CFB needs a playoff

by David A. Stevens
(Prairieville, La)

The BCS is an unmitigated disaster. LSU has a crystal trophy on display that declares them the 2003 national champions. Even so there is a sense that it is tainted because of what happened with USC and the AP poll.

That being said, and this will not win me any new friends with my fellow LSU fans, the final results of the 2003 season were the fairest possible outcome that could be achieved. They were required to work within the confines of a system designed to fail almost every time because the only way the BCS works is when there are exactly 2 teams that are clearly superior to everyone else.

If there is a clear #1 but controversy over #2 then it fails; If there are 3 teams then the system fails.

In '03 there were 3 teams that could make a reasonable argument for being #1 but because of the system only 2 of them could meet on the field.

They did, OU vs LSU, with the 3rd team playing the next best team available; USC vs Michigan. The winner of the heads up match, LSU, got the main championship with the winner of the other game, USC, getting a portion, the AP title, of what is usually awarded to the champion.

LSU fans who don't think SC should have been given anything because they finished a few thousandth of point behind LSU need to remember that if not for an otherwise inconsequential victory by Southern Miss on the last weekend of the season USC would have been in and LSU would have been left out.

There is a fix for all of this that virtually every other sport at nearly every level including every other level of football even other divisions of college, a playoff.

The problem is the powers that be in CFB don't want a playoff, the current system is too good to them. The good ole boy network, made up of everyone from A.D.'s and University presidents to NCAA officials and bowl representatives, just has it too good under this system.

So in order to get a playoff implemented two things must be accomplished.

A legitimate format must be developed and it must address the arguments or excuses that are used for not having a playoff.

And secondly someone, an advertising guru, a political campaign genius (James Carville you out there) has to come up with a way to organize and use the influence of the CFB fan base to force the NCAA's hand.

I've come up with a format that will work. It will provide us with a legitimate national champion and it addresses the main arguments against a playoff.

It would be made up of 16 teams chosen and seeded by a commitee, basically it would look like an NCAA Basketball regional. The pairings would be announced the Sunday before Thanksgiving with 4 games each the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, with 4 more matching the winners the following Saturday. These 12 games would each be at the home of the higher seeded team.

Then there would be a break while most of the bowl games played out. Then on Christmas the national semi-finals would be played in two of the BCS bowl games. Then a week while the major bowls played out and then on New Years in prime time the National Championship game in one of the other BCS bowls. The games would rotate between the 4 bowls with the game left out able to choose any two teams not in the playoff.

Using the current ESPN power rankings, adjusted for USF's loss and to avoid early round match-ups between teams from the same conference.

Friday Nov. 23rd

#1 Ohio St. vs #16 Missouri @ OSU
#8 West Virg. vs #9 California @ WVU
#5 Oregon vs #12 Florida @ Oregon
#4 Oklahoma vs #13 Va. Tech @ Oklahoma

Saturday Nov. 24th

#3 LSU vs #14 Kansas @ LSU
#6 S.Carolina vs #11 Southern Cal @ S. Carolina
#7 Kentucky vs #10 Arizona St. @ Kentucky
#2 Boston College vs #15 Auburn @ BC

Saturday Dec 1st

#1 Ohio St vs #9 California @ OSU
#4 Oklahoma vs #12 Florida
#3 LSU vs #11 Southern California @ LSU
#15 Auburn vs #7 Kentucky @ Kentucky


Christmas Day

#9 California vs #4 Oklahoma @ Orange Bowl
#7 Kentucky vs #3 LSU @ Fiesta Bowl


New Years Day

Michigan vs Texas @ Rose Bowl

#3 LSU vs #4 Oklahoma

This system addresses the main arguments against a playoff and I have spent years developing and fine tuning it but there is always room for improvement and I would like to hear what the people here think.

There is a lot more to it but I'm already being long winded so the following is a link to an ESPN message board where it has been discussed at length if anyone wants to see what others have said.

You'll see if you go there that for the most part people who really want a playoff might disagree with details but for the most part liked the idea but those who don't want a playoff made ridiculous excuses for why it wouldn't work.

As I understand the submission rules I can post the link below but it will be changed to text so you can't use it to "link" but you can use it as a guide to get there if you want. I hope those that want can access it and I hope I didn't violate any rules.


ESPN College Football Playoff Discussion.

Comments for CFB needs a playoff

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Oct 21, 2007
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Great College Football Playoff Idea
by: Anonymous

David:

Thanks, great post and great idea I think. I really like your idea of games on Christmas and New Years. Would be memorable.


OK, let me play devils advocate:

One problem I think would be the non-bcs bowls wouldn't be happy since they would have no shot at the top 16 teams.

Also, the whole bowl system would be significantly reduced in importance. They would be like the NIT tournament is in basketball.

The winning teams in the playoffs would have extra games to play each year; so academic purists wouldn't like that.

Finally, there is a whole line of argument some make that the current BCS situation increases the importance of college football regular season games. Since only 2 make it to the BCS Championship game, you have many, many more HUGE regular season games then you would have if 16 teams made the playoffs at the end of the year.

But, I agree that justice demands a playoff. So, I'd support a playoff. And, I like your idea more than any other I've heard.

Thanks again for posting.

Mo

Dec 03, 2007
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I LIKE IT!
by: Anonymous

This years BS oh I mean BCS is just terrible. If they (the powers to be) NCAA and bowl committees don't do something then we are in for many years of crappy bowl games.


Great Idea. The only problem with your proposal is that it makes sense. So it will not be used anytime soon.

Dec 12, 2007
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You need to address the $
by: Anonymous

This is a good plan, with possibly two flaws - the bowl money.

First, bowl money is a lot. It is a lot more than regular game or championship game money.

