consideration, the promoted school would be out of the picture for the first 2-4 years. Conversely, demoting a I-A team will screw the schedule of their opponents who remain I-A, possibly costing them bowl consideration. Sounds like a lot of unhappy coaches, players, alumni, and fans.


The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

The ability of a given sports team to beat an opposing team once (as in a playoff) means very little. Only in baseball, where teams play each other several times before advancing to the next stage in the tournament, does a playoff tend to mean what folks think it means. If Florida State loses 13-10 to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl after each has gone 11-0, so what? That’s one out of one. They could rematch the following Monday and Florida State might come back with a 21-14 win.

In light of that, I’m opposed to a playoff system. It would end up like basketball and pro football, where the regular season is about as relevant as warmup antics and ONLY the championship tournament counts for anything.

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Satan said:
[All of the arguments against a playoff ring hollow. The current system is a joke - the loser of Penn State against Arizona the first week of the season is pretty much out of the picture for the national Championship, and that is fucked up.]

So a team that loses is more deserving of a National championship than a team that wins all of thier games?


Lowry Stiles…
“The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

The Dude said:
[The current system of polls and BCS is a load of crap. The only way to settle it is to have a playoff. Div 1AA already has a playoff, so stop telling us that there’s no way the kids can handle it. 8 teams is enough to start with, but 16 would be ideal.]

But the Div1-AA playoffs are determined by polls as well.


Lowry Stiles…
“The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Falcon said:
[Good point, Satan. Also remember that a team can WIN in a given week, and if they didn’t win by “enough,” they go down in the polls. Example: Michigan plays Schlomo State. Michigan wins, but it’s not a blowout. They’ll probably go DOWN in the polls. What a crock.]

But also remember that with the BCS, it is an AVERAGE of the two major polls and several computer polls. While not winning by a large margin may affect your BCS numbers, it shouldn’t be enough to drop you unless a more deserving team played better.


Lowry Stiles…
“The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Jayron 32 said:
[No one can be certain if La. Tech could beat Michigan and Nebraska and Penn State and Florida in any given year because they never have the opportunity to play any of these teams.]

If you really believe that LaTech could have beaten any of the National Champions of the past decade, then I will have to request you admit yourself to the local asylum.

Now it may be a shame that LaTech or Tulane play in a sub-par conference, but that doesn’t mean that if they have a good season based on inferior opponents that they are ready to take on the big boys.


Lowry Stiles…
“The beatings will continue until morale improves.”