NCAA Football playoff thread

Wow, tough crowd. So because Oregon lost by a late field goal to a Cam Newton-led team in the 2011 BCS championship, and because OSU scored the same number of points against Oregon as they did the previous week against Alabama in the 2014 playoff, West Coast teams can’t play? What about blowing out FSU 59-20 the week before, when FSU hadn’t been beaten by the rough tough southern teams in two years?

This shit has been going on forever. I remember 30 years ago, when Chuck Long’s Iowa team spent five weeks at #1, had a big win over #2 Michigan, and was actually disappointed that they had to go to the Rose Bowl that year, because they were ranked #4 after their one-loss season, and needed to beat a highly ranked opponent to have a shot at the national championship (which of course was decided by a vote back then). But their opponent in the Rose Bowl was the “weak” 8-2-1 UCLA Bruins, who had just lost to USC, and backed into the Rose Bowl only because of a string of upsets the last week of the regular season allowed them to win the tiebreaker.

UCLA was ranked only #13. Iowa fans whined that UCLA was so soft that even if Iowa blew them out, it might not be enough to get them the national championship. They wanted a higher quality opponent than a stupid West Coast team.

UCLA beat them 45-28.

I do think the best four teams are in, but I would be so pissed if I were a Penn State fan. They’ve got to be thinking, “if we had only scheduled Appalachian State instead of Pitt, we’d be in.” And it’s true. There’s really no reason to play a tough out of conference schedule because you’re best shot at getting in the playoff is to go undefeated or be a 1 loss conference champ.

I think Clemson is wildly overrated by the committee. I’d rather see Ohio State vs. Washington in the first round. The Huskies really impressed me in their win over Colorado.

A few rants … er, I mean, points I’ve pondered:

I don’t really have a huge issue with the four teams they picked this year, because it’s pretty much what I expected to happen over the past few weeks, but can the committee just admit they’re making things up as they go along? And that their criteria changes from year to year? Kirby Hocutt, in strongly asserting the reasons why Ohio State deserved to be in this year, basically made the case that TCU should have been selected ahead of the Buckeyes in 2014 - which of course, didn’t happen. National brands, history, all that stuff plays into who the committee picks, more so, even, than who are the best four by the “eye test.” They need to just admit it.

My personal opinion also struggles with what we’re looking at as the definition of “national champion,” or “best team in college football.” Really, logically, how can you consider a team the “best” in the nation if they’re not even the “best” in their own division? Okay, okay, fluky wins or down weeks or whatever - but Penn State won the B1G (and beat Ohio State head to head, by the way). How can OSU be in the mix for “best team of the year” if they couldn’t even be “best team of the B1G East”? My opinion is that the conference championship needs to be a prerequisite for making the playoff. (And Urban Meyer agrees with me, if you saw what he said a few years back when Bama got in the BCS championship after not winning their SEC division.)

On another topic, when teams go to overtime you have to grant they are particularly evenly matched, at least on that day. OSU-Wisconsin went to overtime, so they shouldn’t be regarded as all that far apart. Michigan took the Buckeyes to double overtime in Columbus, and a rather close 4th-down replay call is all that stood between a Michigan win and the Buckeyes’ victory. Anybody looking at that head-to-head result should consider those two teams as 1 and 1A (unlike the national press report I saw in the newspaper last week that hailed OSU’s “impressive” victory over Michigan. It was practically a coin flip, at the Horseshoe! That’s not really “impressive” in my book).

So, yeah, I think these four teams are mostly deserving, with a slight caveat regarding the Buckeyes. And you can bet Oklahoma is looking at Washington’s non-conference schedule and thinking, “Why the hell did we schedule Houston and Ohio State? We need to play chuckleheads like UW did in non-con, and then we’d get some consideration for the playoff.” Really, doesn’t non-conference strength of schedule matter? Or is it just which teams lose the fewest games?

I’m no B1G fan, but I think Michigan was certainly deserving of consideration along with Ohio State; and you could make the case that Penn State should have been ahead of OSU. Oklahoma has been playing very well in the latter stages of the season, but those early losses to Houston and the Buckeyes were just too much for the committee. I can’t really think of anybody else who leaps forward into the conversation.

OSU’s #3 seed is the NCAA version of a participation trophy. Given, but not earned. Win a conference title to be eligible for a National Title. Simple.

I’m not saying West Coast teams can’t play – I like Pac 12 football a lot actually. But I was just trying to explain why they don’t get a lot of love. The only Pac 12 team to win a national championship the last 25 years is USC. Oregon was in the big game twice, and came close once. But the PAC 12 isn’t going to get much respect until teams other than USC can win championships.

Well, the 4 team playoff is better than the BCS and the BCS was better than what it was before. When it becomes an 8 team playoff I think we’ll have achieved something as close to ideal as can possibly exist in college football.

Here’s my question. You are a coach for an FBS school. What do you need to do to win?

  1. Belong to one of the $5 conferences.

2a) Go back in time 3-5 years when you contracted to teams and make sure you don’t play cupcakes.
2b) And if you do play a cupcake - win.
2c) Corollary: never EVER play a mid-major! If you lose you are out because of the double whammy of the lose and NOT playing someone in the $5
2d) That means that if you are a mid-major you almost never get to play a quality team so you’re out. (reiteration of Rule #1)

  1. If you are on the west coast, make sure your traditionally strong conference teams are still strong. Who the hell heard of Utah & Wazzu?