If we take Ohio State in the example here, you need to somehow compensate Ohio State for going through the playoffs and not accepting some high-dollar bowl game.

My addendum to your plan would be a sponsor, like NASCAR uses, for the championship series. It could be the Nextel Playoffs or something.

Second, you could have a team playing several road games in a row. That depletes the cash cow of bowl games and traveling students. With a bowl game, someone has a month to plan the trip (not near that long for tickets, though).

So, there could be a bottom-seeded team that by the end of the run, gets fewer fans to the bowl game. Not sure how to get around that one easily.

Dec 14, 2007
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Nice
by: Steve

Nice logic and the proposed plan is do-able. If money is an issue to the universities, then "more games" = "more money" would apply :-).

Jan 07, 2008
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Just to many games
by: Anonymous

Thats just way to many games, the final two would have to play five more games thats just too many. I agree with everything else, but why not an eight team system. If you can't make in the top eight then there were plenty of reasons why you didn't make it. Then there would only be three games wich seems more reasonable.

Jan 08, 2008
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Fine Tunning Needed
by: Matty Gipson

Hey,

The playoff is great, but as in High School Sports, your playoff must be inclusive of all teams, OR you have to create another (lower) division or classification for the teams that you and the sportswriters are never going to consider.

Example - Say the 2005 Miami of Ohio team with Ben Rothlesburger at QB. As 12-0-1 and MAC Champs would they be in your playoff??? Or this year's Hawaii Team?? (I know GA whipped them, but they were 12-0 and they won a D-1 league). As you probably remember, Miami that year beat Lousiville 49-0 in their bowl. So you have to say that they were a legit team. You know that if you only use ESPN rankings then more than half the teams will NEVER get a look. NCAA Hoops gives each conference winner a CHANCE. Your system only considers the top teams - too much prestige and name association will enter into the picture. Remember, ESPN has too many "love affairs" with names like Bowden, Saban ect.... their weekly College Football show would become nothing more than a political forum with guys like Tubberville and Saban begging and pleading their case weekly. What about the once every 20 year team like last year's Boise State? Your system would leave them out and opt for a "Name" like Florida State or Nebraska even though their programs are not what they were.

Your system would be better than our current system, but of the 119 D-1 teams, you would have to create and move-down half of them to a lower division because NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO they will NEVER get into the playoff. ESPN will make sure of that!!

Feb 18, 2008
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Good system, but...
by: Ish Engle

I have heard some valid complaints (too many games, only the name teams, etc.) Everyone agrees (or seems to) that this is an improvement (how could it not be :-D ).

What about, instead of the rankings, we chose the 11 major conference champions and a wild card? Big 10, PAC 10, Big 12, ACC, SEC, WAC, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sunbelt, MAC and Big East; throw in the highest ranked non-champ as the 12th seed.

Week 1
12 @ 5
11 @ 6
10 @ 7
9 @ 8

Week 2
GAME Seed @ Seed
A lowest remaining @ 1
B 2nd lowest @ 2
C 2nd highest @ 3
D highest @ 4

Week 3
E winner A vs winner D
F winner B vs winner C

Week 4

winner E vs winner F Championship!

You can't be National Champs if you aren't Conference Champs. I'm an OU fan, but if we'd won 2003, it would have been a travesty -- we were the Big 12 SECOND place team, how could we claim "Best in the Nation"?

So, only the Champs get in. The one Wild Card allows for independents and those teams who were beat in a "fluke" to have a second chance.

Just a counter offer. I'm convinced that the Big 10 and Pac 10 will NEVER allow a play-off because they realize that they'd never see another National title. :-D

Feb 28, 2008
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Tradition gets in the way
by: Shane

As a Big Ten fan myself, i have to say that i hate the BSC. It's not fair. Every year the NCAA's job is to find THE BEST team in college football. That is why we watch football all year because we want our team to be the BEST. BEST means that this team could generally beat ALL other teams in the NCAA (playing thier best).

But lets face it. We cant judge this by the how many losses a team has because some teams play harder teams to beat.

The only thing we can do is adapt a tournament. Every major sporting league in the entire world has done this so we can say this is the best way to determine who the BEST team is.

Take the NFL for instance. If there was no playoff this year and the two teams with the best records (pats vs. colts) got to play in the superbowl, than the real champions would not have been dubbed. (NY giants)

The reason this will NEVER happen in the NCAA is because of tradition. The big ten will NEVER adapt a conferance campionship. Because Ohio State vs. Michigan is usually the game of the year in Big Ten terms, it usually determines big ten champion. the big ten wont lessen the impact of THAT game. It would be ohio state vs. michigan every year in the championship anyway. So they would just play each other twice.

Now. The other thing that gets in the way is the Rose Bowl. This is a game the big ten has been playing against the PAC ten for nearly 100 years. It has always been, ROSE BOWL CHAMPION. NOT tournament sub-divition champion. ROSE BOWL CHAMPION is demeaned when its just the halfway point.


That was really long.

Aug 06, 2011
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Playoff system response
by: Anonymous

I love the idea of a playoff, and kudos to you for having such a well thought out plan. I don't see at all how this system would reduce the importance of the regular season. I mean seriously, if anything reduces the importance of a flawless season it's the two or three pastry non-conf games all teams play to "warm-up" to the conference schedule. I mean who wants to see UT/ North Texas, or Ohio State/ Charlotte?

I'd really like to see the first games of the season and the entirety of the regular season be conference only, and as the cream always rises to the top, you get your non-conf, playoff matchups. When you have the PAC who walks through an easy schedule, and a healthy USC picks on a roughed up Alabama, etc. then it hardly seems like an equal matchup. I think 32 teams is a bit much, but 16 would work. If we could get 32 teams involved that'd be great too, after all, I wish college football went year round :)

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