But the biggest rule is: Make sure the committee likes you because they will justify your spot even if they contradict themselves.

Indeed. Like I mentioned above, Hocutt’s reasoning for including Ohio State this year could easily be applied to putting TCU in two years ago. Only they didn’t do that then.

Being strong defensively matters for OSU this year, didn’t matter for TCU two years ago.

13 data points not required for OSU this year, was a main reason to leave TCU out two years ago.

Having your only loss to a top ten team matters this year, didn’t matter two years ago (because you could lose to a mediocre VaTech team at home in 2014 if you’re Ohio State and you still get in, while TCU only lost a close game at Baylor).

Not playing in a conference championship drops Ohio State 1 spot in rankings this year, drops TCU 3 spots two years ago.

I think the committee needs to have some hard prerequisites for teams in consideration, and stick to them. This making it up year-to-year as they go along is getting tiresome.

I’d say the rule to making the Final Four is simple:

  1. Be one of a handful of teams noted for being strong programs over the years.

  2. Don’t lose more than one game, if you can possibly help it.

  3. Win your games by impressive margins if you can’t be granted a spot through #1 and #2 above.

Alabama is in because they’re undefeated and well-admired; Western Michigan is not in because they are undefeated, but not well-admired. Ohio State is in because it’s well-admired and has only one loss; Penn State is not in because it lost its “well-admired” ranking in the Joe Paterno debacle, and it lost a second game (Pitt). Clemson is in because it’s well-admired and lost only one game (though it had to scrape a few by to keep that intact); Oklahoma is not in (nor is SC) because they managed the sin of losing a second game along the way. Washington is in because it has won a lot of its games by very large margins, while only losing one game along the way; Michigan is not in because they lost that second game.

My Final Eight would be: 'Bama, Clemson, Washington, Penn State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan and Western Michigan (as an undefeated I-A FBS Conference Champion). Temple, Western Kentucky, and San Diego St., I’m sorry, but your championships don’t earn you any special favors. And as for the Sun Belt Conference, if you cannot be arsed to actually decide a champion in some way, you don’t deserve to send anyone anywhere on the basis of that label. :smiley:

Agree. See how easy that was? And who would even complain? USC and their 3 losses? Yeah, they might be better than PSU or Western Michigan, but they have 3 losses! I can’t feel sorry for that.

I know who would complain: the NCAA. Does anyone honestly believe that the NCAA would allow a championship tournament with more than four teams in it if it wasn’t running the whole thing (i.e. if it didn’t have full control over the money)?

The Power 5 Conference schools don’t want that as they know what the NCAA does with the basketball money - and starting next season, more than half of it will be divided up based on things that have little, if anything, to do with men’s basketball.

yeah, it was easy. Just wait until the SEC gets 3 (or more) teams in the Top 8 and watch this board go ballistic

If you make the conferences standardize a few things about how their regular seasons and conference championships work, and maybe make an effort to get them approximately the same size using Notre Dame and BYU. A move to an eight team tournament would effectively be a move to a 35ish team full season tournament. Oh god it would be awesome. Regular season games would mean more than ever because you need to make the conference championship to be guaranteed a spot. Once you made the conference championship it would be win or go home except for a few really great teams who go the at large spots.

If you think about it for 12 teams (the $5 and best mid-major) their conference championship is basically a play-in game so it is almost (but not quite) a 14 team playoff. And you can even address the inequities within the conference in that an also-ran can get in ahead of a conference loser. So for example you want to put in tOSU or Mich ahead of Wisconsin even though Wisc played in the championship game? I have no problem with that because if you want in - win your conference championship.

There were 3 Big Ten teams in there. As long as the only quibble is about the 8th best team, I don’t have a huge problem with one conference having heavy representation. Four teams would be a bit much.

Looks like it’s on 12/31, not 1/1, like the first year. I liked that format, where it felt like old New Years Day, with the Cotton-Rose-Orange-Sugar-Fiesta all day long.

I wonder why they kept the 12/31? Because 1/1 is an NFL playoff Sunday?

Can we talk about non-playoff, bowl games here too? 'Cuz I’m going to: WOOOO! Indiana and Old Dominion are in bowl games this year! It’s rare that IU gets back-to-back bowl seasons, and for ODU, it’s their first bowl game ever, in only their second year of bowl eligibility.

I had no idea Old Dominion had a football team, much less in D1 FBS.

I’m also curious why they kept the playoff first round on 12/31. I thought the ratings were pretty bad last year.

Thought it was a courtesy from the NFL to not play games on Saturdays so as to not compete with college or high school games. I would imagine that 12/31 college games rather than 1/1 would simply be reciprocal.

For me the big question is what the objective of the playoffs should be. Is it to determine the best team, or to determine a champion? I make the distinction because the best team can lose any given game by having a particularly unlucky day. Including more teams increases the likelihood that a better team will lose to a worse team. The most egregious example of this I can think of is from the NFL, when the Patriots lost to the Giants in the 2007 Super Bowl. Something similar could happen with the NCAA playoffs if more teams get in. Maybe having 6 teams with the top 2 teams having a bye in the first round would be a good compromise system.